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<<Hong Kong – 23rd July, 2018 >> Starting from 1st August, HAKU takes innovative Japanese cuisine to new heights with a new vegetarian menu that showcases the most amazing and fresh seasonal produce flown in daily from all parts of Japan. Curated from the highest quality seasonal Japanese vegetables, HAKU’s new menu brings guests on a journey through Japan’s nature-rich countryside.
New Summer Vegetarian Tasting Menu
Chef Agustin Balbi has crafted a spectacular plant-based menu priced at HK$800+10% per person to celebrate the finest Japanese ingredients that the season has to offer. For HK$900+10%, the menu can be extended to an 8-course tasting menu upon request. The inspiration to create this vegetarian menu came from cooking for a vegan industry friend on her recent visit to HAKU, and thereafter, Chef Balbi made it his mission cater to all dietary requirements. While the creation of a vegetarian menu isn’t without its difficulties, Chef Balbi rose to the challenge beautifully with the birth of a 6-course menu that showcases amazing produce from various regions in Japan. The same care and standard are applied to the new menu to achieve just as delicious a meal as tasting menus containing meat or seafood.
Notably, items on the menu are subject to changes without prior notice. HAKU works closely with the vegetable farmers in Japan, who have the final say on which ingredient is best suited for the menu at that precise moment. Guests will start with 4 types traditional welcome vegetarian snacks, followed by the first dish of Shio tomato / shiso / fermented black olive oil / sunflower seeds. Shio tomatoes, or salt tomatoes, are cultivated primarily in Kumamoto prefecture’s Uto and Yatsushiro areas. Because they are grown only on drained land, the tomatoes are sumptuously rich in salt and other minerals. This is followed by the Matsu kinoko / tamanegi / peanuts / dried olives, which features vegetables hand-picked for quality and seasonality by the Japanese farmers themselves.
Tomorokoshi / manchego / chanterelles / togarashi showcases the ripe quality of seasonal Japanese tomorokoshi, or sweet corn. A staple summer street snack in Japan, tomorokoshi is commonly fired over the grill and enjoyed simply with soy sauce. At HAKU, Chef Balbi combines the sweetness of tomorokoshi with the savoury profile of Spanish manchego cheese to produce unique and sensational flavours. The Koshihikari rice / Kubota vegetables is a comforting dish that draws on the Japanese household tradition of enjoying rice with okazu (side dishes).
For dessert, guests are treated to Hakuhou peach / yogurt foam / granita, which celebrates the highly-reputed Okayama white summer peach, with its melting soft texture and rich sweetness. The peaches are grown under extremely strict conditions, including temperature-controlled greenhouses and meticulous shipping procedures so the peaches arrive perfectly ripe, and not a day over.
HAKU Vegetarian Tasting Menu
HK$800+10% per guest
A Taste of Nature
White Maitake / Akegarashi
Hime Kabu / Konbu
Mizunasu / Mustard
Kyuri / Goma
Shio Tomato / Shiso / Fermented Black Olive Oil / Sunflower Seeds
Matsu Kinoko / Tamanegi / Peanuts / Dried Olives
Tomorokoshi / Manchego / Chanterelles / Togarashi
Koshihikari Rice / Kubota Vegetables
Hakuhou Peach / Yogurt Foam / Granita
Additional Courses (optional)
Sea lettuce / Sea spaghetti / Olive oil / Shiso / Sudachi
Taiyo no Tamago Miyazaki mango / Milk
While the vegetarian tasting menu is available exclusively for dinner, the menu can also be arranged for lunch. Additionally, with 24 hours advanced notice, the vegetarian menu can be amended into a purely vegan upon request.
Enhancing the Human Connection
HAKU is passionate about being involved in all the processes that lead to the plating of a dish on a busy night of service. As part of its evolution, the team at HAKU has committed to travelling to all corners of Japan to meet and learn from the producers in Japan who contribute to the various aspects of HAKU’s operations – whether they are knife-makers, vegetable farmers, sake brewers, seaweed cultivators, katsuobushi makers or seafood farmers. Putting a face to the produce and forging that human-level connection with producers is valuable, as ultimately, it affects the cooking and final product on the plate in the best way possible. As a recent example, Chef Balbi was granted the great honour of being the first foreigner to visit Mochida Farm, renowned for producing the world’s best tomatoes. It took the passionate farmer 30 years of trial and error to finally produce this incredible variety of tomato, and from this encounter, Chef Balbi walked away with an overwhelming sense of honour and responsibility for serving this special produce at HAKU. His next trip will be to Kansai to meet generations of farmers and artisans under the guide of the Grand Chef Hideaki Matsuo in early October 2018.
A giant of modern Japanese cuisine, Chef Hideaki Matsuo has overseen the kitchen at 3-Michelin starred Osaka restaurant Kashiwaya for over two decades. A Relais & Châteaux chef, Chef Matsuo’s haute Japanese cuisine and dedication to the art of Japanese tea seen him become one of his country’s most celebrated culinary figures. Agustin Balbi, Executive Chef of HAKU, was named Best New Chef 2016 by Hong Kong Tatler. His diverse international experience is reflected in beautifully prepared contemporary dishes that are heavily inspired by his work in Japan. HAKU represents the culmination of Matsuo’s philosophy and Balbi’s technical prowess, through shareable Japanese cuisine within a casual chic ambiance and a Kappo-style kitchen. Also known as the “theatre”, the Kappo concept promotes conversation flow between chefs and guests. The freshest and highest quality ingredients flown in daily from Japan will be prepared in the traditional Japanese way and accented with innovative European twists.
Address: Shop OT G04B, Ground Floor, Ocean Terminal, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui
Opening Hours: Lunch: 12:00pm – 3pm Dinner: 6pm – late
Reservations: (852) 2115 9965
About Chef Agustin Balbi
Executive Chef Agustin Balbi combines his years of experience in Japanese kitchens with the international flavours and techniques that he has adopted along his culinary journey. With extensive time spent honing his skills at Michelin-starred restaurants in Japan including RyuGin, ZURRIOLA and Cuisine[s] Michel Troisgros, Chef Balbi has in-depth knowledge about Japanese food and culture. In HAKU’s menu journey, Chef Balbi has infused his own personal touches – both from his experiences in Japan as well as inspiration taken from his South American roots.