Border-crossing Japanese that delivers quality

Hotel G’s Morio is another sushi joint which overwhelms with its urge to be chic and contemporary. Luckily, despite the interior’s gratuitous black, metallic and Wasabi-green geometry and sprawling menu, it delivers where it matters – with interesting flavours at significantly lower prices than other image-conscious eateries.

The restaurant is independently operated by Morio Sakayori, a Tokyo native who has cooked in California and Hong Kong, and who seems to know exactly where to innovate and where to stick to time-tested flavours.

Hiyayakko (18RMB), the classic cold bean curd starter, is flecked with asatsuki (thin green onion), shiso (perilla) and ginger for a refreshing tastebud call-to-arms. Sushi purists might turn up their noses at the site of mayonnaise in the tuna carpaccio (70RMB), but few will care as the fish – flown in from Tokyo’s famed Tsujiki fish market, like all the fish here – pops with flavour, helped along by the excellent fresh-ground wasabi.

Purists should enjoy the otoro (100RMB per slice), the most expensive sushi/sashimi menu item, which opens up into a fatty fan of tuna that tastes of the ocean.

The creative maki-sushi concoctions (priced 70-90RMB) include the California-inspired Three Amigos roll, combining tuna, salmon and yellow tail with cucumber and avocado, and the Beijing roll, with roast duck breast and asparagus. Stewed ox tongue (80RMB), one of the chef’s signature dishes, is immersed in a clear broth and topped by daikon radish and fresh seaweed, which add a crunchy bitterness to cut the chewy sweetness of the meat.

For dessert, the decadent green tea mousse (40RMB) is paired with a gelatin shell topped by a paper-thin layer of yogurt. It’s a classic example of how Sakayori innovates with traditional flavours. All-in-all, you’ll leave with a happy stomach and a not-too-unhappy wallet.

Morio 7 Gongti Xi Lu, Chaoyang district (6551 6999). Open 10am-2pm, 5-10pm daily. Meal for two around 500RMB. 朝阳区工体西路7号.

http://www.timeout.com/cn/en/beijing/restaurants/feature/6519/morio.html

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