Hong Kong’s restaurant scene is completely different to Australia’s. Hong Kong is all about imported ingredients, imported chefs and opulence. Here, it’s about using locally sourced food cooked in a simple way and served in a casual setting. All of the big players operate outposts there. It’s such a great mix of local restaurants intertwined with high eateries — a chef’s dream.
I only wanted to commit two years to working at Carbone; it was never going to be forever. I wanted to embark on a new challenge, which is when the offer from Merivale came through. Taking over sushi e is a dream role. I have been passionate about the Japanese cuisine and culture for a long time.
Looking back, the biggest lesson I gained from working at Carbone was patience. Working with staff from a wide variety of nationalities was tough at times but also very rewarding. I also learned patience with product, too, as Hong Kong sources food from all over the world. Sometimes the food would miss the flight, but it just made me realise and appreciate that you can’t control everything.
Working with Merivale appealed to me because it has such a great support network. They have an excellent reputation for a reason, and all the best producers want to supply Merivale, so we can get our hands on some pretty exclusive products. I have a great appreciation for what they have achieved, their vision and the future is very promising.
Diners can expect a more modern approach to Japanese cookery at sushi e along with some interesting flavour combinations and presentation. I feel we have moved on from the Japanese food that was served in the ’90s and people are certainly becoming more familiar with ingredients and gaining greater knowledge about the different cuisines under the Japanese banner.
We will basically change the menu whenever we see fit. We work with some great suppliers that offer us seasonal produce that we love to take advantage of. We have some great chefs within the team, so we all work with each other to be creative, inspire and motivate. One of my favourite dishes from the new menu is Bass Grouper sashimi from New Zealand, dressed with a yuzu shiro dash dressing, umi budo (sea grapes from Japan), nori purée and wakame oil. It’s not a dish you would traditionally see in Japan, but is a perfect example of the new offering.
This article originally appeared in Hospitality‘s October issue. Subscribe here.
Image credit: Nikki To