A LAVISH TEPPANYAKI AFFAIR
A5 Kagoshima Wagyu beef is luscious and well-marbled; cooking it on a teppan helps to achieve a crispy, caramelised surface, while still retaining a juicy, moist and tender texture.
While I am cooking these seasonal ingredients, using different cooking methods, and maintaining conversation with guests, I am able to provide the type of individual service that is at the heart of Omotenashi.
─ Toru Takano Head Chef of Crown Super Deluxe
Conquering the uphill trail from Lan Kwai Fong to Wyndham Street, I was instantly drawn by the massive crown logo of Crown Super Deluxe outside the LKF Tower, luring me into a lavish teppanyaki affair.
As if returning to Tokyo in the ‘60s when opulence was king, the restaurant adopted royal purple as its theme colour, featuring bespoke design concepts by Sean Dix who specializes in restaurant and bar projects. All of the interior elements are custom – from purple carpet, raw form-cast concrete to flashing neon signs, giving a sense of aristocratic mansion. Next to the central octagonal teppan erects a golden onyx counter, depicting the beautiful arbors that are commonly seen in Japan, complemented by mustard velvet mid-century inspired armchairs. The East meets the West in a new concept style of luxury and prestige.
As soon as I sat down, the attentive server offered to help me put on their purple crown-logo eating bib, and made me feel very welcomed. While waiting for the veteran teppanyaki chef Toru Takano, I was amused by the performance next-door where chef Ami Hamasaki was throwing food through the air on her teppan. Listening to the whispers of Japanese guests sitting nearby, the ambience gave me an illusion of being in Japan. With the smell of tempting cooking flowing in the air, I looked forward to the feast ahead.
The veteran teppanyaki chef Toru Takano has specialised in teppanyaki for over ten years; he found joy in both cooking and also in meeting new people across a counter.
The restaurant recommended the 8-course Deluxe set menu which I had this time. To begin with, Chef Toru showed up to the table with a plate of giant white garlic from Japan; Japanese garlic has a more prominent taste compared to those commonly found in Hong Kong. When placed on the teppan, the garlic exuded a strong, mouthwatering scent right away. As Chef Toru continued to stir fry the garlic, they turned into delicate golden flakes, and were reserved to pair with the Wagyu beef later. At the same time, the appetizer – Tokushima Fruit Tomato with Japanese Sea Salt was served. The sweetness of Tokushima fruit tomato is no different from those I had in Japan. It has a tender taste and sweet juice that bursts in the mouth; while dipping it in sea salt further elevates its freshness.
As the server presented a silver dining trolley showcasing a premium selection of beef from different origins, I knew the highlight of tonight – A5 Kagoshima Wagyu Beef, was coming next. As Chef Toru placed the luscious, well-marbled steak on the teppan, he dazzled us with delightful, flamboyant tricks, turning this meal into an entertaining and intriguing dining experience.
Kagoshima Wagyu beef is known for its tender texture and full-flavoured essence; cooking it on a teppan helps to achieve a crispy, caramelised surface, while still retaining a juicy, moist and tender texture. The ribeye steak was cooked just to the point of juiciness, between rare and medium. Pairing the rich, marbled texture of Wagyu beef with lighter, fresher flavours like ponzu sauce and freshly grated wasabi is a perfect match. The tenderloin steak provides extra beefy flavour; it can be paired with creamy roasted sesame paste or garlic soy sauce to enhance the full robust flavour of the cut cooked on the teppan.
Seeing Chef Toru cover the Wagyu with a flat-top teppanyaki grill cover, “why not use the usual round-shape ones on the market?” I asked. He explained that in order to present the authentic Japanese teppanyaki, he especially tailor-made this flat-top grill cover from Japan. This demonstrated Chef Toru’s dedication and pursuit of excellence. At this time, I noticed Chef Ami came over and whispered to him from time to time. They turned out to be a teppanyaki couple; both specialised in teppanyaki for over ten years. Since their encounter 12 years ago at a teppanyaki restaurant in The Gold Coast, Australia, Toru had followed Ami around the globe until she agreed to marry him. Who knew the earnest Chef Toru had such a romantic side?
The meal was rounded out by Lobster Miso Soup and Wagyu & Garlic Fried Rice.
Watching Chef Toru showing off his culinary skills, my mind was already on another dish – Teppan Spiny Lobster in Coral Butter. The sizzling sound of the lobster tail when put on the teppan and its delicious scent filled in the room. Chef Toru then blended the coral in the lobster head with melted butter, making the most sublime sauce for the dish. The lobster meat was thoroughly grilled to achieve a toothsome texture, pairing it with the deluxe coral butter gave it an intense richness, with a slice of teppan-grilled garlic bread placed at the bottom to soak up all the glory; this dish is truly the star of the show. In fact, Chef Toru believes the best, fresh produce should be cooked simply, just adding a little pinch of sea salt and black pepper is enough to highlight the original flavour of the ingredients. The meal was rounded off by Lobster Miso Soup and Wagyu & Garlic Fried Rice.
Soon after, we moved to the dessert and whisky lounge where elegantly retro French patisseries were served on antique china plates. The signature dessert – Chocolate Millefeuille is built upon layers of flaky puff pastry with rich chocolate cream filling; while the Coconut Custard Tart is a creamy custard tart with whipped coconut cream and shredded coconut on top. Make sure you try out the excellent companions of fresh Japanese seasonal fruits and the lounge’s selection of signature Japanese whiskies and American bourbons before you leave.
After the meal, I was overwhelmed by Chef Toru’s dedication to authentic Japanese teppanyaki and the charisma of our culinary interpersonal relationship where he wholeheartedly looked after his guests. As Chef Toru illustrated; Omotenashi represents the heart of Japanese hospitality; “Omote” means public face, “Nashi” means nothing and combining them means every service is from the bottom of the heart – honest, no hiding, no pretending. “While I am cooking these seasonal ingredients, using different cooking methods, and maintaining conversation with guests, I am able to provide the type of individual service that is at the heart of Omotenashi,” he added. Although we are unable to travel to Japan for the time being, coming to Crown Super Deluxe can be an alternative for an authentic Japanese experience, I am already planning my next visit.
The signature dessert – Chocolate Millefeuille is built upon layers of flaky puff pastry with rich chocolate cream filling.
Crown Super Deluxe
Mezzanine, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham St, Central
+852 2111 8434