Dinner @ Restaurant Sasaki (Sydney, Australia)

June 26, 2017 in Japanese by thywhaleliciousfay

My second chance of having a nice meal in Sydney came along when my colleague said her relatives wanted to meet her for dinner. Erm… Yeah for me? Keke. And for my precious second slot, I chose to have dinner at Sasaki. Chanced upon the restaurant while surfing instagram with the hashtag #SydneyEats and I immediately fell in love with their facade; Concrete with form tie holes.

Recently opened in April 2017, chef-owner Yu Sasaki’s memories of growing up in his hometown Shimane (north of Hiroshima in Japan) formed the core of his 25-seaters restaurant. And it’s read from their website that each dish was inspired by head chef Sasaki’s mother’s style of home cooking; Simple and made with love. Wooden cutlery was also made by head chef Sasaki’s retired dad. Like the spoon which was whittled from a single piece of wood.

Reservation was made with ease through the online booking system on their website. And as requested, I got my counter seat where counter was made with Tasmanian oak. And from the menu, I ordered:-

1) Egg & crab, AUD11 (above)

2) Gurnard, sakura & kombu, AUD19 (above)


3) Eggplant, buckwheat, nori & plum, AUD19 (above) – This was a cold dish. Unfortunately, I didn’t like this.

4) Duck, soy & leek, AUD25 (above) – Done in 2 ways, this dish was perfect! If I had to choose just one dish as my favourite, this would be it. A must order.

5) Clams, sake & watercress, AUD21 (above) – Except for a few which weren’t cleaned properly, this dish was not too bad. Although I was a little embarrassed cause I suspect the patrons sitting beside me could hear the ‘biting on sand’ sound as I chewed the clams.


6) Rice, chicken & mushroom, AUD11 (above) – I really liked this. Texture of rice was slightly chewy, but totally flavourful.


  

7) Genmai & ginger, AUD4 (topmost, right)

8) Caramel & nuts, AUD6 (topmost, middle)

9) Potato & butter, AUD5 (topmost, right)

I was really happy with my dinner at Sasaki. I really loved the space. I only wished I had a dining companion so that I could try more dishes from the menu. Although the amount of food I ordered was more than sufficient to feed 2 people. The couple sitting beside me stared hard at every dish that came after my fourth dish. I was eating way more than them. Oops.

RESTAURANT SASAKI
102/21 Alberta Street, Sydney, Australia
+61 2 8068 9774, Website
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Sat : 17:30 – 22:00
Ambience: 8
Value: 7
Service: 7
* Closed on Sun

Dinner @ Kappo Shunsui

June 21, 2017 in Japanese by thywhaleliciousfay

Hitting a dead end in my search for sushi restaurants, I texted my IGGF (InstaGram GirlFriend) if she knew of any new ones. And that was when she shared a picture of a gold door. However, that was all that she knew of the new Japanese restaurant. Now, I pride myself as a search guru. So… The challenge (to identify it is) on. Keke.

Unfortunately, nothing turned up when I google-ed ‘new Japanese restaurant’ and ‘golden door’. No! Die, die must find out. So I analysed the photo (of a mere gold door) and concluded it should be located in an old shopping mall based on the faint reflection of the shopping mall interior. Hmm.

And fate had it that I was meeting a friend at Cuppage Plaza that night. Just when my friend and I were at level 5 and making our way to the carpark after dinner, I caught a glimpse of a familiar-looking wallpaper at level 4. One can say I was on full alert mode. Ha! Excused myself to check it out and there it was… The Japanese restaurant which my IGGF and I were looking for. Kappo Shunsui!

Unfortunately, due to my IGGF’s and my conflicting schedules, we were only able to meet for dinner 3 weeks later. And it was a huge bummer when we saw posts of Kappo Shunsui appearing on instagram just days before our visit due to the restaurant having conducted media invite. Secret, no more. Sob.

My IGGF and I arrived at the restaurant at 7pm. I honestly loved how low key the exterior was. Reminded me much of Japan. Pressing the console was akin to pressing a door bell where the staff would be alerted to open the door.

Opposite to the minimally designed exterior, the interior was designed with much attention put to the smallest details. The corridor to the toilet had floor lights in addition to ceiling lights. And yes, they have their own toilet which was nicely furnished too.

And from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6), my IGGF and I ordered:-

1) Omakase, $249 comprised of:-


(A) Dish #1 (above) – Simmered octopus, broad bean, seaweed, potato lotus, and jelly made with bonito broth, soya sauce and vinegar.

(B) Dish #2 (above) – Pike eel.


(C) Dish #3 (above) – Sashimi assortment of torched barracuda, kingfish (hiramasu) and red snapper (tai). My favourite was the barracuda! We saw head chef Tomo Watanabe spritzing some liquid over the dish before it was served to us. And out of curiosity, we asked the staff what it was. The staff humorously replied “Ajinomoto.” Hahaha. But of course, that’s just water.

(D) Dish #4 (above) – Medium fatty tuna (chutoro) and vinegared gizzard shad (kohada) sushi.

(E) Dish #5 (above) – With ponzu sauce, grated radish and chili, we were served long tooth grouper (kue) and vegetables in a pot of simmering soup.


(F) Dish #6 (above) – Grilled arctic surf clam (hokkigai). And for this dish, we were treated to a (mini) performance where head chef Watanabe san slammed the clams onto the counter and exaggeratedly sprinkling salt into them before grilling it over charcoal. It was a good thing I finished my soup cause some salt went into my pot. Ha. And we loved how he put the grilled clams onto shell-looking ceramic plates. And yes, we were told the ceramic items were all head chef Watanabe san’s personal collection. Nice.


(G) Dish #7 (above) – Tomato with tomato jelly and micro tomato. How cute! And yes, we were told hand-squeezed tomato juice was used to make the jelly. A really refreshing taste. I enjoyed it much.


(H1) Dish #8 (above) – For the meat dish, my IGGF was served beef from Omi. We were told the slab was grilled on the surface before continuing to slow cook it for 1.5 hours in dashi stock. And she couldn’t stop raving about it.


(H2) Dish #8 (above) – And because I don’t eat beef, I had a fish dish instead. Was told it’s a family of cod; Abura bouzu.


  

(I) Dish #9 (above) – Claypot rice with braised red snapper head. And we gasped to know we each had half a head to ourselves! Such generous portion! We were loving it, of course. Haha. I normally share fish head with friends cause I am not too good at eating it. So for the first time, I was taught to eat the ‘correct’ parts; The jelly parts around the eye. Yummy! No more peaceful sharing of fish head in the future. Haha.


(J) Dish #10 – Almond pudding with cherry from Yamagata.

2) Homemade ‘warabimochi’ with ‘hon-warabiko’, $12 (above)

For all the excitement that my IGGF and I built up leading to our visit, I was glad the dinner didn’t disappoint. We left happy and satisfied. =)

Head chef Watanabe san couldn’t speak much English. So we depended on the waiting staff for translation. And it was through the staff that we learnt head chef Watanabe san moved from Japan (Tokyo) to Singapore with the aim of achieving a Michelin star. “Japan too tough. Too many stars,” the staff said. Haha.

But back in Japan, head chef Watanabe san opened an izakaya which was on Michelin Guide’s Bib Gourmand list for 3 years (2015 to 2017). “Chef’s dream was to do multi-course (kaiseki),” the staff further explained. Ahhh… And hung on the walls (near the entrance) were extracted pages from the Michelin Guide. Evidence? Keke.

Do I recommend Kappo Shunsui? A big yes from me!

KAPPO SHUNSUI 割烹 旬水
5 Koek Road, Cuppage Plaza, #04-02, Singapore
6732 0192, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Tue – Thur, Sun : 18:00 – 01:00
Ambience: 7
Fri – Sat : 18:00 – 02:00
Value: 8
Service: 8
* Closed on Mon

Dinner @ Kamoshita

June 15, 2017 in Japanese by thywhaleliciousfay

One can say I was trying to find and try more oden places in Singapore. Thus the visit to Kamoshita. In fact, I’ve gone back twice. During my first visit, my friend and I ordered the omakase course which was frankly a let down. But I decided to head back despite the disappointment because the dishes ordered by the other customers (from the a-la carte menu) looked really good. We couldn’t order additional dishes then because we were required to order the same priced omakase course. Ie, We couldn’t order a $60 and a $100 omakase course each. Neither could I order the omakase course while my friend go a-la carte. So yes, we were too full during our first visit to order anything more.

Reservation for both dinners were made over the phone. And Kamoshita must have a database of customers’ information because they were able to mention my name after obtaining my contact number when I called the second time to make reservation. Nice.

As requested, we were given counter seats. Yeah! And from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5), my friend and I ordered:-

1) Omakase course, $60 comprised of:-

(A) Starter (above) – Boiled edamame.

(B) 3 kinds of appetizer (above)


(C) Bagna cauda (above) – Assortment of vegetables served with dipping sauce.

(D) Marinated seafood (above) – Sweet soy sauce soaked tuna with ikura.

(E) 3 kinds of Japanese flavour cheese (above) – Cream cheese soaked in miso, crab butter cheese cracker and smoked radish stuffed with cream cheese.



  

(F) 3 kinds of premium oden (above) – Prawn cake, tomato and half boiled egg.


(G) Fried dish (above)


(H) Cold inaniwa udon (above)

2) Avocado, $6 (above) – It’s my first to see avocado on oden menu. I didn’t even realise it was on the menu until the staff prepared the dish for a group of customers. And I must say it was quite a sight to see 6 halved avocados floating in the pot. So when I returned on my second trip, I just had to order it. I thought it would taste weird, but it was surprisingly tasty.

3) Tofu, $5 (above)


4) Lettuce & Iberian pork belly, $7 (above)


5) Potato salad from oden potato, $8 (above) – Another dish that was ordered because of my first trip where a slightly drunk customer raved about how good the potato salad was to her friends as she placed order for it. So yes, I ordered it out of curiosity. And she was right. It’s really good. Drizzled with yoke, I loved the texture and the addition of sprouts and bacon. A must order.

6) Rice yeast marinated salmon, $12 (above)


7) Ham cutlet stuffed with blue cheese, $12 (above) – Give this a miss.

8) Iberian pork spare rib dressed with spicy sauce, $12 (above) – This was really good. The meat was so tender that we easily removed it from the bone. My friend especially liked the sauce.

9) Kabayaki-grilled eel, $39 (above) – Wouldn’t recommend this too. This was average. Save the stomach space for other dishes.

10) Marinated salmon & sake lees soup, $15 (above)


  

11) Sea urchin, ikura & tuna masu bowl, $28 (above)

12) Inaniwa udon with oden soup, $8 (above)

  

13) Clay pot steamed rice with sea bream, $29 (above) – It’s written on menu that this would take 40 to 50 minutes. Thus, one should order this right at the start of the meal. And we liked this. We were also surprised at the nice packaging when we requested to pack our unfinished rice.

14) Green tea & red bean shave ice, $8 (above)

15) Home made cream pudding, $8 (above)

Would I recommend Kamoshita? I would. Honestly, there ain’t many Japanese restaurants that focus solely on oden in Singapore. So I was glad Kamoshita is one such restaurant. And I am even more glad that they served delectable dishes. And I am not referring to just the oden items. But yes… Just refrain from ordering the omakase course. Though the $89 and $100 omakase courses may be better than our $60′s.

In fact, if one is going to visit Kamoshita for dinner, do also order their miso grilled Iberian pork collar ($22). My friend and I didn’t get to try this. But the benefit of sitting at the counter was that we got to watch the staff preparing other customers’ dishes. And the smell of the grilled pork collar was divine. It’s a pity my friend and I were again too full to order and try it for ourselves.

KAMOSHITA
5 Neil Road, Singapore
6221 3950, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Sun : 18:00 – 00:00
Ambience: 7
Value: 8
Service: 7