This February, Lai Sun Dining adds to its enviable portfolio of restaurants with the debut of Masa Hong Kong. Helmed by chef Masataka "Masa" Fujisawa, whose Sushi Masataka omakase bar in Wan Chai has attracted a cult following since its 2017 opening, Masa Hong Kong promises a tantalising mix of world-class omakase and service against a quintessentially Hong Kong backdrop.
Masa Hong Kong shares a floor with sister restaurant Howard's Gourmet in Central's CCB Tower, offering stunning views of the Legislative Council and HSBC Building in a departure from the hidden nature of your usual omakase restaurant. Limited to 21 covers, Masa Hong Kong is able to showcase Fujisawa's attention to detail when it comes to the art of sushi, beginning with the sourcing of ingredients. The fish and seafood is flown, naturally, from Tokyo's Toyosu market, and the nori seaweed from Maruyama Nori in Tsukiji; though Fujisawa's exacting standards require that the wasabi, and even spring water, must be imported from Shizuoka prefecture.
Dry-ageing is the focus of the cuisine here, driven by Fujisawa's belief that the process concentrates flavour and umami, while imbuing a more tender texture to the fish. Some showstoppers on the menu include the fatty tuna nigiri, where five layers of otoro, toro and chutoro are carefully arranged on the shari; and Kyushu squid, which is finely diced and mixed with sushi rice, then finished with a peppering of yuzu peel. Most unconventional is the Hokkaido uni, which is cured in kombu for three days for enhanced umami and a marble-like appearance.
Small flourishes help to elevate the dishes further, from the house blend of four vinegars to create the shari, and the use of two different types of rice depending on the fat content of the fish, to a limit on hand-pressing the sushi more than two times for reasons of temperature, pressure and structural integrity of the final product. Masa Hong Kong also lays claim to being the first sushi bar in Hong Kong to feature a full sake cellar, with well-considered sake pairings available to complement a meal.