Off Business
Unique Take on Japanese Cuisine
前川哲雄Maekawa Tetsuo

Chef's Profile
Maekawa Tetsuo is not a vegetarian – in fact he is a lover of beef and a highly accomplished teppanyaki chef. But it is precisely his skill and long experience that made him first choice to take the reins in the kitchen at Isoya.
Ensuring that the restaurant remains a truly Japanese experience requires a Japanese chef who has the creativity and knowledge to ensure that everything on the menu is authentic, with the delicate flavours that the cuisine is known for. Dishes range from those that may be familiar to customers who have visited Japanese temples, to more unusual regional specialties.
This focus on freshness is why the restaurant serves a set menu, rather than a la carte. All of the ingredients are Japanese, and flown in for the ultimate freshness.

日本甜蕃茄拼茄子 Japanese Fruit Tomato and Eggplant

Japanese Fruit Tomato and Eggplant
The delicious and unexpected flavours of this eggplant provide a good introduction to the creativity and freshness of Isoya’s dishes. Served raw, the taste and texture is more like a refreshing summer fruit. The accompanying tomato is sweet and juicy, and is an award-winning variety exclusively flown in from Japan.

時令夏日壽司拼盤 Seasonal Summer Sushi Platter

Seasonal Summer Sushi Platter
No, that’s not raw tuna in this Sushi Platter – it’s red pepper. Vegetables including mushroom, sweet potato and eggplant are used in these colourful sushi dishes. Even what looks like pink paper packaging is edible, as it is made from edamame beans with plum colouring.

時令串燒拼盤 Seasonal Grilled Platter

Seasonal Grilled Platter
Perhaps the most surprising element of the Summer menu is a spread made from tofu and miso that has a punchy taste and texture reminiscent of pungent European cheese. Here it is served alongside green gluten skewers and on top of a crisp tofu skin base. Like the strongest of cheese, a little goes a long way.

芝麻豆腐 Sesame Tofu

Sesame Tofu
This looks at first glance like a typical cube of traditional tofu, but this version is made from sesame, not soya beans, giving a very different taste. It is a dish that is served in temples in Japan, and the cooking process is very meditative, as it involves a lot of stirring over time to ensure the texture is just right.

雜菜天婦羅拼盤 Seasonal Tempura Platter

Seasonal Tempura Platter
These vegetable tempura are the only fried dishes on this tasting menu, but they have no oily heavinesss. They are served with Isoya’s broth, which is flavoured with soy sauce and mirin, and some mashed radish which can be mixed into the broth for dipping.

蒟蒻冷麵Konnyaku Cold noodles

Konnyaku Cold noodles
Cold noodles served with shredded vegetables and tofu make for a hearty but not heavy final savoury dish. The freshness of the ingredients shines through the bright colours as you mix the noodles and vegetables together. And these noodles are made from yam, making them suitable for anyone avoiding gluten.

A sense of calm prevails the minute you step into Isoya and escape the bustling Johnson Road just outside. This Wan Chai eatery provides Hong Kong diners with the rare opportunity to eat authentic Japanese food that is 100% vegetarian.

Joe Hui and Jessie Yu opened Isoya four years ago. Unlike a lot of vegetarian restaurants in Hong Kong that use fake meat to recreate traditionally meat-based dishes, at Isoya, the vegetables themselves are the star attraction, with the freshness and quality of ingredients being the key priorities.

Opening a vegetarian Japanese restaurant was quite a risk, and it remains an unusual proposition even amid a rising interest in plant-based cuisine. But, as Yu said: “Hong Kong people know how to appreciate good food.” Word-of-mouth helped them and Isoya was successful from the start.

Isoya Japanese Vegetarian Restaurant
9F, 83 Wan Chai Road, Wan Chai
Tel: 5500 8812