Hôntô is so well hidden that you might struggle to find the place, even if you’re just metres away from the entrance – a nondescript black doorway at the end of a grungy dead-end street.
But inside is anything but shabby, the all-black interior illuminated only by chandeliers, candlelight and the open kitchen, which delivers fun inventions like the Hôntô drumstick – raw tuna and avocado in tiny savoury cones – and prawn doughnuts with red shiso and kimchi mayo from the menu’s “bites” section. Hôntô’s version of nasu dengaku (miso-glazed eggplant) is the pick of the sides, while in the mains department, perfectly crisp pork belly with kome vinegar and negi salad makes this mysterious newcomer worth seeking out.
Atmosphere: Dark and mysterious
Best for: Intimate gatherings
Cuisine: Contemporary Japanese
Standout dish: Crispy pork belly with kome vinegar and negi salad
Open: Tuesday-Saturday for dinner
Address: Alden Street, Fortitude Valley
Phone number: (07) 3193 7392