Breaking into the hole in the wall, we found a hidden Japanese style izakaya with both traditional and contemporary values. It is a small shop with six seats at the counter, a two-seats table and a newly functioning private room. Godenya was opened around a year ago and it has then become one of the hottest spot in Hong Kong. We were lucky enough to reserve two seats at the counter around two months in advance.
Upon seated, we were warmly greeted by Goshima Shinya san (五嶋慎也), the owner and Kantsukeshi (燗付け師), he is responsible in designing the menu and sake pairing, aiming to introduce Japanese sake to the world.
Seeing Goshima san’s preparation of different sake was totally intriguing. Different sake varies in taste at different temperature. We were glad to take the counters seat as we could see Goshima san’s confident movement in creating the best moment of each sake, it was truly an art performance.
I mentioned Godenya upheld both traditional and contemporary values. They showcased the pride of Japanese tradition in the minimalistic interior design, from the kind of wood, the potteries and elegant sake glasses that they chose. On the other hand, their omakase menu (chef recommendation) brought in Japanese, French and Cantonese fusion in cooking seasonal ingredients.
Peach, Glass shrimp, Soy milk x ZARUSOUHOURAI (Kanagawa) Junmai ginjyo Nama 2016 12℃ 白桃 白海老 豆乳 x 残草蓬莱 (神奈川) 純米吟醸生 2016 12℃
Our omakase began with a refreshing starter. Here we had the soy milk panna cotta, shrimp soup, and the seasonal glass shrimp and peach on top. It was a nice combination of sweetness from ripen peach and umami from shrimp. The sake also contained a hint of sweetness in it, it was a nice pairing to the dish and it was also my favourite sake of the night.
Rock oyster, Seaweed x ICE BREAKER (Kyoto) Junmai ginjyo Nama 2016 13℃ 岩牡蠣 海苔 x アイスブレーカー (京都) 純米吟醸生 2016 13℃
WOW. That’s a good-looking oyster! The rock oyster that came from deep sea is now in the best season. It was very creamy and slightly briny. I loved the seaweed and shiso which really brought the oyster to a whole new level of deliciousness. Pairing with the Ice Breaker sake, the sake matched the umami from oyster and the taste just lingered in your palette for a long while.
Abalone, Liver, Rice x SOGEN (Ishikawa) Junmai Nama 2015 43℃ 蝦夷鮑 鮑肝 米 x 宗玄 (石川) 純米生 2015 43℃
I wanted to WOW again because here we had the abalone risotto. It was a kind of fusion dish, including al dente risotto cooked in abalone sauce, mixed with corn, zucchini, pine nuts and parmesan cheese. On top of that there was the cooked Hokkaido abalone with abalone liver sauce. It simply tasted as good as it sounds. Probably my favourite of all (I can’t choose!). Pairing with a warm sake, it just made you feel relaxed and comfortable that you would not mind having more of both.
Katsuo (Bonito), Roe, Iberico ham, Beets, Black olive x KAZENOMORI (Nara) Junmai Nama 80% 2016 12℃ 鰹 魚卵 イベリコハム ビーツ 黑オりーブ x 風の森 (奈良) 純米生 80% 2016 12℃
This was not a usual sashimi dish. They prepared raw bonito fish with smoked salmon roe, bonito flakes, black olive and beetroot sauce! What an unexpected mixture but it turned out to be so tasty (my friend’s favourite of all night). The fusion part in it worked really well in this dish.
Kamo eggplant, Morel Mushrooms, Lobster bisque x TENYURIN (Mie) Junmai 2004 48℃ 賀茂茄子 x 天遊琳 (三重) 純米 2004 48℃
Here comes to my another favourite of the night, eggplant in lobster bisque. I am addicted to Japanese eggplant since my Okinawa trip, here we had a big chuck of eggplant soaked in a very yummy lobster soup. Eggplant is just like a sponge, it absorbs whatever flavours that you give it. On top of it, there were some very aromatic morel mushroom pieces. I just couldn’t resist this hearty dish.
Lamb, Manganji pepper, Blue cheese x OKUHARIMA (hyogo) Yamahai Junmai Nama 80% 2016 18℃ 羊 万願寺唐辛子 ブルーチーズ x 奥播磨 (兵庫) 山廃純米生 80% 2016 18℃
More fusion is coming on, combining blue cheese from French, goya (Okinawa bitter) gourd and okra from Japan. Though each ingredient was executed very well but I did not feel the best matching from here.
Wild ayu x YOEMON (Iwate) Junmai 2011 47℃ 天然鮎 x 酔右衛門 (岩手) 純米 2011 47℃
This was a very special dish, I have not tried any ayu cooking in this way – cooked in soya sauce and presented in a Chinese bamboo steamer. Abandoning the typical way of grilling or deep-frying the fish, Goshima san has learnt and applied the Cantonese way of steaming fish in this dish. The lower part of the fish tasted strong and bitter but that’s how Japanese people like it. The fish was very delicate and bony, it could be a challenge to test your chopstick skills and fish-eating skills haha.
Crude wheat (brown wheat) udon, Mussels soup 玄麦鎾飩 ムール貝スープ
Noodles with hot soup are always comforting. This soup was made with mussels and clams, it tasted truly delicious.
Black Cherry, Pistachio, Sake さくらんぼ ピスタチオ 日本酒
It’s dessert time! I was happy to see my favourite pistachio ice cream. The frozen sake on top was strong, and somehow over-powered the whole dessert. The sake on the other hand also was very thick and spicy, I felt slightly disappointed for the dessert among the overall excellent meal.
Dining at Godenya is like going to a theatre, you learnt to appreciate the art of food and sake pairing. Each dish is exquisite with lots of things going on despite its small size. It is definitely one of the best places I have visited in Hong Kong this year, Godenya serves excellent food with amazing mind behind. I just felt like dining in Japan during the meal. Good place for celebration dinner or when you just want to pamper yourself if you don’t have time to travel :P, just make sure you do the reservation earlier in advance. (I have just checked their web and it is fully booked until end of October).
*Omakase menu on 14th July 2016