The mothership wanted to take us to Kusuya Rakuen, an Okinawan restaurant one of her girlfriends found. Unfortunately, they have some kind of smoking license that means they can’t accept anyone under 18. This left my youngest sister out of the running. So with our dinner plans up in smoke and our tummies grumbling, we pressed the lift button for the next Japanese restaurant and landed up at Ajitomi.
I can’t think of another time where we’ve lucked out like that. The restaurant was homely, cosy and reminded me of being back in Japan. There were only a few tables and very simple decorations, but the waitresses were attentive and happy to explain the menu. Everything about the place felt personal and intimate: the menu seemed extremely eclectic, with Italian and French-inspired Japanese dishes alongside perennial Japanese classics, but the more we tried the more we could feel the personal impact of the chef. I have some kind of inexplicable personal vendetta against the word ‘fusion’, but it’s never been more irrelevant than here. It didn’t feel like the chef was mixing in different cuisines just to earn the word: it felt like you were experiencing what interested and influenced the chef.
We probably ate more than little ladies should, mostly because we wanted to sample as much of the menu as possible. Their homemade salad dressings are divine AND you can buy a bottle for almost nothing to bring home. I loved the Okinawa-style meatballs stuffed with plums, and my sisters loved the little dish of potato, bacon and pesto pasta they gave us as a starter. Every dish was obviously made with care and attention, and the homemade caramel creme brulee was to die for.
Seriously? I think I’m a little bit in love.
7/F Circle Tower
28 Tang Lung Street
Causeway Bay, Hong Kong