Located on the ground floor of an unassuming grey building, Ronin restaurant is completely camouflaged and unnoticeable to unsuspecting passersby. It is virtually impossible to discover this hidden gem by chance and only those in the know would know about it.
Yet despite having no visible signage to indicate its presence, this speakeasy style Japanese bar-cum-restaurant in Hong Kong is packed with customers every night.
The majority of Ronin’s clientele consists of well-informed epicurean foodies who have no qualms about splurging on gourmet tapas. A meal for two – inclusive of alcoholic drinks – would easily set you back by approximately HK$1500 (or S$276). Pretty exorbitant for bar dining, huh? We are here to give you the rundown on whether or not it is worth your hard-earned money.
Set foot into the dark, mysterious 20-seated bar and you will be surprised by how small the place is. We felt at home right away thanks to our enthusiastically friendly server, who quickly ran through the comprehensive menu with us.
By the way, the same team behind award-winning tapas bar Yard Bird manages Ronin – so you might find your hospitable servers awfully familiar.
Ronin’s primary focus is seafood and they are split into three categories – raw, smaller and bigger. The single-page menu features a tantalising variety of fresh sashimi, fine seafoods and premium poultry.
Ronin’s dishes are ever-changing according to the availability of ingredients and its seasonal menu actually rotates on a weekly or even daily basis.
Ronin’s raw sea creatures are sourced from the finest local suppliers and flown in from Japan’s best markets.
The Kampachi Amberjack Sashimi (HK$70/ S$12.90) instantly teleported us to Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji Market. Yes, it was that good. The imported Japanese fish came in two chunky raw slices and were served with Negi Soy and Sesame – we wished there were more.
The Uni Flower Crab (HK$380/ S$70) presented on a bed of ice is a must-order. A delicious mixture of creamy golden sea urchin and delicate crabmeat filled the hollows of a real crab and we devoured the palm-size briny entree effortlessly.
Mackerel lovers must not miss out on the Sanma Tartare (HK$160/ S$29) served with Japanese ginger, spring onions and chips.
Ronin’s Beer Battered Fish (HK$110/ S$20) is simple yet heavenly. The seasonal fish used for this dish was Japanese Kawahagi and they have been cooked in Black Pilsner. Two shot glasses of the same draught beer were served alongside the fish.
Fret not if those tasting portions of lagers are insufficient, as Ronin boasts an impressive selection of 100+ Japanese whiskies.
While Ronin might be renowned for their divine seafood, they actually did an equally fantastic job with their Fried Quail (HK$220/ S$40) and Kagoshima Beef (HK$390/ SG$71.50).
Despite its priciness, Ronin faces no lack of eager patrons. The popular bar fills up quickly and we strongly advise you to make a reservation in advance to avoid disappointment. If you were wondering - yes, we do think the Japanese inspired delicacies prepared with masterly finesse are well worth the hefty prices.
8 On Wo Lane, Central Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2547 5263
Mon to Sat: 6pm – 12am
Nearest Station: Sheung Wan
About the writer:
Hui Jun Ng is a staff writer for ladyironchef. She previously worked in the food and marketing industry. She loves traveling and enjoys exploring underrated destinations. In her free time, you will find her indulging in coffee and her all time favourite local dish – bak chor mee.