Excellent Omakase @ Hachi on 9Nov2013

excellent kobachi (小钵) -amuse bouche

excellent kobachi (小钵) -amuse bouche

we had an immensely satisfying omakase dinner for 3pax at hachi on 9.11.2013. 🙂

omakase is like a chef’s table. there is no menu & the chef dishes out the freshest ingredients of the day. generally it is done like a kaiseki course dinner. at hachi we were served a 12-course autumn-theme dinner. the restaurant asked whether we had diet restrictions, as was customary. we of course ate anything & everything..haha. 🙂

the first dish was an excellent kobachi like an amuse bouche. i can’t really remember what it was except for the slice of japanese persimon sticking out. 🙂

sensai (前菜) platter - tofu, ginko nuts, a momiji (maple) flour cake. chestnut etc

sensai (前菜) platter – tofu, ginko nuts, a momiji (maple) flour cake. chestnut etc

sashimi moriawase (shima aji, hirame, hotate, kampachi)

sashimi moriawase (shima aji, hirame, hotate, kampachi)

oyster

raw oyster

sensai (前菜) platter was lovely – tofu, ginko nuts, chestnut & a momiji (maple) flour cake etc befitting the occasion.

next was a dobin mushi (teapot soup) which was simple & nice. didn’t take a photo though!

the sashimi moriawase consisting of shima aji, hirame, hotate, kampachi was excellent, very fresh & sweet. 🙂

we also had a very large plump juicy oyster. very good indeed!

hamachi kama (fish cheeks)

hamachi kama (fish cheeks)

steamed crabmeat, tofu, seaweed, melon dish

simmered crabmeat, tofu, seaweed, melon dish

ohmi wagyu rare

ohmi wagyu rare

hokkaido tomatoes

hokkaido tomatoes

light noodles with tempura batter

light noodles with tempura batter

next up was the hamachi kama (fish cheeks). this was among the best for this evening. i don’t order kama at japanese restaurants because it is usually quite a large helping & not everyone likes it. for this evening though it was excellent, 1 of the best kama i had, very well marinated, sweet (not too sweet) & tasty. we all liked it. 🙂

next was a simmered dish of crabmeat, tofu, seaweed, melon etc, delicate & tasty.

following that we were served ohmi wagyu (ohmi is 1 of the top 3 kuroge wagyu after matsuzaka & kobe) – the highlight of the evening. it was very flavourful & a nice rare. after that we had hokkaido tomatoes. they were super, sweet & refreshing. these are now served in many restaurants in Hong Kong & Singapore & xiyan served them as a starter dish in their rather expensive course meals.

to round off the meal, we had, in place of the usual gohan set (rice & pickles), a light noodle with some tempura batter. it was very satisfying.  after that we had a nice macha ice cream. 🙂

the price of the omakase was S$118pax. it was very good in quality of cooking & ingredients & also quantity. it was certainly a much better deal c/w the S$138pax kaiseki at kuriya dining & the S$170pax kaiseki at keyaki. c/w mikuni at 50% FAR discounts and Andy’s kaiseki (in jest only la! haha), mikuni was still the better deal. still hachi was an excellent alternative for good japanese kaiseki. will certainly be back. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy

Restaurant Week $35nett Lunch @ Kumo Kaiseki Restaurant on 19Mar2013

Menu-Restaurant Week $35nett set lunch at Kumo Kaiseki Restaurant

Menu-Restaurant Week $35nett set lunch at Kumo Kaiseki Restaurant

A friend bought lunch today. We had great time chatting about the charity he was actively leading last 25years, travel & food.

As it was DiningCity Restaurant Week (18-24mar2013), I suggested the $35nett lunch set at Kumo Kaiseki Restaurant. There was just a little confusion as many restaurants were awarded DiningCity Star (and Kumo Kaiseki was 1 of them), and this meant they charged additional S$15 & S$20 respectively on top of the standardised S$25++ lunches & S$35++ dinners. Most if not all ‘Star’ restaurants would simply indicate lunches as S$40++ & dinners as S$55++ to avoid confusion but Kumo did not. So we called up to make sure that we would be paying S$35nett and NOT S$50++ & that was indeed the case (good to be certain than have wrong expectations and be disappointed..haha..). 🙂

I have stopped going for Restaurant Week these days as there is nothing much on offer. S$40 lunches & S$55 dinners at the ‘Star’ restaurants like Oso, Gaia, Absinthe etc are not cheap and also usually restrictive on the menu items especially mains c/w their daily lunches. Last year for example, UOB had very good 1 for 1 Young Chef Creation Menu in many restaurants and you get a 4-course S$68 1 for 1 menu at Gaia vs a S$40 3-course Restaurant Week menu at the same restaurant! Even at La Cicala Gastrobar (which has no Star), the usual S$25 set lunch menu is to me better than the same-priced Restaurant Week menu.

This Kumo S$35nett menu looks good though.

I had a kaiseki dinner only once at Kumo using a $50 Kitchen Language (which owns Kumo, Salta, Ochre, Saltwater cafe) voucher. Kumo’s food is good but not great for the price c/w say Hachi, and if you are not overly enameled with kaiseki presentation, I think Kuriya Dining’s monthly sets offer better value. For me, none of them can compare with Mikuni using the Feed@Raffles card with 50% discount for 2pax, so I usually frequent Mikuni, but it is good to have a change once a while.

The first course, tai (sea bream) sashimi topped with ikura (salmon roe), was truly delightful in all departments – taste, colour, presentation! the jelly  (can’t remember what it is) went really well with the tai sashimi. every item (broadbean, petals & all) was edible. This dish was very impressive even for a full course kaiseki! 🙂

tai sashimi topped with ikura - so pretty (every item edible!)

tai sashimi topped with ikura – so pretty (every item edible!)

The lotus & prawn dumpling were ok & tasty, nothing to wow about. the bonito soup was also ok with a nice after taste.

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lotus & prawn dumpling in bonito soup

The main course comprised a braised saga wagyu shank & some vegetable items in batter & the usual gohan set of rice, pickles & miso soup. This really was quite so-so, very average taste wise.  As a braised item, one could not tell much between wagyu (& Japanese wagyu at that!) & normal beef.

braised saga wagyu shank & yasai furai

braised saga wagyu shank & yasai furai

also done this way it is more commonly served as an appertiser item (eg Dozo serves a japanese braised beef as an appertiser item in their 6-course lunches which maybe tastes same or better), and is no comparison with the modern european braised lamb shanks served in many restaurants here.

braised saga wagyu shank in miso

braised saga wagyu shank in miso

The yasai (野菜) furai (not a tempura batter) was a good complement to the braised beef.

yasai furai

yasai furai

Well at S$35nett (S$30++ just for comparison though Kumo actually does not charge 10% service) for such a lunch, I guess there was little to complain about except for the parking costing S$10 at neighbouring Amara Hotel. 🙂

sakura mochi with Japanese strawberries

sakura mochi with Japanese strawberries

The dessert was a nice red bean mochi which I liked & 1/2 a strawberry.

Overall, it was a very pleasant meal and also nice way of keeping up with a friend.

c.h.e.f andy