Watami (和民) Hong Kong restaurant in Whampoa Garden

On our first day in Hong Kong, we didn't do much, besides exploring the neighborhood around Kowloon Harbourfront hotel. After unpacking our suitcases and resting a bit in our hotel room, it was late afternoon already. We checked out the facilities in the hotel, we located the hotel shuttle bus stop, and we also noted down the time, we need to come down to the cafe to eat breakfast the next morning. We also started to get hungry, so we walked to the Whampoa area to have dinner and afterwards, stock up on some drinks and snacks in the supermarket.

We have been in the Whampoa area before (although still not super familiar with the place) and we knew that there was a Watami Hong Kong restaurant in the basement of one of the malls. It is one of my favorite restaurants in Hong Kong (and in Japan) for affordable and reasonably good food. On their menu, I saw that they had set menu's for two or four people. We choose to get the deluxe set for four people (HK$876+10% service charge), which was the most expensive. It is about €100 in total and it is all inclusive, so it was not a bad deal. 

The deluxe set for four people included: 4 large glasses of green citrus yuzu marmelade soda, 4 small bamboo shoots appetizers, 5 kinds of assorted sashimi platter with scallops, salmon, shrimp, tuna, and ikura (salmon roe), a grilled whole chicken thigh with garlic sauce, a deep fried whole chicken thigh with mayonnaise, an assorted tempura platter with jumbo shrimp and vegetables, a large Watami salad, 2 eel & beef rice boxes, a large Beef sukiyaki hotpot, and 4 servings of green tea ice cream.

What do I think?

I really loved the green citrus yuzu marmelade soda. It was not too overly sweet and it had a refreshing citrus flavor. You could really taste the green citrus, as well as the yuzu marmelade. The small bamboo shoots appetizers were nothing special, just crunchy bits of bamboo shoots without much seasoning. The assorted sashimi platter had reasonable quality. The shrimp was the best, the scallops and the salmon were okay, the thickly sliced tuna had a nice texture, and the ikura was not really enough to divide in four, but it tasted good, mixed with rice. The grilled chicken thigh with garlic sauce was missing the garlic sauce, but the chicken meat was tender and the seasoning was on the spot. The prizewinning fried chicken thigh however was a bit of a let down. The chicken meat was very dry and there wasn't much flavor to it. I hope it was just a fluke. The assorted tempura platter had four jumbo shrimps (one for each of us), which had a nice size, flavor, and texture, and some assorted vegetables. It was tasty, but it could be a bit more crispy. The Watami salad was a bit too little to share with four people, as I only got a few leaves of lettuce with sesame dressing. So, I am not sure what the scoop of white sauce on top is, but I am guessing some slaw or potato salad. The eel & beef rice boxes were quite good. The eel could be a bit thicker and juicier, but the flavor is reasonable. The beef is similar to those of Yoshinoya, which is a complement. The only thing is that they were both a bit on the dry side and more sauce would have been great. The large beef sukiyaki hotpot had all the right flavors and a variety of ingredients, but as it is meant for 2-3 people, it was a bit hard to share with four people. I did get to taste two pieces of beef and they had a nice beef flavor. The green tea ice cream had a good green tea flavor, but it is pretty normal in Hong Kong.

The service was not the best, as the waiters just randomly placed the dishes on the table, whenever one was ready. So, after a while, we got a lot of dishes on our table at once and some dishes were cooling down, while we haven't finished eating another yet. The empty plates did get removed from our table very swiftly. After eating everything, we needed to call attention to one of the waiters for our dessert and also, the bill. They were almost hiding from us.  

Overall, we got to try a wide range of Japanese dishes - some good and some not too good - and the price included drinks (also a choice of alcoholic ones) and desserts. You don't save a whole lot by taking the fixed menus, so ordering the dishes separately would also be around the same price. But since we wanted to try most of the dishes in this deluxe set anyway, it was easier to just order that. I think we only got the appetizers - and also the drinks maybe - for free.


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