Kaiseki Dinner @ Beppu Seikai 別府 潮騒の宿 晴海 on 27Jan2015

sakizuke先附

sakizuke先附

after visiting beppu’s hell umi-jogoku海地獄, we collected our bags at beppu ski & took a taxi to our ryokan beppu saikei 別府 潮騒の宿 晴海.

after a good rest we went to the onsen before going for dinner kaiseki.

kaiseki menu

kaiseki menu

seikai is a bit modern type, with high rise hotel rooms & english menu.

sake

sake

we ordered sake (chargeable).

poor porridge starter

poor porridge starter

the porridge started was a spoiler, quite tasteless & unnecessary, added nothing to the experience & made us worry about the quality of the kaiseki.

pressed tamago

pressed tamago

ikura+radish etc

ikura+radish etc

the sakezuki (先附) was ok – pressed tamago (egg), some side dishes. i would say quite average.

sashimi moriawase

sashimi moriawase

sashimi moriawase

sashimi moriawase

the sashimi moriawase looked ok but was actually very poor. i couldn’t decide if this sashimi was worse than the 1st night at Gettoan on 25.1.2015. everything was very tough. was it bad cut or the chef did not know how to cut? i am clueless.

aji sashimi 5000yen+8%

aji sashimi 5000yen+8%

aji sashimi 5000yen+8%

aji sashimi 5000yen+8%

we ordered an additional aji sashimi at 5000yen+8%.

i could not understand why the aji was also very tough. it was a live fish, something must really be wrong either with the fish here in kyushu (but we had excellent sashimi from the supermarket at fukuoka later) or with the way it was cut. aji should be very sweet (it was ok sweet not too bad) & not tough. for me, taka’s supermarket aji at 1/3 the price or less, is better than this.

deep-fried aji fish head

deep-fried aji fish head

the deep-fried aji fish head was not nice too.

asari chawanmushi

asari chawanmushi

asari chawanmushi

asari chawanmushi

they had asari (littleneck clams or la la) chawanmushi. it was pretty ok. 🙂

asari chawanmushi

asari chawanmushi

some radish i think in the chawanmushi.

mayo prawn side dish

mayo prawn side dish

there was a mayo prawn dish, nothing much there.

sushi with ginger flower

sushi with ginger flower

a sushi with pickled ginger flower (which i like).

yuba side dish

yuba side dish

a yuba side dish. this was quite good.^^

bungo wagyu 丰后和牛 with soy bean shabu

bungo wagyu 丰后和牛 with soy bean shabu

bungo wagyu 丰后和牛

bungo wagyu 丰后和牛

there was an interesting soya bean shabu shabu with the local bungo wagyu 丰后和牛. this was very good. but by comparison the 2nd night kaiseki at Gettoan on 26.1.2015, with lots more beef & other shabu items, was much better.

gohan set with pickles

gohan set with pickles

gohan set with pickles

gohan set with pickles

the usual gohan (rice) with pickles.

noodles in clear broth

noodles in clear broth

this time there was cold noodles in a clear soup. pretty ok.

strawberries + pineapples

strawberries + pineapples

& there was fruits & jelly for dessert.

i guess this kaiseki would be above average, but nothing special & kind of below expectation for the ryokan price. for me, for both Gettoan & Seikai, for the ryokan price they were charging, every kaiseki dinner should be at a standard equivalent to Gettoan’s second night kaiseki! 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Visiting Beppu’s Hells Umi-jogoku 海地獄 on 27Jan2015

Umi-Jigoku Beppu hells valley

Umi-Jigoku Beppu hells valley

after another excellent breakfast at Gettoan, we took the free car transfer from ryokan to yufuin ekimae bus centre & took the bus to beppu on 27.1.2015. journey is 1 hr & cost 900yen pax. 🙂

we arrived before 11am & deposited our luggage at the station lockers. we were deciding what to do in the meantime, as check-in time at beppu seikai 別府 潮騒の宿 晴海 is 3pm.

we did not want to go to the takasaki monkey park, also not particularly interested to see the unitamago aquarium, so we settled on going to hells (jigoku).^^

we took bus no9 from JR beppu station to kannawa. cost about 200yen & took 15mins. here you can walk to the 6 jigoku within the kannawa district.

we picked the umi-jogoku海地獄, which is the more beautiful with spacious gardens. entrance was 400yen pax or 2100yen for all 6 jigokus. we paid 400yen.

Umi-Jigoku Beppu hells valley

Umi-Jigoku Beppu hells valley

Umi-Jigoku Beppu hells valley

Umi-Jigoku Beppu hells valley

Umi-Jigoku Beppu hells valley

Umi-Jigoku Beppu hells valley

nice huge gardens & open space.^^

Umi-Jigoku Beppu hells valley

Umi-Jigoku Beppu hells valley

Umi-Jigoku Beppu hells valley

Umi-Jigoku Beppu hells valley

Umi-Jigoku Beppu hells valley

Umi-Jigoku Beppu hells valley

Umi-Jigoku Beppu hells valley

Umi-Jigoku Beppu hells valley

Umi-Jigoku Beppu hells valley

Umi-Jigoku Beppu hells valley

Umi-Jigoku Beppu hells valley

Umi-Jigoku Beppu hells valley

boiling bubbling onsen 92degC! definitely not suitable for sauna.

Umi-Jigoku Beppu hells valley

Umi-Jigoku Beppu hells valley

children on water lilies Umi-Jigoku Beppu

children on water lilies Umi-Jigoku Beppu

children on water lilies Umi-Jigoku Beppu

children on water lilies Umi-Jigoku Beppu

this not the time to see the giant water lilies.

greenhouse - Umi-Jigoku Beppu16

greenhouse – Umi-Jigoku Beppu16

greenhouse - Umi-Jigoku Beppu16

greenhouse – Umi-Jigoku Beppu16

greenhouse - Umi-Jigoku Beppu16

greenhouse – Umi-Jigoku Beppu16

there is the greenhouse.

Umi-Jigoku Beppu hells valley

Umi-Jigoku Beppu hells valley

Umi-Jigoku Beppu hells valley

Umi-Jigoku Beppu hells valley

another boiling reddish onset pool.

Umi-Jigoku Beppu hells valley

Umi-Jigoku Beppu hells valley

after this, we looked at the neighbouring yama jigoku. japan-guide description “The “mountain hell” features small ponds of steaming hot water and a run-down zoo with large animals in small cages”.

we decided we had enough of hells. wife read about jigoku mushi 地獄釜, using the onset water for to cook steamed dishes, so we walked over to such a eating place & gave it a try. i must say nothing great though!

c.h.e.f andy

Nice Ryokan Stay @ Gettoan Ryokan月灯庵 Yufuin汤布院 Kyushu 九州 25-27Feb2015

Gettoan ryokan bridge

Gettoan ryokan bridge

except for the appalling kaiseki dinner on 25.1.2015, which was a complete disaster & a blot on an otherwise excellent stay, we were quite happy with the ryokan

we stayed at Gettoan ryokan from 25Jan to 27Jan2015. 🙂

ryokan is a bit secluded & way off from the main attractions like lake kinrinko 金麟湖, which is a 30minutes walk from yufuin eki (train station), along the shopping street yunotsubo.

there is also no walking trails near the ryokan.

we called the ryokan after the check-in time 3pm & they picked us up from yufuin eki, also the hotel provide transport to town (they dropped us directly at lake kinrinko the next day at our request & provided us each with an umbrella), but not the return pick-up.

macha & sweets at Gettoan ryokan room

macha & sweets at Gettoan ryokan room

yuzu sweets at Gettoan ryokan room

yuzu sweets at Gettoan ryokan room

the service was good ryokan standard.

we had a reception party, & we had welcome macha & sweets etc in the ryokan room.

connecting walkway ryokan living room to bedroom & onsen

connecting walkway ryokan living room to bedroom & onsen

ryokan attached onset

ryokan attached onsen

our room had an attached external onsen.

ryokan private yu汤

ryokan private yu汤

ryokan private yu汤

ryokan private yu汤

& the ryokan has the usual public & very nice private onsen.

free mochi at ryokan lounge

free mochi at ryokan lounge

free macha, coffee & mochi at ryokan lounge

free macha, coffee & mochi at ryokan lounge

there was also free coffee & tea at the lounge area.

on the second day 26.1.2015, we returned from lunch & lake kinrinko, in addition to the free coffee & lake which was always available, the service staff served us macha & mochi.^^ really enjoyed that.

woods at back of ryokan

woods at back of ryokan

brook at back of ryokan

brook at back of ryokan

brook at back of ryokan

brook at back of ryokan

ryokan dining rooms viewed from back

ryokan dining rooms viewed from back

brook at back of ryokan

brook at back of ryokan

brook at back of ryokan

brook at back of ryokan

brook at back of ryokan

brook at back of ryokan

brook at back of ryokan

brook at back of ryokan

the next morning, before having breakfast & checking out, we walked from the dining rooms area to a brook at the back just before the woods. very nice & tranquil environment.

c.h.e.f andy

A Tale of 2 Dinners Part 2 The Good Ending – A Marvellous Kaiseki Dinner @ Gettoan on 26Jan2015

excellent uni

excellent uni

after the excellent ryokan breakfast this morning, we now had cause to anticipate a nice kaiseki dinner on 26.1.2015.

kaiseki menu

kaiseki menu

this time we were not disappointed.

hence i had termed these 2 dinners on 25.1.2015 & 26.1.2015 “a tale of 2 dinners”

what a difference a menu change made.

see the sub-par dinner on 25.1.2015

with a good kaiseki dinner & breafast, Gettoan 月灯庵 did fully meet our expectations of a good ryokan.

umeshu梅酒

umeshu梅酒

for this evening, dinner started with umeshu梅酒.

excellent chawanmushi with egg & spring onions

excellent chawanmushi with egg & spring onions

excellent chawanmushi with egg & spring onions

excellent chawanmushi with egg & spring onions

the chawanmushi (茶碗蒸し) was outstanding. there was bits of minced ginger on top. the texture & flavours were exquisite. maybe i will try this at home.

superb braised wagyu & tendons

superb braised wagyu & tendons

superb braised wagyu & tendons

superb braised wagyu & tendons

superb braised wagyu & tendons

superb braised wagyu & tendons

the braised wagyu & tendons was just superb. texture was almost like gelatinous, had bite yet dissolving in the mouth, and nice mellow beefy flavours, mildly sweet. this was par excellence! ^^

sashimi moriawase

sashimi moriawase

grating own wasabi

grating own wasabi

ika

ika

fish sashimi

fish sashimi

we grated our own wasabi roots!

sashimi moriawase was nothing like last evening’s which was below those at sun with moon, or for that matter any supermarket basement sashimi picks in japan!

this time we had good serving each of uni, very sweet! ika was pretty good & the fish slices were very good too. the same lady server initially said it was swordfish, but when i mentioned it did not look remotely like kajiki, she corrected herself but we did not understand what fish it was actually. whatever, what counted was it’s good!

excellent anago tempura

excellent anago tempura

excellent anago tempura

excellent anago tempura

excellent anago tempura

excellent anago tempura

excellent anago tempura

excellent anago tempura

& we had an excellent tempura!

the 2 large pieces each of anago (sea or conger eel) was a large helping. the tempura batter was just great & the whole experience wonderful.^^

bungo wagyu 丰后和牛

bungo wagyu 丰后和牛

bungo wagyu 丰后和牛

bungo wagyu 丰后和牛

& we had a wonderful bungo wagyu 丰后和牛 shabu shabu. there were 10 large thick slices of wagyu for 2 pax, beef was well marbled and flavourful, very good indeed!

shabu shabu

shabu shabu

noodles, mushrooms, veg

noodles, mushrooms, veg

we had the usual noodles, mushrooms, vegetables.

bungo wagyu 丰后和牛

bungo wagyu 丰后和牛

bungo wagyu 丰后和牛

bungo wagyu 丰后和牛

i can have this again! 🙂

if we were to make a comparison with mikuni’s excellent kagoshima wagyu sukiyaki konabe, certainly what we have at Gettoan was much more marbled & better beef quality. in terms of satisfaction, mikuni’s was almost as good & a good approximation to this.

pickles

pickles

we had pickles with the gohan (rice).

cake dessert

cake dessert

dessert was ok. we did not have much interest for the butter cake. it maybe that gettoan indeed is trying to be fusion, with the foie gras tofu last evening (tonight’s chawanmushi would beat tat hands down), and these cake stuff, which some restaurants in Singapore like kuriya etc does too.

anyway, we were immensely satisfied with the kaiseki dinner this second night. ^^

c.h.e.f andy

A Tale of 2 Dinners Part 1 – Disappointing Totally Below Par Kaiseki Dinner @ Gettoan on 25Jan2015

bungo wagyu ishiyaki 丰后和牛石烧

bungo wagyu ishiyaki 丰后和牛石烧

we were booked for 2 nights at Gettoan ryokan 月灯庵 at yufuin 汤布院. Gettoan ryokan & its kaiseki dinners had very good reviews, and we were expecting a very good dinner on the first evening we checked into the ryokan on 25.1.2015.

it turned out to be really disappointing. i would say this dinner was below just about every ryokan dinner i had in tohoku (we visited just before the tsunami, sadly cannot go back now), and way below (say) mikuni or hachi or kuriya in singapore.

i need to add here though that the japanese breakfast the next day was excellent (& the day after too) & the shabu shabu kaiseki on our second night 26.1.2015 was just exquisite, par excellence, so i term this a tale of 2 dinners. ^^

https://chefquak.com/2015/02/08/a-tale-of-2-dinners-part-2-the-good-ending-a-marvellous-kaiseki-dinner-gettoan-on-26jan2015/

https://chefquak.com/2015/02/08/wonderful-breakfast-a-redemption-gettoan-ryokan-yufuin-kyushu-on-26-1-2015/

https://chefquak.com/2015/02/08/another-wonderful-breakfast-to-savour-gettoan-ryokan-月灯庵-yufuin汤布院-kyushu-九州-on-27jan2015/

kaiseki menu

kaiseki menu

sensai

sensai

sensai-seaweed wrapped mentaiko

sensai-seaweed wrapped minced salmon?

sensai - fish roes

sensai – fish roes

the sensai was ok, but really unexciting for this class of ryokan (i.e. very expensive ryokan). the mini kaiseki lunch at kuriya had far better sensai (前菜). and the omakase lunch at GOTO had just as good sakizuke(先附).

tofu dish with foie gras

tofu dish with foie gras

the foie gras flavoured tofu dish was a nice dish, but really average by japanese kaiseki standards, non descript really.

sashimi moriawase

sashimi moriawase

sashimi moriawase

sashimi moriawase

the sashimi moriawase (kampachi, tai maybe?? & hirame) was an immense let down, completely substandard. for me, even sun with moon sashimi is much better standard than this! sashimi was not sweet & was tough – a really low grade cut!

yuba pot

yuba pot

there was a egg, yuba pot with veg. i would give same assessment as the foie gras tofu…underwhelming, just like the entire dinner.

clear soup with fish

clear soup with fish

clear soup with fish

clear soup with fish

the clear soup came with a nice tasty piece of fish, maybe snapper? anyway for this dish alone, maybe one could say “normal service resumes??” but this was a non-substantial by-the-way dish in a kaiseki.

bungo wagyu ishiyaki 丰后和牛石烧

bungo wagyu ishiyaki 丰后和牛石烧

bungo wagyu ishiyaki 丰后和牛石烧

bungo wagyu ishiyaki 丰后和牛石烧

of course the bungo wagyu ishiyaki 丰后和牛石烧 was just excellent. like my wife said, ishiyaki is self service & they did gave a very good beef cut. in a good or at least par-for-the-course kaiseki, one expects to taste good cooking, some creativity & great matching of taste. those were non existent in this dinner!

ochazuke

ochazuke (お茶漬け)

ochazuke

ochazuke (お茶漬け)

ochazuke

ochazuke (お茶漬け)

ochazuke

ochazuke (お茶漬け)

other than the bungo wagyu ishiyaki 丰后和牛石烧, the ochazuke (お茶漬け) was the only other dish throughout the dinner that we consider of good standards. the kampachi cut was good & could be taken as sashimi or slightly poached with the rice. the yuzu miso paste was great & the dashi 上汤was just excellent! a very good dish.

deseert

deseert

the dessert was just as bad. any dessert in sun with moon would be better!

one comment on the service. the overall service of the ryokan was top notch as expected of any ryokans of this standard. we were assigned a server who spoke very good english & we were kind of expecting top level service.

but the service was really superficial! the server tried to get us to order red wine instead of sake claiming that the dishes suited wine better. i would say none of the dishes qualified at all as western or fusion & why would one take red or white wine instead of sake for a japanese dinner, they were just not very good japanese food! & it was quite blatant way to get us to spend more money. this the first & only time we encountered that in japan. even in Singapore these days, server will advise you NOT to order things you don’t need/want!

and worse, after the beef before ochazuke she asked us whether we wanted tea. we asked for ocha & was later billed 950yen! of course it was not about the money. she did not tell us it was chargeable, and the way she asked it was evident that she did not intend to reveal it was chargeable. immediately after the ochazuke, we were served another ocha, this one free. does that make any sense??

for me it was a lowly tactic suited for yesteryears, like london chinatown in the 1970s, not a top class ryokan in Japan, or for that matter any ordinary restaurants in Singapore.

fortunately for us, the ryokan redeemed itself the next few meals. we were asked again the next dinner if we wanted tea by the same server, again w/o telling us it was chargeable! some bad habits just do not go away!

c.h.e.f andy

Great Wagyu Yakiniku @ Yufuin Wasaku Kyushu Trip on 25jan2015

kuroge wagyu

kuroge wagyu

this the start of our short kyushu vacation. today my wife & i arrived yufuin 汤布院 oita prefecture about noon time, taking the 1hr 40mins highway bus from fukuoka airport.

check-in at our yufuin ryokan Gettoan was not until 3pm, so we planned to take the 30minutes walk from yufuin eki (train station), along the shopping street yunotsubo to lake kinrinko 金麟湖.

we had googled about yakiniku restaurants for lunch, and found wasaku, which was just few minutes walk from yufuin eki along the way to lake kinrinko.

yufuin wasaku yakiniku

yufuin wasaku yakiniku

restaurant was empty & we were the only lunch customer throughout.

it was a nice setting on the usual tatami & with very powerful exhaust suction. 🙂

kuroge wagyu

kuroge wagyu

kuroge wagyu + chicken

kuroge wagyu + chicken

the kuroge wagyu 黑毛和牛 karubi set (i think 1640yen+8%tax) was very good. the wagyu + chicken set was 1760yen+8%.

chicken seems very popular in many parts of japan for both shabu shabu & yakiniku, not sure why. we found it tough & nothing special. the plain wagyu set was better as it had  7 pieces whereas the combo set had 4 or maybe 5pieces.

salad & sauce dip

salad & sauce dip

wagyu yakiniku set

wagyu yakiniku set

the set came with the usual salad, gohan with pickles, miso soup, & sauce dip for the yakiniku.

kuroge wagyu

kuroge wagyu

we thoroughly enjoyed this first restaurant meal on this kyushu trip (had ramen at fukuoka airport on arrival earlier while waiting for our bus to yufuin). there was no opportunity though to go back. we had kaiseki dinners & breakfasts as part of our 2-day ryokan stay at Gettoan, and we had a nice steak lunch at lamp sha 1561 kawakami yufuincho next to lake kinrinko the next day. ^^

the 2 sets came to about 3672yen or S$36++, a very good deal compared with wagyu yakiniku in Singapore, or even just australian or NZ beef cuts.

c.h.e.f andy