Teppanyaki Course Lunch @ Gozanbo Hotel Granvia Kyoto Station on 18May2013

teppan Japanese beef (国产牛) tenderloin

teppan Japanese beef (国产牛) tenderloin

Gozanbo 五山望 @ HOTEL GRANVIA KYOTO remains my best non-kaiseki teppanyaki course lunch restaurant in Japan since we first had our teppan lunch there in 2008 while staying at Granvia. 🙂

The view is excellent of course looking out over Kyoto Tower & cityscape and at the surrounding mountains. the service is always impeccable & the courses & plating (like the creamy soup, appetizer & teppan fish dishes) have good european influence. the teppan beef of course is totally great Japanese taste. 🙂

every time we visited Kyoto I made sure we had a lunch at Gozanbo. my wife & daughter did recently & I had lunch there with my sister yesterday. 🙂 we had the 400o yen & 6000 yen set.

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I just loved the garlic. really “shiok”! I tried it at home quite successfully once with butter & sea salt. I think I am going to do this for my friends next dinner, together with wagyu steak. 🙂 always like their bread roll (like a baguette) toasted on the teppan.

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our starter was a tofu dish with wasabi & some sauce – nice!

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the 6000 yen set came with poached anago (conger eel) topped with an “ice cream”of blue cheese. I love blue cheese! this was pretty & taste was good, plating was like any French restaurant – so looked nice tasted good. but I not sure about this – think the usual grilled sushi or sashimi anago would be much better taste experience. 🙂

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the 4000 yen set came with a seabass sashimi with some sauce & leek garnishing. this was very nice – maybe I just like sashimi FULLSTOP!

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we both had a creamy white bean soup with tomato foam (this tasted really good!) and a nice refreshing yasai(野菜) salad.

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the 4000 yen set came with a teppan tai (sea bream)…the young chef did this really well – the fish, the skin & the french beans. 🙂

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the 6000 yen set came with a teppan prawn & asparagus & topped with an onsen egg – very much like modern european fine dining. the egg added a great combination of texture to a very tasty dish! 🙂

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here you see the young chef at work on our teppan Japanese beef. the head chef Doi-san whom we knew was away on home vacation, but anyway he made arrangements for our prior lunch booking. 🙂

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teppan kuroge wagyu 黑毛和牛

according to the menu, the 4000 yen set came with 80g  japanese beef tenderloin (国产牛) and the 6000 yen set had specially selected 和牛 (which should be kuroge 黑毛和牛) but a smaller 60g portion; BUT translation had always been notorious! the smaller beef from the 6000 yen set did not taste anything like kuroge wagyu. it was indeed more tender but the larger beef from the 4000 yen set seemed more marbled and tasty!

whatever – both were good but considering the price 6000 yen vs 4000 yen and the quality of the end result, I would say the 4000 yen was extremely good value (previously this was priced at 3500 yen however that was the time when the yen was 100yen to S$1.6 to S$1.7, but it is 100 yen to S$1.235 now!).

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the chef served us both with kamameshi (釜飯) instead of plain rice for the 4000 yen set. I was never quite a fan of this. it did come with 4 tasty pieces of bonito and was quite nice really. 🙂

cake & sorbet dessert

cake & sorbet dessert

we had a nice cake & sorbet for dessert and ended lunch with an all satisfying brewed coffee (good!). usually we would adjourn to an area for after-meal coffee (remember Gozanbo offers great views of Kyoto city!) but this time they said it was full. when I paid the bill I saw that the dessert area was in fact completely empty so perhaps they did not want to open up the section – fair enough I guess! if they closed the section, they need not open it just for me.

c.h.e.f andy

Chinese Fine Dining Set @ Xin Cuisine on 31Mar2013

chicken & mushrooms in eggskin dumpling in pumpkin soup

chicken & mushrooms in egg skin dumpling in pumpkin soup

I had not tried Xin Cuisine, despite it being included in Amex Palate dining privilege for a while already. and though I did have intention to try out the food here using palate discounts, it was ANZ card marketing that got me to ask about this lobster & abalone 1 for 1 menu. We were still not sure though, as you could not really tell by menu alone the quality of cooking, so when we got ourselves seated I studied the ala carte menu a little in addition to the the promotion set menu below (which as it turned out payment could be made by any credit card). 🙂

Xin Cuisine Lobster & Abalone Set

We had always felt that Majestic offered the best Chinese fine dining set, and others like Tunglok could not compare on a price vs quality of ingredients & quality of cooking basis though it might be a bit more debatable when comparing fine dining over the whole ala carte menu & ambience etc. For us though since quality of cooking pipped the other considerations, we had more confidence that a dish in Majestic would turn up tasty c/w another place (and of course as justified by the price).

On this occasion, we decided on the set menu, and it was a very good decision! 🙂

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We started with a duo appetizer. There was a roast duck on a pan seared foie gras & cucumber (seems that Xin is famous for their suckling pig with foie gras), & a small saucer of thick spicy jellyfish. Both were very nice. The roast duck felt like a sous vide item, very tender & totally consistent. In terms of fine dining, it was no less fine than western fine dining.

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Next was chicken & mushrooms in a egg skin dumpling in pumpkin soup. This was very, very, very good. It was such a beauty to look at, and the soup was so very, very tasty, as good as Majestic’s 黄焖鱼翅 which was a lot better than Tunglok’s version. And the dumpling was so delicate to behold & so tasty to eat. Very few western fine dining restaurants here offered something this fine!

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5-head abalone (about 2in) on bed of spinach with sea cucumber

The next item was the 5-heads abalone on a bed of spinach with sea cucumber in brown sauce (5-heads mean the size is 5 abalones to 1 kati though I am clueless whether it is the HK old kati=600g or the China kati=500g. In China it is now 1斤10 两 & 1 两= 50g)。 This was as good as Chinese braised abalones went in terms of 口感 bite/texture  & taste.

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and there was the 1/2 lobster, done with a very light cheese gratin. The lobster was smaller (about 350g). My wife preferred the 上汤焗 style so cheese lobster not her favourite but I must say the taste was good & this was really very nicely done. This was a good illustration of quality of cooking – Chao Yue Xuan for example offered a larger 1/2 lobster in a good value set which we had recently, but the quality of cooking & presentation made a  huge difference between fine dining and not so fine dining. 🙂

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and then we had the egg fried rice & spicy pork & this very plain fried rice was very very good – such crisp long grains & so fragrant it was as good as Imperial Treasure’s crab meat fried rice with dried scallops & egg white which was our perennial favourite – & so both of us who avoided carbo mostly had to evoke our “worthwhile carbo” philosophy and finished up all the rice. The spicy pork collar was very nice too.

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snow lotus in almond cream

For dessert,we had the snow lotus in almond cream. Both of us were not very “dessert persons”, and cream 糊 was not my favourite & very less so for my wife. This though was only very slightly sweet & extremely smooth which was what defined a good 糊, be it almond (杏仁) or walnut (核桃) or combined (鸳鸯). I don’t remember eating snow lotus before – thought it was hasma but it wasn’t, texture was good. For us I guess it was an ok above average dessert but it was “fine” alright in terms of quality. 🙂

P.S. – see here for Restaurant Promotions update.

c.h.e.f andy