DJAPA: Japanese-Brazilian Cuisine

Lee Tung Avenue in Wanchai is one of my favourite places to visit. It’s always gorgeously lit and romantic – a great place to paktor (go on a date)! So during the Christmas holidays, I knew I had to drag Edwin there to soak up the ambience. Coincidentally we were there on one of the colder weekends, so there was a bit more of that Christmas/Winter Wonderland vibe going on.

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Had to crop the picture (hence half the tree) as there were too many people in this shot. Evidently lots of other folks had the same great idea.

We had dinner at Djapa, and you can infer from the title that it’s a Japanese-Brazilian fusion restaurant. This might seem random to some, but the largest ethnic Japanese population outside of Japan is actually in Brazil. I learned that while watching TV (thank you Samantha Brown), and wiki-ed it to be sure.

The decor was cool and artistic – industrial chic (think exposed pipes and concrete) juxtaposed with an explosion of primary colours. Unfortunately I don’t have any picture of those here, so let’s bring our focus to what’s on the table:

The Drinks

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On top of an impressive collection of Japanese whiskey, there were also various wines and spirits available, including sake and cachaça, to further drive home the “nipo-brasileiro” theme. Edwin had the Hakushu 12 year (on the right, $148) while I had a mocktail called “Brazilian Paradise” ($58), a concoction of peach, passion fruit, and lime.

The Food

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Dinner was a series of small dishes, tapas-style. We started with the Salmon Mikan ($78): slices of raw salmon served mandarin and yuzu. Flavourful and refreshing, it was the perfect appetiser.

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Next up were the Tropical Clams ($88), topped with tomato, avocado, and corn. As tasty as these things were, there wasn’t enough avocado. There’s always room for more avocado = my mantra.

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The Grilled Octopus ($88) with mixed quinoa and chilli was also lovely. I wouldn’t think of pairing octopus with quinoa, but it worked.

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The Coconut Rice ($48) with coriander and garlic had lots of that coconut-y fragrance that I was looking for. Topped with all that garlic – heavenly!

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The highlight of our meal were their signature skewers. We had the Kagoshima rib-eye ($88) and the Kobe chuck roll ($48). They were served with a trio of sauces: tamarind, red pepper, and one that I forgot. Later we ordered the chorizo ($38, not pictured). The rib-eye was especially amazing. You know, the melt-in-the-mouth kind of amazing. Super pricey for one skewer, but worth it.

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For dessert, we ordered the Brigadeiros ($48), not quite knowing what they were. I was thinking a trio of mini chocolate cakes or something, but turns out these were literally chocolates, rolled in coconut, pistachio, and more chocolate. They were rather rich, so I’d say these are strictly for chocolate lovers.

Final Thoughts

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The meal was thoroughly satisfying from start to end, and it’s great to find a restaurant where every dish is consistently good. (Another restaurant that comes to mind is Gioia.) Also, the service was excellent – the staff was wonderfully warm and happy to make recommendations.

If you’ve been doing the math along the way, you’ll have realised that it wasn’t cheap once it’s all been added up. Our final bill was HK$803 (~US$103/~S$146), including service charge. However, for the quality of food and service, I’d say that it’s worth visiting, for maybe a special date, or for occasions when you’re feeling fancy.

In any case, I definitely want to go back for more of those skewers. Just the thought of those is making me hungry!

DJAPA
Shop G18-20 & F18A, G/F, Lee Tung Avenue, 200 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai
灣仔皇后大道東200號利東街地下G18-20 及 F18A號舖
Tel: 2617 2900

Edit: After I clicked “Publish”, WordPress sent me the notification that this is the 200th post on this blog. Wow, what a milestone. Thank you so much for reading, I hope you’ve enjoyed everything so far. As usual, there are more posts coming up, so stay tuned! Cheers!

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