Each spring, beautiful Japanese cherry blossom trees, also known as sakura, bloom throughout Japan and blanket the country in nature’s purest pink. ZUMA, Hong Kong’s modern Japanese destination, is bringing the festival to Central with a special Sakura Festival menu to celebrate the thousand-year-old tradition from 14 March to 14 April.
Bar Development Manager Arkadiusz Rybak has crafted a special Sakura Hanami Martini (HKD100), made in simple Japanese style with the finest Kettle One vodka carefully distilled with sakura blossom oil, roasted rice sake, Japanese gin and Mancino Blanco vermouth. Arkadiusz says, “The tradition during Sakura Festival is to drink genmaicha, a green tea combined with roasted brown rice and infused with sakura flower. With this cocktail, I really wanted to showcase the real sakura taste, which is similar to almond or red bean. ZUMA’s philosophy of drinks is to link tradition with contemporary, while at the same time surprising guests with the look, taste and uniqueness of the final product. With the Sakura Hanami Martini, I designed it to resemble water to display its purity, but the taste surprises guests through different layers of flavours, intensity and aroma.”
Also in celebration of the Festival, Executive Pastry Chef Eddy Lee has designed a Hokkaido Tokachi Molten Cheesecake with Sakura Mochi and Wild Strawberries (HKD180). “Our approach to pastries at ZUMA is to develop unique desserts through taste, presentation and exclusivity of ingredients,” says Chef Eddy Lee. “When using Sakura, we needed to find a perfect balance between the ingredients and texture. With this dessert, sakura is being used as a sorbet within the mochi. We deliberately decided not to use ice cream within the mochi because we didn’t want to overpower the subtle sakura flavour. We also wanted to bring a contrast in texture and temperature, so we have paired the cold mochi with a warm molten cheesecake. It is made of tokachi cream cheese — a rare product that is very light in flavour so that it doesn’t overpower the taste of the sakura.”
Hokkaido Tokachi Molten Cheesecake With Sakura Mochi And Wild Strawberries
Executive Chef Samuel Wilkes has prepared a premium, seasonal tasting menu for the occasion which highlights the best of Japanese cuisine. The 10-course menu (priced at HKD 1,320) features a freshly caught wild fish served as both sushi and sashimi, Japanese snow crab tempura with yuzu salt and a tender Australian M8 Wagyu Beef from the robata. Guests enjoying the seasonal menu will enjoy Arkadiusz’s Sakura Hanami Cocktail to start (with a nonalcoholic alternative) and Eddy’s Hokkaido Tokachi Molten Cheesecake with Sakura Mochi and Wild Strawberries to ensure that the meal ends on a high note.