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Japan’s “Autumn Sword Fish” and Plum Wine Headlining Seasonal Specialties at Lai Chi Kok Bistro UMAI

September 19, 2019 Dining No Comments Email Email

Japan’s popular “Autumn Sword Fish” sanma is headlining the seasonal menu at Japanese bistro UMAI at Lai Chi Kok dining destination D2 Place One. In keeping with the convivial ‘izakaya’ style of Tokyo’s cosy ‘after work’ drinking & dining havens, UMAI is also celebrating the autumn plum season with home-made plum wine.

Sanma is the undisputed king of seasonal fish in Japan, named “Autumn Sword Fish” after its pointy head like a Japanese sword. It is caught off Japan’s north-eastern shores of Japan in autumn when most flavourful migrating south from cold waters of Hokkaido.

The ‘Seasonal Sanma Tasting Menu’ by Japanese Head Chef Shimoji Atsushi pays homage to the iconic seafood symbol of autumn with both a la carte dishes and a tasting menu for two priced HK$1,088.

Traditional dishes include Sushi Grade Sanma Kamameshi (HK$268), the “kettle rice” cooked in an iron pot called a kama; Grilled Seasonal Jet Fresh Sanma (HK$248), the simplest and most popular way to enjoy rich-tasting sanma, with grated daikon and lemon; and super fresh raw as Fresh Sanma Sashimi (HK$258), with wasabi, soy sauce or grated ginger.

Among additional seasonal specialties, guests can grill their own Saga Yobuko Squid with Korean Seaweed (HK$108) on a traditional charcoal grill bringing the fun of DIY.  Also on the menu are : Grilled Kyoto Purple Crystal Kamonasu Eggplant (HK$138), UMAI Signature Crab Roe with Japanese Miso Dip & Fresh Vegetable Sticks (HK$138), Deep-Fried Chef Selection of Seasonal Fish (HK$98) and Grilled Wagyu with Hackberry Leaf (HK$198).

Adding extra cheer to the season of sanma is the celebration of Japan’s plum wine season.

UMAI’s promotion of the famously sweet and mellow autumn tipple is in partnership with Kakibuchi (, one of the most renowned distillers from Japan’s plum-farming region of southern Wakayama.

This year’s vintage is being served in authentic, traditional fashion at UMAI, under personal instruction from the distillery’s 4th generation owner Hiroko Kakibuchi. Two home-made plum wines, Premium Wakayama Plum and Advance Wakayama Plum, are respectively priced HK$3,680 (5 litres) and HK$2,980 (5 litres) – with an early-bird promotion priced HK$3,180 and HK$2,480 for ‘en primeur’ pre-orders of next year’s vintage before 31 October 2019.

“Seasonal sanma and plum wine continues our unpretentious, sociable and enjoyable style at UMAI – bringing the most authentic, freshest seasonal specialties that are found at cosy bars in alleyways around train stations in Tokyo,” says Mr Eric Ting, CEO of Bird Kingdom Group, managing company of UMAI.

Like Tokyo’s izakaya bars, UMAI is a convivial after-work ‘care-free’ rendezvous, complete with traditional lanterns, fishing tools and artifacts from Japan.  Seating 112, the 1,300 sq ft bistro is at G02 G/F, D2 Place, 9 Cheung Yee Street, Lai Chi Kok, Kowloon, Hong Kong.

It opens every day from 12:00 noon to 2:30 pm, and from 6:00 pm to10:30 pm.

Prices at UMAI are subject to 10% service charge.  Cash, Visa and Mastercards are accepted.

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