Dinner @ Kaiseki Yoshiyuki

August 8, 2014 in Japanese by thywhaleliciousfay

It being my birthday week (yeah!), my friend decided we shall head to somewhere nice. And with a few options on hand, we decided to go with Yoshiyuki.

My friend likes the fact that chef Yoshiyuki Kashiwabara was a personal chef to ambassadors based in Singapore and San Francisco, and that he was also honoured as an Excellent Chef of Diplomatic Missions by the Japanese Foreign Service. It gave us much assurance that we will be in good hands. Keke.

Yoshiyuki does kaiseki, which is Japanese traditional multi-courses meal. Set menu of selected food is served on individual tray, with chef paying a lot of attention to presentation. We were told by the staff at Yoshiyuki that their food are light(er) on the taste palate.

For dinner, there’re 2 options. $228 or $288. We went with the latter which comprises of sakizuke, hassun, suimono, tsukuri, yakimono, onbachi, shiizakana, shokuji and mizugashi.

And with that, we started our dinner:-

1) Fig with sweet miso (above) – This is a first for me to have steamed fig. Slightly odd it may seem, but the sweetness of the fig was retained. I enjoyed biting into the soft flesh and into the crunchy seeds.

2) Sasa sushi, daitokuji-fu, hamo jelly, amago (above) – “Appetizer”, the staff went. And a variety of side dishes / small bites were presented on a tray; Eel in a cup of jelly, cooked hamo (eel), fish which was covered under a leaf (which I had to dissect its head before eating cause it somehow reminded me of a lizard. Yeps!), octopus, egg plant, flounder sushi wrapped with leaf. Everything about this dish was just so exquisite.

3) Baby corn (above) – We were told by head chef Yoshi Kashiwabara that the corn hair is edible too. And it’s surprising that while the corn was grilled in the same space as where we were seated, we did not leave the place reeking of smoke. But in all honesty, I wasn’t blown away by this.

4) Amadai in clear soup (above) – Served in a small lacquered and lidded bowl. To get the clear soup, we were told by sous chef Shota Kanko that it’s boiled twice. First with seaweed, second round with bonito flakes.

5) Leather jacket fish sashimi (above) – I enjoyed doing my own rolls. Radish and scallion were placed onto a slice of leather jacket fish before it’s rolled and dipped into the sauce (vinegar and soy sauce). Finally topped with some fish liver before it went into my mouth. Yum!

6) Kawahagi, kochi, maguro (above) – I always love my tuna belly. But for this, it’s the flounder with vinegar jelly that stole the lime light. Vinegar jelly? Doesn’t it just intrigue? I like how the jelly brought out the taste of the flounder. So good.

7) Kamasu yuan yaki (above) – Barracuda fish.

8) Yuba, uni, kegani (above) – Steamed bean curd with hairy crab (that’s at the bottom) and sea urchin. I could taste the freshness of the home-made tofu skin. So good!

9) Abalone, egg plant (above) – As we don’t take beef, this dish was replaced with abalone tempura and vegetables which include a huge egg plant (seasonal vegetable) placed at the bottom of the bowl. And going in line with Kyoto-styled kaiseki, the flavours were light. However, it’s a personal preference that I preferred my abalone to be more flavourful. Like braised abalone in sauce? Keke.

10) Ayu rice, miso soup, pickles (above) – While waiting for our clay pot to be served, we chatted a bit with the waitress and learnt that patrons are usually full by the time this dish was served. So most would have a bowl before having the remaining made into rice balls which they could take away. She joked that the chef’s eyes would light up if he does not need to make these since the rice balls are made when the rice is hot. So although I was interested to know how the rice ball would look like, my friend and I are bottomless pits. We managed to finish the entire clay pot (2 bowls worth of rice for each) and ayu (sweet fish).

11) Octopus sashimi (above) – Having ordered our second bottle of sake and not being full yet (oh yes, I am not lying when I say we are bottomless pits), we decided to ordered 2 more dishes. And it’s pretty exciting to see head chef Yoshi Kashiwabara and sous chef Shota Kanko go into a serious discussion when we told them to surprise us. Ha. And we were served octopus sashimi, done in two ways. First, fresh; Slightly boiled before sous chef Shota Kanko immersed the tentacles into cold water. Second, with soy sauce. Tako was fresh and chewy. Yum.

12) Tempura (above) – This was so good! Especially the sea eel tempura. Imagine biting through crisp thin tempura (skin) into fresh and warm meat which taste is light and delicate. So glad we ordered these additional dishes.

13) Fruits (above) – And because my friend informed that it was my birthday when he made reservation, we were presented with a fruit platter which had a candle stuck on the ice cream. Keke. No birthday song though. I quickly made a wish and blew out the candle. Ha. The ice cream is slightly unique, being vanilla with salt.

14) Japanese sweets (above) – Home made mocha with red bean.

15) Matcha (above) – Matcha drink.

We were very pleased with our dining experience. We topped up $40 per person for the additional dishes.

Service wise, it was impeccable. When our pot was running low on sake, the waitress or chef will promptly top it up (from our sake bottle, of course). And when I stood up to head to the restroom (unannounced), the waitress immediately came after me to direct me to their toilet (I was unaware they had their own toilets. Most restaurants will redirect customers to the shopping mall’s). And when I said ‘they direct us to the toilet’, it’s really to the cubicle door. In fact, when I left for the toilet again (which means I already knew my way), the waitress still came forth and escorted me. And yes, from the toilet entrance to my seat. But please don’t be mistaken that the wonderful service extended was only for my toilet trips. (^^lll) Ha.

Communication is not a problem as most of them have a good grasp of English. In fact, their English was pretty good. So much so that I mistaken one of Japanese waitresses to be a local. Oops. But what I did notice is that because a fair number of dishes are cooked in the kitchen, the chefs are not always standing at the counter. I guess it did not helped that there were only 2 groups dining that night.

So yes, I highly recommend Kaiseki Yoshiyuki for an authentic Kyoto-styled kaiseki experience. But do set aside at least 1.5 hours for a comfortable meal.

583 Orchard Road, Forum The Shopping Mall, #B1-39, Singapore
6235 1088, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Mon – Sat : 12:00 – 13:30 (Lunch Seating)
Ambience: 7
Mon – Sat : 19:00 – 21:30 (Dinner Seating)
Value: 7
Service: 8
* Closed on Sun