Saturday, 16 May 2015

Gogyo - Not just ramen specialists

One of the things I appreciate most about my move to Hong Kong is the shopping.  Well, not just the shopping, which is pretty amazing, but the extra time that shops are open in Hong Kong compared to my previous home in Australia.  I still marvel that I can be wandering around huge shopping centres at 10pm on a Sunday evening and almost every shop is still open and filled with Hong Kongers.  There are a lot of shopping centres too, practically everywhere, and where you find people in HK, you find restaurants!

The International Finance Centre is the second tallest building in the city and is pretty easy to spot and houses one of the many 'luxury' shopping centres in HK.  IFC is one of my 'go-to' centres and is conveniently located in Central HK, close enough to my work and apartment that I'm there quite often.  Apart from being a kick ass place to hang out, there are a heap of great restaurants spaced out through the ultra modern site, including a Tim Ho Wan and one of the many Michelin Starred Lei Gardens (post coming soon).

With a mix of casual and formal dining options, we'd been eying off Gogyo for some time, a sleek and ultra modern looking Japanese restaurant specialising in ramen.  It hadn't made it's way to the top of my 'must dine' list because I'm not a huge fan of ramen, even though Japanese is in my top five favourite cuisines.  We were wandering around the IFC one night contemplating dinner when we just happened to walk by, and before we knew it, our feet (and stomachs) had made the decision for us and we were seated at a table.

Looking over the menu, I was pretty happy to see a heap of options that weren't ramen, while SC zeroed in on the pretty comprehensive selection on ramen that Gogyo was known for.  The menu was pretty easy on the eye, with great descriptions of the food on offer, accompanied by little photos of the food.  

Orders taken, our starter of 'edamame for the wise' was delivered.  Covered in truffle salt, the edamame plate looked a little small and before too long, we'd smashed through the sweet little soybeans.  The addition of truffle salt was a pretty inspired idea, and with the double tap of umami flavour making the usually addictive little beans even more so, it definitely left us wanting more..

We'd also ordered some 'hard shell, one bite tacos' with salmon and tuna fillings.  The cute little tacos were out shortly after the edamame and the description of one bite was just about right. Presented with some spicy tomato puree and whipped avocado, the little bites looked super inviting.  Smearing a little of the tomato and avocado, then finishing off with a squeeze of lemon, the fish tacos were a completely surprising delight.  Perfectly balanced with texture and flavour, two tacos each were nowhere near enough to satisfy our cravings, but we had to move on as our next dishes were up.

I'd ordered some of the 'best bits' from the Gogyo signature menu, the Saga Wagyu steak, which was probably the most expensive item on the menu.  I was immediately impressed with the presentation, with beautifully cooked wagyu drizzled with a sticky soy sauce and accompanied by beetroot chips, carrot and brussels sprouts.  The medium rare wagyu was full flavoured and while not quite melt in your mouth, was pretty tender.  The beetroot chips provided an organic and earthy flavour to the dish and the carrots brought in a little extra sweetness.  I wasn't really sure what the brussels sprouts brought (apart from terrifying memories of my youth) and probably could have been replaced with something a little less blergh.

So far your probably wondering 'what about the ramen?', after all, we were in a specialist ramen joint!  Well, it was time for the ramen and we'd ordered the house special, called the 'Four Seasons Ramen', which was indeed quite special.  Described by Gogyo as a 'consommé ramen with wagyu topside', the ramen was quite special.
"Our chef is bringing the complexity of ramen soup base to a new level.  First a combination of chicken bones, beef shank and vegetables is cooked for hours.  Then a second soup base is created with minced beef, beef Achillies tendon and vegetables.  The two soup bases are combined and further cooked for hours, resulting in s simmering gold consommé base"
Yep, it was a pretty delicious description of the ramen and the flavours certainly lived up to expectation, with a deep and complex soup that was intensely flavoured.  The addition of the wagyu beef, asparagus, mushrooms and parmesan cheese were just a bonus.

Our first trip to Gogyo had been a flying visit and we'd not really sampled too many of the delicious looking menu options, but we've been back since.  I have to say, so far it's our favourite Japanese restaurant in HK.  Quick, easy to access and lots of great and reasonably priced options have made Gogyo a 'go-to' restaurant when we're at ICF.

It's a cozy spot with all seats wrapped around a kitchen area in the middle of the space.  It's always interesting watching Japanese chefs in action, they are so precise in their movements and techniques. We also loved the service, with a heap of wait staff buzzing around the restaurant dropping off meals and beers with a smile.  

And all in a shopping centre!!  What more could you ask for?

Its not a big space and the kitchen is at the heart of the restaurant 
The wagyu was pretty spectacular 
On a subséquent visit we tried the tuna - yum 
And some tiny little wagyu sliders, one with a heap of foie gras
There there is the Japanese beer!
Hong Kong is the only outlet of Gogyo outside of Japan - sweet

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