A Shrine to Japanese Specialities at Grand Hyatt Bali



If you’ve ever seen “Kill Bill,” Quentin Tarantino’s stylishly violent kung-fu vengeance film, then you’ll remember the scene in which Uma Thurman’s character takes on a whole gang of sword-wielding thugs in an expansive and ornate Japanese restaurant. You might be surprised to learn that the place where that epic battle took place was not an elaborate Hollywood set but an actual restaurant in Tokyo, called Gonpachi. One of the city’s favourite high-end izayakas, as famous for its signature soba noodles as it is for its association with the film, Gonpachi brought its famous cuisine and ambience to Hong Kong last year with the opening of a branch in Lee Gardens in Causeway Bay.

The new Gonpachi has the same stylish setting as the original. From the use of raw timber and stone artefacts to the softly glowing lanterns and brilliant flashes of red throughout the decor, the Hong Kong branch is a celebration of festive Izakaya culture. The designer decorated the arc-shaped dining space with irregular pendant lights, wooden frames and furniture, creating a modish character for the restaurant. Movable bamboo screens mark the semi-open tatami area, while an outdoor Japanese garden extends the excitement outside.

A soba making room is set next to the reception for noodle making masters to demonstrate their culinary art. The meticulous process sees buckwheat seeds ground in a Japanese-made stone mill, hand-pounded into soba of a smooth and chewy density, and then cooked for precisely 1 minute and 20 seconds to achieve the perfect al dente texture. For Gonpachi’s signature seiro soba, the noodles are placed in a bamboo basket and served with slices of spring onion, wasabi and a secret dipping sauce made with skipjack tuna, katsuobushi and dried black carp.

There is a combined kiosk serving kushiyaki, Japanese wine and sake, as well as a tempura bar – dedicated to serving signature items in an izakaya. If you really want to go all out, you can order some of the A5 Miyazaki Wagyu beef with a rarely found BMS (Beef Marbling Standard) Level 10.

Since alcohol is such an integral part of a good izakaya, Gonpachi Hong Kong invited a sake specialist to design a menu featuring 88 carefully chosen varieties, as well as eight rare Japanese whiskeys and eight Japanese beers.



Soba is the Japanese word for buckwheat as well as the thin noodle made from buckwheat flour. Soba noodles can be served either chilled with a dipping sauce or in hot broth as a noodle soup. (Yakisoba, in which noodles are stir-fried with meat and vegetables, are actually usually made with ramen-type noodles). Soba that is made with newly harvested buckwheat is called “shin-soba” and is prized for being sweeter and more flavourful than other varieties. Soba should be cooked briefly and (when served hot) eaten quickly to enjoy its springy, chewy texture before it gets overcooked.

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