In fact, chefs of all skill levels have been incorporating aspects of foreign cuisine into their own gastronomic heritage for centuries – take Malaysia’s Nyonya cuisine for example, a fusion of Chinese and Malay culinary traditions; Tex-Mex, the best of both sides of the border; and Macanese cuisine, the efforts of Chinese wives cooking the favourite dishes of their Portuguese husbands using locally sourced ingredients. The reality is, some cuisines are just naturally better fused together.
So it is at Djapa, the coolest new opening in Wan Chai, where restaurant group Le Comptoir blends Brazilian and Japanese gastronomic heritages, and presents the results across a captivating menu amidst otherworldly interiors. Located at the heart of The Avenue, the duplex concept features a seductive open-faced cocktail bar downstairs, home to an enviable cachaça and Japanese whisky selection as well as a list of Rio and Ryokan-inspired signature concoctions, and a vibrant main dining room upstairs. Here executive chef Angel Romero serves up heavenly cuisine that takes its cues from the best of both hemispheres, from slow-cooked octopus with mint, dates and coconut oil-fried quinoa; and tiny Japanese Sawagani crabs served on a ‘beach’ of citrus salt and Japanese pork belly; to camarao, a Brazilian dish of cachaça-flambeed cassava with shrimps and green papaya; and the coconut beef dashi, with slow-cooked shishito peppers, quail egg and a touch of coconut milk. While we found the wine pairings to be a bit off, go local with the cachaça and sake lists, and be sure to get in early as this no reservation fusion hot spot fills up fast.
Fusion bounty from the lands that gave us the thong, and sharking.