Designing a Japanese restaurant, especially one outside of Japan, can be a tricky thing, especially if the goal is to avoid obvious tropes.
For Ryota Kanesawa’s newly minted restaurant Ryota Kapou Modern in the midst of Hong Kong’s heaving Central district, local firm House of Beast have incorporated the light streaming in through the floor-to-ceiling windows with a thoughtful mood-board of textures and references.
The Japanese elements are present, but in discreet touches of industrial cement tiles, washi, hand-crafted ceramics and marble slabs. These are quietly offset by a more global palette that includes Beetle Bar chairs by Gubi, Matthew Hilton’s Kimble Windsor chairs, and Jader Almeida ceiling pendant lamps.
All this forms a suitably sophisticated backdrop for Kanesawa’s menu which – as semaphored by the kappou in the restaurant’s name, meaning ‘to perform in front of guests’ – showcases Japanese seasonal produce that are manipulated with finesse, the chef more than living up to his credentials and previous stints at London’s Roka, and Hong Kong’s Zuma. Standouts include the omi Wagyu katsu, the unctuousness of the beef offset by a creamy egg confit draped with a sukiyaki sauce, or the pistachio ice-cream scented with foie gras, the latter an unexpected turn on a traditional pairing.
21st Floor 18
On Lan Street
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Daven Wu is the Singapore Editor at Wallpaper*. A former corporate lawyer, he has been covering Singapore and the neighbouring South-East Asian region since 1999, writing extensively about architecture, design, and travel for both the magazine and website. He is also the City Editor for the Phaidon Wallpaper* City Guide to Singapore.
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