If Wa-En Kappo, the newest kid on Hong Kong’s Japanese fine dining block were—in fact—a miniature human, they would be the childhood crush who could do no wrong. Their every move impresses, they bring joy to the simplest things, and when the night is over, you part ways with reluctance while wondering if you’ll ever have better.
Located on the 29th floor of office building Connaught Marina in Sheung Wan, Wa-En Kappo brings the best of Kappo cuisine—a multi-course meal left entirely up to the chef, similar to omakase—to the city’s crowded Japanese restaurant scene.
When we arrived at the intimate dining room on a September evening, we were greeted by chefs behind the counter and given our whopping 14-dish dinner menu for the night. (The restaurant changes its menu approximately every six weeks. It’s fixed, so no decision-making needed, though the chefs are happy to accommodate any allergies or dietary preferences.)
First on the menu was parma ham with Japanese melon, Amela tomato and grape. Though beautifully plated, the appetizer wasn’t much to write home about—but it was all uphill from there. Next, we had the crab meat, tomato jelly and eggplant curry mousse. We loved the melt-in-your-mouth consistency of the jelly, which paired well with the crab meat’s delicate texture.
After that came the sashimi. We were served the geoduck and sea urchin (uni) as one dish first, starting with the former to warm up our palate before digging into the very rich and buttery sea urchin. The slightly seared yellowtail sashimi came delicately sliced in a mini pot, smoke wafting from it when the chef lifted the lid.
One of the restaurant’s signature dishes, the tuna with deep-fried seaweed and wasabi foam, was next. Light and crispy, the earthiness of the seaweed was a delightful complement to the indulgent tuna.
The soybean milk soup with chicken and crispy bean curd sheet, and the steamed egg custard with fish maw, were delightful Chinese-Japanese fusion takes.
As big tempura fans, we were looking forward to Kappo-En’s iterations of the Japanese favorite. The star of the tempura trio was another one of the restaurant’s signatures, the fish maw tempura. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, the tempura’s fish maw broth bursts into the mouth once bitten, xiao long bao style.
The sardine, scallop and white fish paste tempura, and the shrimp and caviar tempura, also did not disappoint.
The Kagoshima A4 tenderloin and house-made sea urchin pasta were the mains of the evening. We loved the shaved truffle slices that came with the perfectly cooked steak, and the pasta—ramen-like in texture and topped generously with seaweed and mullet roe—was fusion done right.
For dessert, we were treated to tofu ice cream with peach puree. The Hokkaido cheese shavings added a pleasant saltiness to the soybean flavor, which tasted very natural and light—perfect for the fact that we were decently, satisfyingly full after all that decadence. The green tea and red bean dumpling was on the sweet side, but went down nicely with the aromatic matcha tea.
The verdict? We loved it. Between the avant garde dishes, impeccable service and chance to watch the talented chefs work their culinary magic up close and personal, there’s much to rave about at Wa-En Kappo. A meal here is not so easy on the wallet—HK$1,980 per person for dinner—but as with any quality fine dining restaurant, you’re forking up for the artistry, time and creativity that goes into crafting a sophisticated experience. We’ll say with certainty that Wa-En Kappo is definitely one to keep on the books for a special occasion.
P.S. Wa-En Kappo offers a lighter version of their multi-course meals for lunch, priced at HK$680. Parties of four and up can pre-order the off-menu omakase experience, tailored especially to diners’ taste and preferences.
Wa-En Kappo: 29/F Connaught Marina, 48 Connaught Road West, Sheung Wan
Editor’s note: Our writer received a media invitation to dinner for two at Wa-En Kappo. However, Wa-En Kappo had no editorial involvement or oversight in this article. Read our Editorial Policies here.
This article, Wa-En Kappo: Japanese multi-course fine dining in the heart of Sheung Wan, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia’s leading alternative media company.