This sushi specialist with branches in Nagoya and Malaysia now has a third branch here in Bangkok, up on the fifth floor of Central Embassy.
The flagship high-end sushi restaurant of Central Embassy has all the ingredients for something truly special; ingredients it flies in daily from Tokyo and Aichi Prefecture through a supplier who practices the kaimin katsugyo (or, “live fish sleeping soundly”) method. Injure the spinal cord but don’t kill the fish, the chefs will tell you, and you can bring the creature to Bangkok in as fresh a state as possible.
It’s hard to argue once you try Hinata’s beautifully shimmering gizzard shad, coated in the lightest essence of yuzu and sitting on a pillow of pearly, body-temperature rice. We last enjoyed this particular delicacy as part of a B2,500 omakase (chef’s selection) course that sees customers seated at a cypress wood counter directly before Hinata’s trio of officious Japanese sushi chefs. Here, they present each course with a rapid assertiveness that means you’re punched in and out of dinner within the hour.
The back-of-house kitchen does work that equals the sushi counter, whether it’s a rich, jellied consomme with tofu—dense and punctuated with a strong sesame flavor—or a decadent battered oyster hiding amid piquant slices of pickled veg. The B2,500 menu also services you with all the showpiece sushi ingredients, meaning extensively marbled otoro (fatty tuna) and nigiri that doubles up on its creamy portion of sea urchin.
Other omakase dinners extend from B1,800 (for the omakase sashimi) up to B6,000 for the full kaiseki (fine dining) experience, while Hinata stands apart from many Bangkok omakase specialists for offering a la carte, too (served in the back dining room overlooking the British Embassy).
Hinata does, however, have one big problem: its setting. As exquisitely minimal as the omakase room may be, there is no escaping the fact you’re in a mall, and the constantly moving silhouettes of shoppers just a smoked glass screen away make the incredible food feel sadly commonplace. Maybe we’re too plebeian to understand B4,000 a head dinners that feel like quick shopping-spree pit stops, but to our minds, the cosseted counters of Sushi Masato or Sushi Misaki definitely feel more special.
This review took place in October 2017 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.