Wyndham street isn’t always our go-to spot on a busy Thursday night, and what with Hooters set to open, we have been avoiding it more than ever. However, there is a restaurant tucked away from the madness on the 5th floor of 77 Wyndham street that we’ve taken quite a liking to recently...
KOKO is its name, and Japanese cuisine and sake is its game. A contemporary Izakaya (a type of informal Japanese gastropub) with a spacious garden terrace overlooking the historic Central Police Station, KOKO is a welcoming sanctuary in the heart of Central that's perfect for intimate dinners and casual date night.
Starters & Small Bites
Swinging into summer with some new dishes on the menu we started off our eating bonanzar with the Grilled Prawn Salad ($110HKD) which included more ingredients than we can remember but the ones we can; prawn, avocado, quinoa, daikon cress, and Shokuyo gifu petals. Oh, did we mention the truffle dressing? Refreshing and crunchy, it was the healthiest of beginnings to a decadent meal.
Tuna Tartare ($118HKD) was next – made for sharing with half-boiled quail egg with chopped tuna on fried wonton wrapper, which was light and crispy and worked perfectly with our first round of sake.
The Grilled Eggplant ($88HKD) and Grilled Corn ($68HKD) are also worth a mention for the vegetarians (and non-veggies) among us. Sprinkled with shichime pepper, they both had a spicy kick and an addictive aftertaste.
On to the mains! The Suzushii Uni Cocktail ($108HKD; soba tsuyu frozen cube, uni, somen noodle, grilled prawn) was a creative twist on a uni dish - something that is so overused in HK - the soba tsuyu is frozen into a cube and placed into a whisky glass, with al dente Sōmen noodles and fresh uni lightly hanged from the cube. A visual treat, this cocktail looking dish was light, cold and just the right amount to not overwhelm you. The big grilled prawn resting on top like an olive gave a solid garnish to the dish.
The Mushroom Hot Pot ($168HKD) with shimichi mushroom, king oyster mushroom, hokkaido rice, and homemade truffle paste works well as a side to the best dish of the night; the Baby Back Pork Ribs ($188HKD). Koko’s unique style pork ribs are sweet, tangy and tender with meat falling right off the bone, giving you just enough time to sip on sake while devouring a few plates full of the sticky goodness. Paired with the creamy sauce and soft but chewy Japanese rice, this pair will take up a big portion of your appetite.
But uni fans, don't rest before you try their King Crab and Uni Hot Pot ($268HKD). As the name suggests, it's everything you'd want in a risotto-esque dish with a Japanese touch. Arriving in a steaming hot metallic pot, it's packed full of umami from the king crab bisque cooked rice, and freshness from the king crab meat and uni.
Somehow we still managed to fit in some desserts, and the Dark Chocolate Green Tea Cake ($98HKD) wins the title for best sweet as it ozes green tea fondant and mixes with vanilla ice cream. Some sakes later we left Koko with a full belly a new favourite Japanese hangout in Central.
Written by Sarah Richard