[pukka_dropcap style=”” txt_color=”White” bg_color=”Black” size=””]I[/pukka_dropcap]had no idea what I was in for when I walked into Number 1, Hollywood Road that night. With old school hip-hop blasting out the speakers and the walls tattooed with Japanese-inspired street art, I must admit I was a little intimidated but I always wanted to know what the craze about sake was so in I went. The Friday jam was in full effect with no open tables for happy hour (just $50 for most drinks!) , so my two friends and I were seated at the small side bar, which I learned a bit too late was called “the victim area”.
Upon sitting down, we were all instantly given a shot of sake by the bartenders (whom I later discovered were all hardcore drinkers) and I realized what the craze was all about; sweet and aromatic, the shot went down like water. The first cocktail we ordered was the Sakeila, which is a blend of Tequila smoothened out by Sake that was presented in a Japanese onsen spoon on a decorative bed of rice. Unlike regular Tequila shots, you could gulp these down back to back with no burn; though I would hate to know the consequences.
Curious as to how wasabi would taste like in a cocktail, we then ordered the Pasabi, which came on a tray smoking with liquid nitrogen and potato chips sprinkled with wasabi salt. The spiciness was mellowed out by the plum wine, apricot, and apple juice, creating a unique balance and experience for our palates. Finally we ordered the Smoked Rose which was – in one word – romantic; the cocktail was slowly poured into a martini glass with a rose frozen in the middle with smoke engulfing the whole creation. We oohed and aahed like little girls and Wing, the bar manager serving us, smirked – he probably sees this reaction every day.
The rest of the night was a blur – the other bartenders Yuri and Johnny kept giving us shots of every cocktail they made and Manny, the ‘dailo of Ozu’, kept coming around with a cheeky smile and a huge jar of sake sangria and pouring it in our mouths. At one point out of nowhere, all the staff yelled “We all drink!” and we were forced to partake in a shot (or two? …three?) of Bacardi 151 with them. Contrary to sake this one definitely did not go down easy. We were sat in “the victim area” and victims we became; none of us quite remember the number of shots we had but I can swear the hangover lasted well into Sunday. Our plans of going to Volar disappeared into thin air – what was supposed to be pre-drinking became the drinking. Ozu is definitely not for the faint of heart but we definitely had the most fun we had in ages – I’ll definitely be back to relive the debauchery. Thank you to all the Ozu staff, you guys do Hollywood Road right!
Chinachem Hollywood Centre, 1 Hollywood Rd, Central, Hong Kong
T: +852 6179 0604