I was, until last night, a Knutsford Terrace virgin. As I’ve mentioned before, In Hong Kong it is far too easy to think of a trip across the water to ‘the dark side’ as awfully far away, a real hassle, far too complicated. We must remind ourselves, however, that the wonderful institution that is the Star Ferry, takes a mere what? 10 minutes? Outrageously far, isn’t it?! We get so stuck in a rut that going out anywhere other than Lan Kwai Fong, Soho, Wyndham Street, or, at an extreme push, Wan Chai, is unheard of. However, there is so much more to see over there on the dreaded ‘dark side.’
One of my friends had a friend from university visiting and, after a few drinks on Saturday night, I insisted that as part of her short trip to HK, she must feature in The Dim Sum Diaries. So, whether she really wanted to, or was just being polite, dinner in Knutsford Terrace was planned for Monday evening.
This pedestrianised strip, lined with alfresco restaurants and bars, not completely dissimilar to somewhere in southern Spain for example, instantly gives off the feeling that one is on holiday. Before I had even reached our chosen restaurant, I knew that I wanted to come back and experience it perhaps on a weekend in its full swing, although for a 9pm on a Monday evening, it was still very busy.
The Yuu, on the fourth floor of the first building you come across just by Knutsford Steps, is an intriguing, dimly lit Japanese restaurant offering a menu that can only be described as vast. Almost terrifyingly so, leaving you completely confused as to what on earth to order and more importantly, when to stop ordering. From grilled skewers of seafood, meat and vegetables, to sizzling beef on a hot stone plate, to sushi and sashimi to omelettes, to fried rice, it is one of those menus where you can turn page after page and not have a clue where to start.
Nevertheless, we took the bull by the horns and just went for it. It was most certainly a case of over-ordering, but when has that ever been a bad thing?!
From the grilled section, we had some grilled salmon skewers, which were very plain and would have benefitted from a little sauce on the side. The grilled Japanese peppers stuffed with minced chicken and served, rather bizarrely with two tiny raw (quail’s?) eggs on the side were more tasty, although we couldn’t quite work out the purpose of the raw egg garnish. The grilled king prawns, huge and slightly terrifying-looking things, were delicious and perfectly cooked, once we had managed to classily de-shell them.
One thing I must note as negative about all the skewers is that they are sold as individual items, meaning that of course, if there are more than one of you, (which one would hope, in a restaurant such as this, there are), then the price shockingly increases each time.
The pork dumplings, presented on a piping hot stone plate, were clearly freshly made minutes earlier, as they fell apart in our chopsticks. Most definitely one of the stars of the show.
The fried vegetable eggcake seemed like a necessary choice as there was a whole page dedicated to ‘eggcakes.’ This was also, in my opinion, one of the winners, particularly dipped in the accompanying sweet chilli sauce. The grilled beef cubes in a hot stone plate were wonderfully tasty, although slightly on the chewy side. However, thankfully the medley of vegetables lining the dish made up for this.
Another favourite was the grilled cod with miso seasoning which simply melted in the mouth. Less appreciated, however, was the kimchi pork with fried rice served in a hot stone bowl. It could have been wonderful but I think it simply lacked a little flavour. Perhaps a bit of chilli would have given it a necessary boost.
A ridiculous amount of food, a bottle of Masumi Sake and Japanese Green Tea came to just over $300 a head including acceptable service. For something a little different and certainly not your average Japanese sushi house, I would recommend swallowing your fear, being adventurous and making that treacherous journey over to the actually not so ‘dark side.’
4/F, 1 Knutsford Terrace
Tsim Sha Tsui
Tel: +852 2366 2999
Date visited: Monday 25th July 2011