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Restaurant review: Kakuuchi, Tai Hang – good-value casual Japanese fare

With handwritten slips of paper listing the names of dishes hanging from the ceiling and on a transparent plastic sheet draped over the exterior, Kakuuchi looks like a Japanese dai pai dong.

Collapsible tables, wooden chopsticks and a DIY serving style (customers have to help themselves to drinking water and fetch seasonings from the central counter) further accentuate the casual Japanese dining vibe.

The restaurant offers a wide selection of food including tempura, sashimi and roasted skewers. There are about 20 choices for the tempura (priced from HK$12 to HK$32 apiece) which are deep-fried to order.

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We ordered the white fish (HK$22) and scallop (HK$22) tempura, which was enjoyable because of the thin, crispy batter.

We also liked the deep-fried cheesecake (HK$32 for two pieces), which had a chewy texture and a strong cheese flavour. The deep-fried oysters (HK$18 for two pieces) were fresh and served with salad dressing and lemon.

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Roasted kinki fish was a bargain at HK$68 – the fish is normally quite expensive – and the oily flesh tasted fresh and sweet.

There is also an extensive selection of oden skewers – a Japanese winter dish of various ingredients simmered in a light miso broth. The skewers (HK$15 apiece) included octopus, conch, fish cakes and sweet potato that had been cooked in the broth for a whole day before being served.

We especially liked the sweet potato skewer; the sweet potato flesh and skin had been minced and fried before being stewed, giving it a strong flavour of the broth.

For sashimi, we ordered the shrimp (HK$48 for two pieces), yellowtail (HK$78 for three pieces) and red sea bream (HK$48 for three pieces). The flavour was fine, but the portions were very small.

Kakuuchi, 12-13 Shepherd Street, Tai Hang, tel: 2504 2777. Open: noon-3pm, 6pm-11pm.