Central Lunch Series: Agehan あげ半, Exchange Square

So where were we?  Ah yes, restaurant review!

Last month I started my new job at Exchange Square in Central – for those not in Hong Kong, Central is the central business district, which makes sense…!  And you know what new work place means…new lunch places!  So that we can come up with the top 10 Central workday lunches, it’s sensible to start from my own building yes?

Authentic Japanese place Agehan was already in my good books before I started work upstairs, and now it’s just too convenient.  It’s always full so book early, or go at 12:30pm and even then you have to wait a few minutes.  In fact the receptionists were overworked as they had to double up on other duties, so sometimes the entrance was left unattended.  Hmm.

Daily specials, only seen by the door, which form the more “value” range of the menu.

The head staffer is noticeably Japanese, and the thin but all-round solid menu is only in English and Japanese, with no pictures!  Good thing Chinese can read kanji.

The layout is roomy enough for HK standards.

And if you’re sat by the window, it’s great for people watching as it’s right opposite IFC.

An oshibori (おしぼり or お絞り) is offered, as any self-respecting Japanese place does.

The last time I went I ordered the trademark lunch set – black cod with miso paste (銀鱈西京燒)($170), with rice and miso soup.  Of the four grilled fish sets (燒魚定食), the rest are $120 but this is still their best seller as it’s gone by like 1:15pm.  Once you try it, you’ll see why…

Came in good time, around 10-15 minutes (sometimes longer the later past 1pm you get though).  Let’s get a closeup of that hunk o’ fish.

Cooked just right and melts in the mouth.  What more can you ask for?

Might as well stick in this vegetable tempura set ($110) I had last time.  It was all done right with the tempura batter remaining light and crunchy, but the sheer amount of tempura and rice means a very filling meal.  As for the sashimi rice items, not sure about the quality but at least I know they’re about $290.

Unlike most restaurants Japanese or otherwise which come with a set coffee/tea or dessert, Agehan only offers a small, well-brewed cup of coffee.  With brown sugar and some rich-smelling condensed milk!  This will get you high.

Final bill for the black cod set was $187 ($170 + 10%).

So in summary, a solid choice if you can get a seat.  The closest Japanese place I think is Rei in IFC which will probably run you at least $200 per head for lunch, and they charge you for tea for crying out loud.  The only downside here is the cod set sells out fast.

EDIT (16 June): However I should note that for a restaurant as decent as this, they unfortunately use flimsy disposable wooden chopsticks.  You don’t have to be THAT authentic.  Most disposable chopsticks are made in China and have been bleached with sulfur dioxide.  Some points deducted for that…

Restaurant rating: NOM NOM NOM NOM (out of five)

Address: Shop 208-210, 2/F, The Forum, 8 Connaught Road, Central 中環干諾道中8號交易廣場二期2樓208-210號舖

Opening hours: Mon – Sun 11:30am – 2:45pm, 6pm – 10:30pm

Tel: 2523 4332

Web: Openrice 中文, Openrice English

Tune again for more from the Central lunch series!  Next time, we go back to basics…

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