TIRPSE Masters French-Japanese Fare, Taking Significant Note From Its Tokyo Flagship
K11 MUSEA is brimming with exclusives eats, offering a portfolio of restaurants that seems to continue to expand every month. Those who have tickled their taste buds with a selection of restaurants here would know that there’s a healthy mix of both upscale or more casual diners to cater to different budgets. TIRPSE is one of the higher-end options, a French-Japanese restaurant bringing back techniques from its Michelin-starred flagship in Tokyo. We visit the indulgent venue to try the tasting menu at this design-savvy, delectable venue.
The word TIRPSE may sound strange to pronounce, but its name derives from the French word for spirit (esprit), spelled backward. Located on the second floor K11 MUSEA, the restaurant by Mr. Ohashi Naotaka first opened in Tokyo, before expanding into Hong Kong. Here, TIRPSE was rewarded with a Michelin star within a mere two months of opening. Helmed by Chef Shimizu Yuta, the eatery welcomes diners from allover to try one of the two set menus available.
The design of TIRPSE is very intriguing. From the entrance, the restaurant seems almost easy to miss due to its subtle front. Upon entering, diners are greeted with a home-like ambiance, uplifted by its rich colour palette comprising golds, monochrome, and azure. Designed by Kevin Yu founder of Minus Workshop, TIRPSE pays tribute to its Tokyo venue by showcasing the iconic white wolf motif throughout the restaurant. There's a cabin theme composed throughout and it's evident the more you look around—the wolf paw prints on the wall, the wood and stone interiors.
TIRPSE only offers tasting menus—meaning you can try the best of everything, without being swamped for choice. We tried the newly-launched dinner set menu (HK$1,388) with an additional TIRPSE "Drink Obscure" wine pairing by Bella Ma, head sommelier (additional HK$728 per person). There are ten courses on the menu, each celebrating Chef Yuta Shimizu's compelling balance between Japanese and French cuisine. Chef-owner Ohashi Naotaka in Tokyo appointed Shimizu to helm the Kowloon branch, where he brought his expertise from Japan over to Hong Kong.
Each dish was served immaculately—unsurprisingly using sophisticated French presentation, while ingredients were a merge of both Western and Japanese ingredients. For our appetiser, the pumpkin was in season, so Shimizu curated this soup dish to warm up our senses in preparation for the list of dishes to come.
Both my partner and I attended, meaning we could try both dishes from each category. For the starter, patrons can choose between the foie gras drizzed in white miso or the aori squid with fennel and yogurt. The foie gras, a well-known delicacy in French cuisine, was rich and buttery, topped with root celery. Meanwhile, the latter was one of the highlights of our meal, a Japanese favourite composed of sweet aori squid, fennel, and creamy yogurt to complement the flavours.
The beautifully-presented second starter of the menu was very different from what I would usually order, but it was a new experience. Shirako is a traditional Japanese delicacy, which receives a modern update at TIRPSE, presented with cauliflower purée, shitake powder, and topped with indulgent truffle.
Throughout the tasting, we were topped up with different wine pairings, from smooth reds to bitter whites. Our next dish was the anglerfish, a rare and high-grade fish often referred to as the 'foie gras of Japan'. Surprisingly, the fish was extremely soft and gave a hearty and tender experience. The fish was paired with cabbage and kale on the side.
There are two choices for the main dishes—the highly-recommended Challans duck and the Wagyu beef tongue (supplement charge of HK$228). Much like the previous dishes, both of the mains were presented elegantly in a suave French-inspired manner. First, the Challans duck, a breed which is prized for its super-thick crispy skin, was lean and succulent at each bite. Served with alpine garlic and fine kumquat, the duck was wonderfully moist and as tender as we had hoped. Beef tongue is also a dish I wouldn't usually opt for, however, TIRPSE's iteration made a sweeping change to my opinion, bringing in new flavours to complement the somewhat rare dish. The pleasantly sweet lotus and acidic Oboro Kombu gave it just the right amount of Japanese fare.
We had our desserts—which we might say, were very generous portions—with a full stomach, but still had enough room without it being too overwhelming. A petite spread of three 'mini desserts' came first, comprising panettone, orange, rum, followed by the main dessert, which we devoured quickly. My favourite was the apple with puff pastry, while the strawberry with rhubarb was a little sweet for me.
TIRPSE is an upscale restaurant in K11 MUSEA, serving decadent, innovative dishes, using a combination of Japanese and French techniques and ingredients. Living up to the Tokyo flagship's reputation may seem challenging, but to us, Chef Shimizu Yuta has perfected the menu. Having a generous mix of both western and eastern inspired dishes lends diners a taste of the best seasonal offerings. We also think that the wine pairings by Bella are worth the splurge—and with so many courses on offer, hardly seems like too much of a splash-out. Popular for impressing dates or even business clients, TIRPSE welcomes discerning diners in Hong Kong. Be sure to grab a coffee on the terrace before or after your meal. Plus, the extraordinary panoramic harbour views from the restaurant are just the cherry on top.
TIRPSE, Unit #219, 18 Salisbury Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong, +852 2333 0031, tirpse.com.hk