Silencio is an Arts & Jazz Hub Serving Reimagined Izakaya Favourites

Le Comptoir’s Silencio is Hong Kong’s first and only contemporary izakaya featuring live jazz music. Taking the space which formerly housed the post-work drinking spot, Lily & Bloom, the restaurant recreates the well-loved Japanese tradition, with a few modern twists. First off, the venue features provocative artwork by renowned Tokyo artist Tomoo Gokita, a cult figure back in Japan, and secondly, the live jazz, which fills the ambiance in the room (Note: due to government restrictions, live music is currently not available). Then, of course, the main attraction—Silencio’s izakaya menu. We stopped by the drinking-and-dining den to try the new menu, curated by the talented Chef Yong Soo Do. Here’s what we thought…

silencio mr ping cha siu papers times

Image courtesy of Mr Ping | Cha Siu Papers Times

Location


Silencio is nestled within LKF Tower, taking over the space which previously housed Lily & Bloom, which used to be a two-floor establishment. Beneath Silencio lies Poem, another Le Comptoir venue. It’s easy to get to this area, and if you’re familiar with the Hong Kong nightlife scene, then you’d know that Lan Kwai Fong is a go-to destination for late-night owls. Although the party district is only minutes away, it doesn’t feel like you’re in LKF, thanks to the secluded setting and dark atmosphere.

The Design


Reimagining Japanese izakaya settings, Silencio showcases the traditional vibrant ambiance of the drinking spots and updates it with art, live jazz, and an exciting menu influenced by international flavours. The artwork found throughout the restaurant is by Tokyo-born cult figure Tomoo Gokita, a contemporary Japanese artist best known for his monochrome abstract figurative (and provocative) paintings and prints. His signature compositions include pieces based on found photographs and old magazines featuring a central figure whose face is obliterated. In the private dining room, childlike drawings are hung on the wall, followed by a central masterpiece, showcasing the demonic figure with a woman.

Image courtesy of Silencio

The Chef


Chef Yong Soo Do previously worked at BUCA Osteria, Enoteca, U-Hang and Jinjuu, working his way up the culinary ranks. He then worked as a Head Chef at Korean joint BIB N HOPS, recreating signature traditional dishes with Chef Alvin Leung for an innovative menu that can’t be found elsewhere.


Yong now works at Silencio as the Head Chef, where he redefines traditional Japanese izakaya dishes, whilst respecting the traditions that are bound by it. Sean Mell previously manned the station at Silencio, and is also the former executive chef of Nobu Hong Kong, before handing the reigns to Yong, who drew upon his multicultural culinary backgrounds, whilst using seasonal ingredients and modern techniques. Chef Yong has a fiery, witty personality (as we had the pleasure of meeting him during the tasting), and uses his extensive culinary background and expertise to curate a refined rendition of traditional izakaya, paired with junmai sakes and Japanese whiskeys.


The Food


We tried dishes from Chef Yong Soo Do’s latest menu. His inventive style of cooking made each dish unique in its own way—a lot of which were brand new to my taste buds. Here’s what we tried.

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Image courtesy of Mr Ping | Cha Siu Papers Times

First, we had the Mid-Autumn Salad (HK$130), a seasonal plate, comprising blood orange, fennel, endive, mustard vinaigrette, and goma. The simple yet fruity combination of the ingredients gave it a refreshing twist to ordinary leafy salads. Although the dish was juicy from the blood orange, there was a flavour missing—perhaps it needed a bit more crunch to add to the soft, tender fruits. Either way, it was a light start to the meal and an inviting introduction to autumn’s ingredients.

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Image courtesy of Mr Ping | Cha Siu Papers Times

Fried chicken is a staple on an izakaya menu. So what do you get when you combine premium ingredients, with cripsy poultry? The Chicken Nanban (HK$120) at Silencio is smothered in tangy tartare sauce and topped with house-cured ikura. Adding the red caviar was an unexpected touch, giving a delightful soft chew to the chicken.

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Image courtesy of Mr Ping | Cha Siu Papers Times

The star of the show for us was called Awkwafina (HK$250), which is part of the specialty rolls section on the menu. Filled with unagi, avocado, and Japanese pickle, the combination works perfectly. The main ingredient is the foie gras—which makes frequent appearances throughout the menu—a tender and flavoursome addition to the roll. Kabayaki sauce lines the rolls, made from a sweet soy sauce-based sauce fish, to complement the Japanese touches.

silencio

Image courtesy of Mr Ping | Cha Siu Papers Times

Taking a contemporary approach to the otherwise plain seafood dish, the Sea Bream (HK$200) updates its composition with a potato foam base sprinkled with ao nori and Japanese pickle. The fish was tender and went well with the accompanying ingredients. It would have been even better if it came with some sort of vegetable side to balance the texture.

silencio cha siu papers times

Image courtesy of Mr Ping | Cha Siu Papers Times

Wagyu is considered one of the best (if not the best) types of steak. At Silencio, the Wagyu Tataki (HK$220) is a lightly-seared wagyu ribeye, topped with a soft rosy seabass, and sprinkled with fresh bonito. The chef comes around with a grater, to shred cold foie gras torchon on top of the beef. The result is a complex myriad of flavours—the wagyu, the seabass, and the foie gras—for a unique texture unlike any other. Some may find it a little overwhelming, but I actually thought that it worked well together, especially because the foie gras was minimal, and only featured a little sprinkle at the end. The wagyu was tender and met with the rich seabass.

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Image courtesy of Mr Ping | Cha Siu Papers Times

We then tried the Dutch (HK$180), a dish that took a cool spin on sushi classics. The sharing platter features two pieces of tofu pocket-dressed rolls filled with wagyu, crab meat, and smoked hollandaise.

silencio cha siu papers times

Image courtesy of Mr Ping | Cha Siu Papers Times

Being an avid fan of inari, the dish wrapped all the ingredients together for a scrumptious bite of wagyu-meets-crabmeat—another innovative combination by Chef Yong Soo Do. The Mulyana (HK$160) was a delightful sashimi plate of delicate kinmedai, served with okra miso, avocado, and kaffir lime.


For dessert, we had Tira-Miso (HK$80), a light coffee sponge cake with amaretto cream and miso caramel sauce, and the Matcha Treat (HK$80), a dish made from matcha foam, green tea biscuit, Hokkaido milk ice cream, and fresh blueberries. Japanese desserts are known for their less sweet appeal, in comparison to some overly-indulgent western treats.

silencio

Image courtesy of Mr Ping | Cha Siu Papers Times

Overall


Silencio updates izakaya with modern, international influences, whilst staying true to its traditional Japanese roots. Chef Yong Soo Do’s rebellious culinary philosophy is a refreshing invitation to innovative flavours and combinations of ingredients one wouldn’t typically expect. We drank sake throughout our meal, which complemented the dishes in our meal. Silencio continues to impress with its experimental concoctions, live jazz entertainment, and buzzing atmosphere, making it a reputable go-to destination for contemporary izakaya in Hong Kong.


Silencio, 6/F, LKF Tower, 33 Wyndham Street, Central, Hong Kong, +852 2480 6569, silencio.hk


Book your table at Silencio here