Kuro Maguro

Suffering from Japanese food withdrawal syndrome, we found ourselves visiting the newly opened Kuro Maguro. The restaurant owner’s primary business is a wholesaler of maguro in Japan.  They have expanded their business into exporting fresh quality maguro with the first outlet “Maguro-Donya Miura-Misaki-Kou Sushi & Dining“. Kuro Maguro is their 2nd store  but marketed under a different branding because this store aims to offer a range of maguro donburi (rice bowls) at affordable prices.

We ordered a standard Bara Chirashi which was pretty ordinary cos there was no special marinade…tasted pretty plain…

Followed by the Toro Aburi Meshi with flame-seared Maguro. Gimmicky to have the flame torched meat right before the guests, with the nice smokey aroma…

Here’s the final product, lightly aburi-ed, not enough to be carcinogenic I guessed…The meat was melt-in-your-mouth but I wished there could be mayonnaise aburi-ed together~

We ordered the slow-cooked maguro belly fat (torokakuni) with soy sauce glace out of curiosity. Kakuni (Pork) is commonly served at Japanese restaurant but not maguro kakuni. Sadly the torokakuni failed to impress me, the texture somehow reminded me of canned tuna…

If you want quality maguro, better visit the Suntec one…unless you are really budget conscious…

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Snacks & Food from Tokyo

After 2-weeks in Hokkaido, I’ve accumulated quite a haul of snacks from the Northernmost Island of Japan. As Tokyo was my last stop of the trip, there was limited luggage space left to carry back the bulky snacks. Nonetheless nobody can make a trip to Tokyo Station shopping street and leave empty handed after seeing the huge variety of snacks available!

Here are some of my hauls. Visited Calbee+ to try their freshly fried Poterico (potato sticks). At the shop there were an overwhelming variety of Calbee snacks to choose from, including many that are labeled “Limited Edition”. A good marketing strategy…

This one looks like the normal prawn cracker but its actually Kappa Ebisen (Shrimp Flavoured Chips) dusted with coarse sugar. It’s a sweet-and-salty combination which may seem odd initially but I found it rather palatable. I guess the concept was similar to the sugar crackers (a well-known biscuit in the Southeast Asian region).

Also bought the Potato Chips with Chocolate & Nuts, however this was sadly a far cry from the ones from Royce.

The Tokyo Limited Edition Jagarico Local Specialty Series has 8 varieties of local specialty Jagarico from around Japan. Somehow this supposedly popular item – Jagarico was not my cup of tea. We preferred the JagaPokkuru (which we purchased from Hokkaido, this snack is also available at the Tokyo airport).

Got a complimentary pack of the Strawberry Ebisen which was prawn cracker coated with strawberry chocolate. I found this too sweet compared to the one dusted with coarse sugar.  They also have Chocolate Ebisen(winter edition) which did not interest me…

There is also a shop selling Tokyo Banana, since it was close to Valentines’ Day they introduced the Heart-print edition!

Other than the Snacks Street, there is also a famous Character Street inside the massive Tokyo Station. Sanrio/Pokemon/Doraemon fans would go crazy with the merchandises in the specialise character stores.

We also explored the old Tokyo Station with the iconic red brick facade and the recently restored rotunda.

One last item to check off from my “to-eat” list is the Cremia soft-serve. I’m not sure if this soft serve is available at Tokyo Station but it is available at quite a few locations throughout Tokyo.

I purchased mine at the Dolci Cafe Silkream at Shibuya. It is a cafe but also has a take-out counter for the soft serve. The creamy and milky soft serve was silky smooth and rich. Sooo good! We even saw a dog owner purchased 1 to feed her Labrador Retriever!!!

Be sure to try this soft serve that not only has quality ice cream but also nice and crispy langue de chat cone. I would trade a Haagen-Dazs ice cream for this!!!

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TsuruTonTan つるとんたん, Tokyo

With some time left before heading to boarding gates at Haneda airport, we found TsuruTonTan at the public area to fill our tummy. What is better than having a bowl of hearty udon to round up our Japan trip (I’ve had my fair share of ramen throughout this trip already)?

This is a chain originally from Osaka, but has gained followers in Tokyo.  Each of their outlet has a different theme and many diners visit their Roppongi outlet for their sleek and modern decor.  The outlet at the airport has a relatively conventional zen theme, with contemporary design featuring lots of wooden/bamboo features.

For each of the udon dish, you can choose from regular thickness or thin noodles and the udon comes in a ridiculously large bowl. I had placed a pair of regular chopsticks at the edge of the Shabu-Shabu beef udon to show the comparative size.

What caught my attention was the availability of cold udon. I ordered the Chilled Dipping Tenzaru Udon with Tempura. For this cold udon, the staff recommended to choose the thick udon. The wooden ‘tub’ was equally massive with the cold udon sitting pretty on a bed of crushed ice. Other than the difference in the type of noodles used, the other steps of eating chilled noodles are the same as the soba with a dipping tsuyu where you can add scallions, ginger and sesame to adjust the taste. The udon was really chewy and al-dente.

I am so in love with Haneda airport not only for its close proximity to Tokyo, but also the variety of good restaurants housed there.

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Sushi Dai 寿司大, Tokyo

After my first failed attempt to visit Sushi Dai in 2013 (find out what happened in my post), I thought I may not have the chance to try again when I heard of the news that Tsukiji market would be relocated in late 2016. As the clock ticks down to the scheduled relocation date, news of toxic contamination of the new site surfaced. Amid concerns about soil and air pollution at the new site, the Mayor made the decision to postpone the shift.

Armed with lessons learnt from my past experience, I was more committed to snag a seat at the hugely popular Sushi Dai. First of all, it totally affected the location of hotel that I would be staying in Tokyo. The metro would not have started operation in the early hours when we needed to get to Tsukiji market. Instead of spending money to get a taxi, we decided to stay in Ginza area where we could walk to Tsukiji.

This time round we joined the queue at 4.30am and found ourselves at roughly the same spot as we did 3 years ago (back then we joined the queue at 8.30am)… Needless to say, we were pretty disappointed that the queue was longer than expected…although now we were mentally (and physically) prepared that it would take at least 4 hours for us to get our hands on the sushi…

We needed to be physically prepared as we had to wait in the chilly weather of as low as 2 degrees! Armed with our thick winter jackets, hand warmers, warm coffee, snacks and a small cushion pad, we were definitely more prepared for the challenge than the folks around us.

At 5am, the queue started to move as the shop opened and welcome in the first batch of diners. Due to the tiny shop space, each round of seating can only accommodate about 12 pax. Having read that it takes on average around 45 mins to 1 hour finish the set meal and with around 30+ pax ahead of us, we were expecting another 3 hours wait.

At 7am, we were finally in the queue right in front of the shop! This was a new milestone for us as we did not get this close to the shop in 2013. Back then we had to give up the queue after 3.5 hours as we had to make a move for our 12.30pm lunch appointment.

Staff was distributing hot brown tea to patrons in the queue and we were 1 step closer to entering the shop. The most agonising moment had to be when we were at the front row, looking at the ‘menu’ pasted on the door.

At 8+am, we finally stepped into Sushi Dai. The seating space was really cramp even for Asian built, less to say for the foreigners who are usually taller and bigger built than us. Hot tea, soup and egg roll was served promptly while we were still trying to settle down comfortably in our stools.

Without much delay, the Chef started preparing our omakase set which we were having along with other 4 patrons who were seated at the same time as us.

The first sushi served was the fatty tuna. The tuna is an iconic dish at Sushi Dai and many patrons asked for Chutoro as the final nigiri at the end of the meal. The freshness of the tuna was a promising start for a relatively affordable sushi meal.

The 2nd piece was the light flavour flounder. The 3rd piece was my favourite piece at Sushi Dai – Horse Mackerel. The stunning piece was beautifully coloured, topped with chopped spring onion. With its fantastic texture and flavour, it was the most memorable piece at the restaurant.

Uni sushi, nice but not really impressive…

I didn’t catch the name of this sushi, Chef had mentioned it to the patrons who were served ahead of us and didn’t repeat it. I guess it was Red Snapper?

Didn’t catch this either…Yellowtail?

The Clam was “curling” when it was served to me.

Loving the texture of this piece – Amberjack

Chef had to repeat the name of this piece to the other 4 patrons ahead of us several times. It was also the first time I heard of this sushi – Cutlassfish.

Sushi roll was Tuna and Shio leaf octopus.

The last piece of Chef’s choice piece was the Sea eel.

We could choose the final piece of nigiri sushi that we wanted, we decided to go for Shirako. Throughout our trip, we had tasted many dishes made using Shirako. On the last day of the trip, we finally got the chance to taste it in the original form.

With that we finished the set meal, guests who are still hungry can continue to order additional pieces at ala carte price. In honesty, we were more sleepy than hungry at the end of our meal, although it was only 9am in the morning…we had less than 3 hours of sleep the night before (slept at 1am, woke up at 4am to join the queue)…

I shared with the Chef that I finally get to taste his sushi on this 2nd attempt. He was pretty apologetic and said in simple English “I’m sorry…too many people“.

Including the time clocked on my 1st failed attempt, I spent a total of 7 hours to get a taste of the fresh sushi from this famous joint. Would I do it again? Not really. Been there done that, I could finally tick it off my bucket list. The shorter and faster queue at Sushi Yamato (aka Sushi Daiwa) looks more appealing to me. I would not mind queuing 1+ hour for it versus the arduous 4 hours at Sushi Dai.

Another tip to share: Do remember to check the Tsukiji market calendar as the restaurant is closed when the fish market is closed.

We did not have time to explore other parts of the Tsukiji market as we had to head back to our hotel to catch some sleep and pack our luggage. Thereafter we were off to catch our flight in the afternoon.

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★ L’Effervescence, Tokyo

Marked the final dinner of this trip with 2-Michelin star, L’Effervescence. Our Hokkaido trip did not pass by Lake Toya so we missed out on dining at Michel Bras Toya where Chef Shinobu Namae had spent time there as a sous chef before taking up a position at The Fat Duck in Bray.

The restaurant is housed in a nondescript low level building with the restaurant name elegantly inscribed on the wall. The main dining hall was decked out in contemporary sleek style with several Japanese features including an impressive full length window facing a side yard garden, dark timber ceiling runners and the alcove featuring flower arrangements.

It was almost customary for us to have Champagne as apertif. Cheers to great food and many more adventures (trips) together~

Someone ever said that the clinking sound from the glasses is the “World’s Most Wonderful Sound” (世界上最美好的声音) and I absolutely agree. 

Our meal began with a special French wine with sake served in an opulent gold cup, perhaps signifying the French-Jap style dinner course ahead of us?

The theme for the dinner was “Terroir~ Where the ocean meets the land” and the first course was A severe winterBotan-ebi, beetroot, mandarin, nigori-zake. Upon first sip, I found a familiar taste from the green foam. I tried hard to pin-point what was it, perhaps the dill foam’s soft anise-like flavour was the trigger which stirred up my childhood memories. The slightly warm beetroot with the scented foam was soothing on the throat while the mandarin and nigori-zake in granita form was refreshing and appetizing. Although each of the ingredients seemingly have their own distinct flavours, the overall combination worked out to be harmonious and well balanced.

The 2nd course was Just like the Apple pie #26Monkfish liver, Persimmon, Jerusalem artichoke presented with a note from Chef Namae with a red coloured pillow box. The key message of the note was to draw our attention to the devotion and passion of the artisan that goes into every product/produce versus the commercialised mass produced ones – which explains the Chef’s satirical take on the American fast food chain’s Apple pie.

A sentence that struck a chord with me was “With evolution and development, dining not only carried out the basic responsibility of being something to satisfy the urge for survival but also sought after for fulfillment of the heart and soul.”. I believe this also holds true for many folks like me who has progressed from simple need to fill our stomachs to seeking enjoyment of gastronomic delights as our disposable income increases. I must clarify that I am not alluding that costlier restaurant food are better than those from simple, humble food establishments. For me, higher income has enabled me to travel more often to other countries such as Bangkok where I could enjoy delicious and affordable street food or fly to San Sebastian to pamper myself with Michelin-star restaurant meals. However when it comes to local Singapore food, my usual go-tos are the gems found nestled in hawker centres/coffeeshops.

The Maitre d’hotel – Zac further explained to us that the apple pie was indexed as #26 because each time the Chef tweaks the ingredients used for the fillings, the recipe would be versioned. Unlike the fast food chain’s crisp crust, Chef’s version featured buttery and flaky pastry.

Instead of the conventional butter, the sour dough was served with a special spread made from sake lees, sour cream and olive oil. The first wine pairing was a 2015 Mendall Finca Abeurador from Terra Alta, Spain – a young and fruity white wine.

The next dish was named WhiteCuttlefish veil, sake lees cream and iyokan mandarin, kohlrabi, chrysanthemum flower. Under the semi-translucent cuttlefish was a layer of bright yellow cooked chrysanthemum flower. Chrysanthemum (kiku) is Japan‘s national symbol and the kiku with 16 petals is the symbol of the Japanese royal family. I found this dish interesting as we usually drink chrysanthemum tea boiled from the dried flower but this was prepared using fresh petals. The soft flower petals had a mellow sweet taste while the crunchy kohlrabi added depth to the texture of this delicate dish.

By now I began to appreciate the theme of “where the ocean meets the land” as up till now all the dishes comprised of a seafood element with a vegetable (root) element. How ingenious! 

Although the next dish did not fit in with the theme, it must be forgiven as this is Chef’s signature dish. Aptly named A fixed point4 hours cooked Tokyo turnip, parsley, Basque ham & brioche, this has been a standard fixture in the menu since the opening of this restaurant. The recipe can even be found online here. The turnip is cooked using sous vide method resulting in a noticeably juicier final product as the moisture was retained. The final searing in the pan gave them the charred crisp outer layer complemented with the crunchy brioche croutons. This dish was paired with the 2008 Pinot Gris Cuvée de L’Oncle Léon, France, which has unique character but compared to the earlier wine, this one had higher acidity that was less palatable to me.

The meal resumed with the seafood and veg combination with A snowy dayAmadai tilefish gently cooked in whey, celeriac, olive oil. I had often been disappointed with the way fishes are prepared in Western meals. However this was one of the rare occasions whereby I felt the Chef had handled the fish expertly especially when this is a prized (and pricey) white fish, which should not be wasted. Using just celeriac and olive oil as accompaniment, I was able to focus my attention on savouring the deep sea Amadai fish which has firm, meaty flesh and chewy skin. This dish was paired with a 2015 Gut Oggau Burgenland Winifred Rosé, Austria. We had very good impression of Austrian and Switzerland wines, would always try to source for them when we travel to Europe. This smooth and light biodynamic wine was equally impressive.

From the light fish dish, we moved on to a richer dish – When the cold wind blows Kegani (hairy) crab & sweet potato soup, soft cod roe and wild boar caramel, salt preserved lemon. I’ve lost count on the number of times I ate shirako on this trip but I was still thrilled to be able to enjoy this winter delicacy prepared in other manner, different from my earlier experiences.

Before moving to the mains, we were presented with Grandma’s taste Tiny chawan-mushi, shijimi clam & mushrooms consomme, fresh grated wasabi paired with Daigo no Shizuku from natural sake producer Terada Honke in Chiba Prefecture. The sake was surprisingly sweet with a fresh citrusy flavour which made it really unique!

The heat of the hearth Roasted duck over an open fire, guts & miso sauce, scallop & toasted nori jus, shiitake mushroom, curly-leaf spinach paired with 2011 Centin Corino Lorenzo from Piemonte, Italy. My experience of Italian wine was limited to Chianti which was high in tannins and acidity – not suited for my palate. The wine served with this dish was made from the Nebbiolo grape variety had similar characteristics but it turned out well-paired as the wine could help to cut through the rich fatty duck. I also liked that the tender roasted duck had good smokey flavour with crisp outer skin. 

East & West – was a choice between Cheese or Vegetable. We opted for the Vegetable Salad and was rewarded with the beautifully plated garden comprising of 52 types of greens/herbs/flowers etc. that was sourced from Artisan farmers in various parts of Japan. This course was served with the fruity Cidrerie du Vulcain from Switzerland, a sparkling cider made from native heirloom apples. We were certainly impressed by the carefully curated variety of wines/sakes used for pairing of dishes at L’Effervescence.

The amazing pairing ended with a very special sake – Aramasa “No.6” Xmas-type. The No. 6 series comes from “No.6 yeast”, which is one of the oldest Kyokai yeast. Apparently the supply of this sake is very limited, we were certainly happy to be able to taste this clear yet sophisticated sake. It would be helpful if I had met the friendly sommelier earlier in my trip to give me some tips on choosing sakes! We already bought a bottle of the Kamotsuru (aka Obama sake served by Abe during their meal at Sushi Jiro) and the Otokoyama Junmai Daiginjo, no more alcohol duty-free allowance.

Our first dessert was Unfastened Tochiotome strawberry, white cheese ice cream, red bean meringue, mochi blanket. Somehow this dessert looked really cute to me, it was like a pink version of the popular Sanrio character “Gudetama”, but this was a version with Little Miss Pinky peeking out shyly under the soft & pillowy blanket~ Zac asked us for our feedback on this dessert as he said it was a new creation. We had nothing but praises for this dessert which exemplifies Japan‘s traditional sweet – mochi, complemented with quality strawberry and red bean.

The fruit used in the second dessert came as a slight surprise to us as we seldom see this fruit in Japanese supermarket. A harmonious whole Sake lees rice pudding, wild mountain kiwi, amazake ice cream. When we shared our sentiments that it was the first time we ever had kiwi in Japan, Zac explained that the kiwis in Japan are different from the usual kiwi species, the kiwis native to Japan are much smaller and sweeter. Apparently they are in season during the winter and early spring. This dessert also allowed me to have a deeper appreciation of sake lees. I’ve seen a documentary programme on how sake is made and briefly aware that sake lees are a by-product from sake production. But Chef had turned this “leftover” product into useful ingredient, incorporating it in several of the dishes.

For the grand finale, we were presented with Mignardisesfollowed by a tea ceremony by Zac, presenting us with Matcha and “World Peace”Peanut milk. Zac shared that he is qualified to perform the Japanese tea ceremony after completing his training in Kyoto and even showed us a video of him in kimono during his training.

With the lollipops being the centre-piece of the mignardises, we left it till the last to savour it. It was proven to be an excellent decision as we ended the wonderful meal with pop-rocks hidden within the chocolate spheres. I asked Zac jokingly whether the incorporation of the pop-rocks (fizz) was planned with the intention to cleverly reflect the name of the restaurant – L’Effervesence?

Other than the fantastic food and wine, something else caught our attention at the restaurant – the music. Instead of playing soothing classical music at the background, we found ourselves unknowingly swaying our heads to english soft rock music from artistes like Radiohead while in between meals.

The amalgamation of diverse cultures at the restaurant was so well-designed that it did not feel disharmonized; instead everything fell into the right places and made this uniquely L’Effervesence-style experience. This experience could only be truly enjoyable if you visit with an open-mind.

Last but not least we left with a piece of chocolate cake made with sake lees and this gift came in handy as our breakfast while we stood in the queue for Sushi Dai from dawn. On a side note: when we shared with the Japanese sommelier that we planned to go Tsukiji market for sushi the next morning, he recommended us to visit “Sushi Yamato” – run by a father and son team. He did not know of “Sushi Dai” when we told him about it but with some google help, we figured out that “Sushi Yamato” is in fact “Sushi Daiwa” (run by the son).

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Luke’s Lobster, Tokyo

Luke’s Lobster from New York opened their first outpost in Japan since late 2015 in Omotesando. Since then the lobster bun craze has captured the hearts of Japanese (and maybe tourists like us) evidenced by reports of long queues at the outlets across Japan.

When we turned into Cat Street from Omotesando we saw the huge signage of the eatery with a service window sans the queue! How could that be? Turned out the queue started a distance away from the order counter.

Since it was a weekend, we were not surprised to see the queue stretched all the way almost to the end of the small alley. One of us joined the queue while the other maximised the time by exploring the shops around the area =)

Lo and behold, I got back to the queue area after 30 mins we had advanced only by a short distance. Then I was told that we had joined the wrong queue earlier…What?! 

The queue we wasted time on was for another eatery at the mid-way point of the alley. We had erroneously thought that there was a break in the queue at a junction (just like the gap to the order counter) since there was a green cone placed to indicate the start of the “2nd” half of the queue…Even the guy in front of us was also misled into thinking that he was in the queue for lobster roll…

After sorting out the line, we had to wait for close to 1 hour at the right queue before we received our lobster rolls.

After an incredible 1.5 hours wait, here’s our Lobster Roll (cost around S$13) and Crab & Shrimp Roll (cost around S$17). Although the lobster roll seems pretty value-for-money, the bun was soft and the lobster portion was generous; sadly it was not worth the long wait. The crab & shrimp roll tasted bland. We had severely underestimated the clearance speed of the queue, it was painfully slow for take-out food. In my opinion, I am only willing to spend not more than 30 mins for these…

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★ Tapas Molecular Bar, Tokyo

Having been in Japan for the past 2.5 weeks and savouring Japanese cuisines, it was a refreshing change to visit Tapas Molecular Bar which features innovative molecular cuisine. Housed on the 38th floor of Mandarin Oriental hotel, dining at the 1-Michelin star restaurant with only 8 seats was expected to be an entertaining and interactive experience.

There are 2 seatings in the evening and dinner can only commence when all guests have arrived. When we were shown to our seats, these were the items that welcomed us. Not your traditional placemats with chopsticks but a mysterious box wrapped with bandana and a ‘surgical-feel’ apparatus set. I thought since we are in Japan, wouldn’t it be more apt to use the Furoshiki -traditional Japanese wrapping cloth to wrap the box instead?

An evening of fun-filled activities commenced when we were invited to pour the water from the small beaker into the petri dish over the small white “pill”. Although not something new to me, it was still interesting to watch the “pill” expand in size to be unrolled into a wet tissue.

I was more intrigued by what was under the bandana and upon unwrapping the cloth, it was revealed to be a Toolbox! And there were real tools inside.

Before commencing any work, what would be the first thing to do? Take measurements? Pull out the measuring tape and you would find the menu for the dinner labeled within.

[Japanese Delights] Our first course comprised of Gunkanmaki eggs/truffle, Waldorf chicken/yuzu and Nicoise chutoro/olive. These snacks were made to look like the typical Japanese sushi but were in fact had no rice element in them.

[Appetizer] The second course was Bonzai leaf/roots. Using a tart crust as the pot, the base was filled with cream cheese and covered with micro-greens, finally topped with a mushroom tempura.

After 2 courses there was an interlude during the meal and our eyes were drawn to a show happening at the bar counter in front of us. Chef Ngan Ping Chow brought out a box filled with smoke and unveiled to us a row of cigars sitting pretty in the transparent display.

Each guest was presented with a Cigar BBQ pork/vegetables/sesame ash on our plate with a dollop of peking duck sauce. The roll was made of apple, cucumber and pork. Of course some guests were having fun taking photos with cigar in their hand.

As the items were all bite-sized tapas portion, the dinner service was pretty fast paced and interspersed with the showmanship of the Chef who was well-versed in his “lines”. It was a bit of a challenge trying to keep track of each elements used for the dishes.

The next course was Bisque lobster/uni where the highlight was the lobster ball which was said to be made using different parts of the lobster meat, giving it a more luscious texture.

[Degustation] The 5th course was Onsen Tamago orzo/parmesan. Anyone familiar with Japanese food would know that Onsen Tamago literally translate to ‘Hot Spring Egg’ is in fact soft-boiled egg. However the ‘egg’ presented with the barley risotto was a mock one made of tofu and pumpkin (as yolk). We made a slit on the egg to test if Chef replicated the characteristics of a flowy yolk and he nailed it with flying colours.

My eyes lit up upon seeing the next dish of Crab Cake Hokkaido/Hollandaise, cos of the wonderful sea grapes (referred as green caviar) at the side! Otherwise the lightly battered crab cake made using Hokkaido king crab paired with hollandaise was quite a foolproof recipe.

When I saw Pizza duck/foie gras as the 7th item on the menu, I was keeping my fingers crossed that it would be a mini-sized one. Turned out my worries were unfounded as this was a reinvented version with an ultra-thin waffle as base instead of conventional dough, toppings of duck, foie gras and truffles, not forgetting the quintessential mozzarella cheese. This was my ideal pizza~

Lamb binchotan/tzatziki Binchotan is oak charcoal often used in Japanese cooking, either for grilling or sometimes used in powder form and added into food since is actually edible.  The braised lamb was served with tzatziki – Greek yogurt sauce as a dip, along with a piece of oyster leaf.

Wagyu rice/broth featured thinly sliced aburi beef rolled with rice and paired with a light broth.

After finishing the mains, we were ironically served [Breakfast] comprising of Omelette mango/chest nut, Bircher Muesli yoghurt/granola and Sausage raspberry/cream cheese. While it felt like a good concept to serve sweets disguised as a savoury meal, the execution could be further improved on for better results – visually.

For the next few desserts, Chef prepared them using liquid nitrogen and took the opportunity to talk us through the properties of this tool. We even got the chance to ‘touch’ this seemingly dangerous fluid which may cause ‘burns’ if not handled properly.

[Sweets] Instant Fondant chocolate/nitrogen Each of this was made on the spot and served to guest for us to consume it within 5 seconds. Why 5 seconds? Cos the fondant was dipped in liquid nitrogen to supercool it, before taking it out from the mould. Although the exterior looked solidified, it has a lava centre which would flow out once we cut into it.

Short Cake strawberry/snow Could you guess which one is the real strawberry and which is the artificially made one? Smash it to get the answer.

Chef has one last treat for us to end the meal – After Eight chocolate/mint/meringue. Careful instructions were given on how to eat this tiny bite size meringue which was made on the spot. Similar to other dessert creations made using liquid nitrogen, we had to eat it within 5 seconds. We were told to place the whole piece in our mouth and keep our lips tight while munching this. At the same time, we had to exhale through our nose and voila~ we all turned into puffing dragons.

The entire meal was casual and interactive, guests who are not so familiar with molecular gastronomy would be amazed by the tricks up Chef’s sleeve. But I have to be honest that we had better molecular gastronomy cuisines in Europe (think Tickets Bar, Mini BarPaco Pérez) in terms of taste and presentation, albeit the chance for up close interactions with the Chefs.

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