A refined address for tempura and tranquility
Hidden down a quiet corridor adjacent to Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong and next door to the luxurious International Finance Centre (IFC) Mall, Inagiku brings the traditional tastes of Japanese fine dining to the city’s shores. Following the high standards set by executive chef Imai Masakazu at the original family-run Inagiku in Tokyo, which dates back more than 100 years, this elegant restaurant offers a beautiful setting in which to nibble on sashimi, sip sake or indulge in one of the elaborate kaiseki set menus. Reservations are recommended, especially on weekends. When you do make them, be sure to ask for a window seat in order to take in the breathtaking city skyline.
From the moment you enter Inagiku, you’re surrounded by a sense of Zen. Be it from the dark wooden corridors and delicate Edo-style interiors or the contemporary sculptures and first-class service — the famous Japanese restaurant knows how to bring its graceful traditions to the table. Entering through a long dark hallway, the main dining room opens into an intimate space where diners can pull up a seat at the tempura, teppanyaki or sushi counters, or opt for a table by the enormous floor-to-ceiling windows which stream natural light across the 160-seat restaurant. A window seat, particularly around sunset, affords incredible views of Hong Kong’s famous skyline, with the towering ICC building on the left and the iconic Star Ferry cruising back and forth across the harbor. For intimate gatherings, there are also four private dining rooms, each with its own teppanyaki counter.
Inspired by the original branch’s menu, the specialties here focus on executive chef Masayuki Goto’s meticulously prepared kaiseki set courses, which might consist of anything from eel soup to striped jack sashimi, simmering pumpkin dumplings to Saga wagyu beef teppanyaki. Tempura is also a signature dish and will live up to any lofty expectations. The lightly battered morsels of white fish, shrimp, taro, carrots and corn maintain a slight crunch and pair beautifully with the assorted green tea salts and secret sesame oil accompaniments. Wondering what makes the tempura so tantalizing? The chef uses a premium sesame oil that keeps the batter light and airy, and sprinkles on a pinch of sea salt before serving.
Though the sushi and sashimi menu is dizzying to say the least, a favorite bite on our shortlist is the perfectly pink fatty toro and homemade egg omelet — eat the prime tuna as is, but dip the egg sushi into a bit of freshly ground wasabi for extra zing. Aside from these signatures, Inagiku also serves a popular personal-sized hot pot with assorted types of congee, udon and kama steamed rice.
Though the lengthy wine list actually overshadows the sake offerings, there are still a couple dozen bottles to choose from, including the Hong Kong restaurant’s own brand, Inagiku Junmai Daiginjo. If you’re not up for a whole bottle, not to worry; the menu also includes smaller six-ounce carafes, served both hot and cold in a traditional Japanese tokkuri ceramic flask.