Review: World-class French-Japanese cuisine at Takumi by Daisuke Mori

Updated on May 17 2017

In the first of three revamps by Lai Sun Group on their Japanese dining offerings, the Michelin-starred Wagyu Takumi has re-launched as Takumi by Daisuke Mori, reflecting the renewed focus on the talents of the head chef, with a pared-down dining experience encompassing just 11 seats around the chef’s tasting counter.

While Sushi Masataka (formerly Sushi Rozan, now open) and Kaiseki Den by Saotome (formerly Wagyu Kaiseki Den, re-launching late May) are traditional Japanese restaurants, Takumi by Daisuke Mori delivers elegant Japanese-French cuisine, reflecting chef Daisuke’s global resume which includes stints at the three-Michelin-starred Chateau Restaurant Joel Robuchon in Tokyo, two-Michelin-starred Restaurant Taillevent in Paris, and four years in Poland leading restaurants such as Restaurant Jadalnia and 5-star boutique hotel Blow Up Hall 50/50.

Chef Daisuke Mori
Chef Daisuke Mori is a 20-year veteran in the industry.

Ambience

Hidden away on a quiet street on Cross Lane in Wan Chai (just a few doors down from both Sushi Masataka and Kaiseki Den by Saotome), Wagyu Takumi’s newly polished interiors reflect its inherent philosophy that less is more, with understated dark and natural tones reflecting a muted environment where the main focus is on the food, and the chef.

Takumi by Daisuke Mori
Japanese and French design influences reflect the dual nature of chef Daisuke’s cuisine.

The only hint of glamour comes from the beige and gold walls with French-style wall sconces; juxtaposed with the L-shaped Japanese-style bar with its dark marble countertop and plush leather chairs, it’s a visual reinforcement of the dual nature of chef Daisuke’s cuisine. Of course, the commanding presence in the room is chef Daisuke himself, the picture of solemnity and focus as he flips Wagyu beef on the grill, one hand working deftly with the other folded behind his back.

Food and Drink

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Takumi by Daisuke Mori
The delicately plated “Asparagus” appetiser, featuring a white asparagus salad roll with snow powder from Takumi by Daisuke Mori.

The stage is set for a Michelin-worthy meal, and boy, does the kitchen deliver. We stopped in for a lunch tasting, which is set menu only, priced at HK$680 for four courses and HK$980 for six courses. The journey started off with an amuse bouche of pumpkin espuma (texturally light yet packed full of flavour); a delicate choux pastry puff baked with two types of cheese; and a miniature deep-fried ravioli with a dot of anchovy sauce. All three were cleverly executed and an unconventional yet welcome way to kick off the meal.

From the appetiser selection, the pan-fried squid was a pretty floral arrangement, coming together in a lovely balance of distinct elements on the plate: spring onion puree, a bright orange reduction, and wonderfully smooth and briny sea urchin mousse. The combination was solid save for the raw onion slices, which we found a bit too pungent to pair with its neighbours.

The next dish was a crowdpleaser — truffle-infused foam ladled on top of a creamy barley risotto, with lotus root adding a surprising and satisfying textural element. A handful of bright sakura shrimp scattered on top added a savoury, oceanic pop. A prime example of the marriage of Japanese and French flavours, this dish summed up chef Daisuke’s unique take on both cuisines in one clever bite.

Daisuke Mori Blue Lobster
Pan-fried blue lobster with tomato confit and lemongrass flavour.

For mains, guests can choose from pan-fried blue fish (a seasonal delicacy) stuffed with bay leaves and tomato coulis; pan-fried blue lobster with tomato confit and lemongrass; and charcoal-grilled Wagyu tenderloin with shallot puree, garlic confit and Japanese radicchio. We opted for the latter and were treated to two beautiful pieces of ruby-red beef,  grilled for 40 minutes over binchotan coals to allow the fat marbling to melt and baste the meat from the inside. The buttery texture and flavour was sublime, pairing well with sauteed Japanese mushrooms that retained a bit of crunch, an earthy shallot puree, and soft garlic confit.

Wagyu Beef Takumi by Daisuke Mori
The Wagyu beef is slow-grilled for 40 minutes over Japanese binchotan charcoal for a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth texture.

The “Rose Ice Cream” dessert wrapped up an elegant meal. Smooth as silk, the ice cream was presented in a perfect quenelle under cracked meringue shards, with a wreath of colourful diced fruit and edible petals atop a base of lychee-flavoured yogurt mousse. We couldn’t quite taste the lychee, but the varied textures, sweet-savoury balance, and visual appeal hit this dish out of the park.

Verdict

There’s no question the booming talent coming out of chef Daisuke Mori’s kitchen. If he can continue to deliver stunning dishes that marry flavour and originality, we expect Takumi by Daisuke Mori to continue to rise in the ranks of Hong Kong’s culinary elite, perhaps overtaking both its Japanese and French fine dining counterparts.

Lunch is priced at HK$780 for 4-courses and HK$980 for 6-courses, with an additional HK$580 for 3 wine pairings and HK$780 for 4 wine pairings.  

Dinner is priced at HK$2,080 for 8-courses, with an additional HK$880 for 4 wine pairings and HK$1,080 for 6 wine pairings. 

Takumi by Daisuke Mori, Shop 1, G/F, The Oakhill, 16 Wood Road, Wan Chai, Hong Kong, +852 2574 1299