Lunch @ Ki-Sho [Revisit]

March 17, 2018 in Japanese by thywhaleliciousfay

After a re-visit to Saint Pierre, I decided to re-visit Ki-Sho next. And my string of re-visits should be surprising since it’s known (by now that) I prefer checking out new eateries. Just saying. Keke. But I guess one can say I was curious about Ki-sho’s lunch menu. And because Ki-sho only does lunch service on weekdays, I only managed to drop by when I applied leave to extend the long (Christmas) weekend longer. Haha.

I arrived at the restaurant punctually for my 1pm reservation. And from the lunch menu, I ordered:-

1) Taihaku, $250 comprised of:-

(A) Dish #1 (above) – Seaweed with ark shell, scallop and vegetables.

(B) Dish #2 (above, left) – Yellow tail (buri).

(C) Dish #3 (above) – Crab, tofu, sea urchin, mushroom, lotus root and salmon roe (ikura) with dashi vinegar jelly.

(D) Dish #4 (above) – Tilefish (amadai) with its scales fried to crisp and battered baby yam from Kyoto served in yuzu-plum sauce.


(E) Dish #5 (above) – It’s stated on the menu that the $250 course includes 8 pieces of nigiri sushi, 1 aburi otoro sushi and 1 aburi hida beef sushi. Mine had a slight variation since I don’t eat beef. For my 8 pieces, I was served lean tuna (akami), Spanish macakarel, striped jack (shima aji), spotted prawn (botan ebi), medium fatty tuna (chutoro), premium fatty tuna (otoro), charcoal-grilled (aburi) black throat sea perch (nodoguro) and sea urchin. As for the beef, it was replaced with tuna-yolk-urchin which I honestly enjoyed very much. However, it was disappointing that while I was seated at the correct half of the counter where head chef Kazuhiro Hamamoto stood, my sushi was made by chef Tohru san instead. I wasn’t aware there was more than 1 chef in-charge of the food, especially sushi making, since there was only chef Hamamoto san when I previously came for dinner.

(F) Dish #6 (above) – Rice bowl of chopped spotted prawn (botan ebi), tuna, salmon roe and sea urchin.

(G) Dish #7 (above) – Soup with sesame-soy tofu.


(H) Dish #8 (above) – Warabi mochi, matcha chocolate, wafer with ice cream within and musk melon.

Was I happy with my lunch at Ki-sho? Well… It was a good meal. But I ain’t going to lie. I arrived with the expectation that I would be served by chef Hamamoto as with my previous meal at Ki-Sho. So I was disappointed when I wasn’t. I guess I need to be very specific in my future reservations.

And because I was sitting beside a group who went for the $450 omakase, I left the restaurant regretting having not opted for the more expensive course. My neighbours were served precious ingredients like 1-week aged wild caught baby tuna (meiji) and wild caught ‘lost bonito’ (mayoi katsuo). Of course, one wouldn’t know what seasonal ingredients the restaurant have for the day. But ah… I couldn’t help but feel it was such a waste. It’s not everyday that one get to eat such rare delicacy even if one goes for the $450 omakase. Sob.

29 Scotts Road, Singapore
6733 5251, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Mon – Sat : 12:00 – 14:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Mon – Sat : 18:30 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 7
Service: 7
* Closed on Sun

Dinner @ Kitcho 吉兆割烹壽司 (Taipei, Taiwan)

February 26, 2018 in Japanese by thywhaleliciousfay

Common phrases that I get from my foodie friends include “You must eat seafood in Taiwan” and “Taiwan is the next best place to eat sushi after Japan.”

So with that, I started my hunt for a sushi restaurant to dine at in Taiwan. But without the luxury of time to research, I decided to go with what was trending on my instagram feed. Yes, Kitcho. And it was a good thing Kitcho could accept my reservation request through their Facebook page.

Two days prior to my dinner, I received a whatsapp text to re-confirm my reservation.

Arriving punctually at 8.30pm, I occupied the last empty seat at the counter. With no (physical) menu, the staff (verbally) informed me of the menu choices; NT3000 and NT3500 courses, or omakase which ranges from NT4000 to NT7000. The staff continued to explain the exact amount for omakase will only be known at end of the meal.

I did a quick conversion (in my mind) and went with omakase cause it really wasn’t too expensive (compared to Singapore’s dinner omakase). And after stating my dietary restrict (no beef), I started my omakase dinner with:-

1) Dish #1 (above) – Gingko nuts.

2) Dish #2 (above) – Flatfish (鰈魚).

3) Dish #3 (above) – Geoduck clam (mirugai).

4) Dish #4 (above) – Striped jack (shima-aji).

5) Dish #5 (above) – Japanese spotted prawn (botan-ebi).

6) Dish #6 (above) – Hairy crab topped with caviar.

7) Dish #7 (above) – Red sea urchin (aka uni) from Kyushu. I wanted to ask chef the reason for serving the sea urchin on wood instead of plate since the wood didn’t serve as a spoon, but my poor grasp of Chinese held me back.

8) Dish #8 (above) – Rock fish.

9) Dish #9 (above) – Hand-roll with minced tuna.


10) Dish #10 (above) – Sushi assortment of 愛魚女, big-eye snapper (kinmedai), baby snapper topped with chicken egg which was prepared with vinegar and sugar, and flounder (hirame).

11) Dish #11 (above) – Abalone served with sauce made with its liver.


12) Dish #12 (above) – Continued sushi assortment of lean tuna (akami), arctic surf clam (hokkigai), fin of flatfish (鰈魚的鰭邊), gizzard shad (kohada), premium tuna belly (otoro), sea urchin and egg omelette (tamago).

13) Dish #13 (above) – Chef asked if I was full and I shook my head. So he made me a special dish of caviar, minced tuna sandwiched between wafers. Wished he used something else besides wafers since I don’t like how it stick to the lips. Ha. But that aside, this was such a treat!

14) Dish #14 (above) – Fish tempura.

15) Dish #15 (above) – Clam soup.

16) Dish #16 (above) – Fruits and pumpkin pudding.

My omakase meal came up to NT6600. I reckon the special (item 13) jacked up the cost by quite a bit. So was I happy with my dining experience at Kitcho? Well… I wouldn’t say I was unhappy, but neither would I say I was extremely happy. It was a mediocre experience.

First being my poor grasp of Chinese. And that’s in no way the restaurant’s fault, of course. I had much difficulty understanding the chef. So that probably robbed me (much) of the full pleasure in knowing and enjoying what I ate. Secondly, I wasn’t exactly blown away by the food. Yes, it was good. But somehow, it wasn’t any different from my dining experience at other (equally reputable) sushi-ya. I admit, I’m stricter because it’s an overseas meal.

So if one is traveling to Taiwan, has only 1 slot for Japanese cuisine, and is looking for the sushi-ya, Kitcho may not make the cut. At least for me personally. It was a good dining experience, but not special. And knowing that I’ll be back to Taiwan again, I won’t stop hunting for that sushi-ya which impresses and is worth using our limited meal slots for when traveling in Taiwan.

That said, I am very appreciative that the staff responded to my messages when I enquired the names of (a few of) the fishes after dinner. Yes, I sent them my pictures via whatsapp. Keke.

KITCHO 吉兆割烹壽司
No. 48, Lane 181, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan
+886 2 2771 1020, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Sat : 12:00 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Mon – Sat : 18:00 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 7
Service: 8
* Closed on Sun

UPDATE: Restaurant was awarded 1 Michelin star by Michelin Guide Taipei 2018.

Dinner @ RyuGin 祥雲龍吟 (Taipei, Taiwan)

February 21, 2018 in Japanese by thywhaleliciousfay

After having just visited Taiwan in September 2017, it was an impromptu decision to return (so soon again) in January 2018. But no matter how impromptu a trip may be, I always have my list of restaurants-to-try ready. Keke. And for my second (short) trip to Taiwan, I decided to check out MUME and RyuGin (for restaurants which require reservation).

Reservation request was sent by dropping the restaurant a message on their ‘contact us’ page with 1.5 months advanced notice given. And within 2 working days, I received a response via email. To secure our reservation, we were required to pay a deposit where the amount was 50% of our selected menu. Noting that we had to order the same menu, I chose the 10-courses regular menu (NT6500) over the 7-courses short menu (NT4200).


RyuGin is located in the same building as RAW, but at level 5. Upon entering the restaurant, my Mom and I were brought to the (waiting) lounge where we were served tea before the staff led us to our table.

Having pre-selected our dinner menu, we started our 10-courses dinner (NT6500) with:-

1) Dish #1 (above) – Caviar, little silver fish, skin tofu, mizuna.


2) Dish #2 (above) – Eel, tomato. Tomato was super sweet, and eel was fresh and firm. I liked how the savory sauce pulled the entire ensemble together. I could easily do at least 5 of these. So, so good!

3) Dish #3 (above) – Clam, sweet potato leaves, lemon. I felt it was ingenious that fat, juicy clams were served on a crunchy deep fried sweet-potato-leaf-cracker cause it introduced different textures into the dish. Pretty good.

4) Dish #4 (above) – Threadfin, bamboo, burdock, snap beans.

5) Dish #5 (above) – Squid, sweet shrimp, fatty tuna, hairtail.

6) Dish #6 (above) – Tile fish, crown daisy, mullet roe.

7) Dish #7 (above) – Abalone, sea urchin.


8) Dish #8 (above) – Squab, rosemary. The skin was beautifully executed; Very thin and crispy, and most importantly, tastefully seasoned. And to keep the ‘smoked rosemary’ going, a small piece of charcoal was placed beneath the rib bone.

9) Dish #9 (above) – What’s supposed to be clam, green onion and tomato on koshi-hikari rice as mentioned on our menu, we were served tilefish tempura instead because of my Mom’s preference not to have shellfish (her skin may flare). And it was amazing! When the staff brought the pot to our table to mix it in front of us, we could hear the distinct crackling sound (of the fried tempura batter). It was music to our ears. I liked how I would bite into the crunchy bits of the batter and into the softer but firm texture of the fish. A must try!

10) Dish #10 (above) – Sanbokan.

11) Dish #11 (above) – Leicha powder, strawberry.

12) Dish #12, Complimentary (above) – A little something for us to bring back.

And because my Mom and I had (Taiwanese) desserts an hour before our dinner, we were feeling pretty stuffed by the time we reached our main course of rice. And one could tell how much we must have enjoyed the dish when my Mom couldn’t resist asking if the restaurant would pack our remaining rice. But for only 2 small bowls that we ate in the restaurant, it was disappointing that we were only given 1 small takeaway box cause I dined at other kaiseki restaurants and they would pack 1 portion for each diner.


Extra disappointing because the tilefish tempura was truly amazing and I wanted more. The batter remained crunchy even 24 hours later even thought it’s mixed into the rice.

I would recommend RyuGin if I do not need to take into consideration of the cost; Food was undeniably good but at a high price. I am fine with green tea being chargeable, but I was slightly put off to know that it was non-refillable. But! Their 十四代 sake-pairing menu sounded like a good deal. If I wasn’t paying for 2, I would most likely have gone for that.

No. 301, Le Qun 3rd Road, 5F, Taipei City, Taiwan
+886 2 8501 5808, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 9
Tues – Sun : 18:00 – 23:00
Ambience: 7
Value: 6
Service: 8
* Closed on Mon

UPDATE: Restaurant was awarded 2 Michelin stars by Michelin Guide Taipei 2018.