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

Good Quality Lunch Kaiseki @ Hachi on 17Jan2014

kobachi (amuse bouche)

kobachi (amuse bouche)

had a good quality lunch omakase at hachi with my wife on 17.1.2014. see also the excellent dinner omakase on 9.11.2013. 🙂

omakase is like a chef’s table, no menu but usually follows the course preparations for kaiseki. the chef selects the “freshest” ingredients of the day, checks whether you have dietary restrictions & supposedly dishes out an excellent meal to you…well they usually do..

we ordered the S$68pax lunch omakase & the S$88pax ohmi wagyu omakase.

#1 we had a very good amuse bouche of tofu toped with ikura & yuzu jelly.

sensai platter

sensai platter

sashimi moriawase (shima aji, tai, hamachi)

sashimi moriawase (shima aji, tai, hamachi)

#2 next we had a sensai (前菜) dish = tofu, sweet black beans, tasty egg plant, some vegetables & nice barley miso.

#3 a sashimi platter of shim aji, tai & hamachi followed. they were sweet & fresh, but not comparable with the sashimi in the superb kuriya dining lunch kaiseki we had on 16.11.2013.

miso soup with mochi & chicken

miso soup with mochi & chicken

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tempura

tempura

gohan (rice) set

gohan (rice) set

my wife took the lunch omakase.

#4 a tasty miso flavourful & intense was served, with chicken & kochi.

#5 then came a large oyster sashimi (S$12 ala carte). this was similar to what we had for the dinner omakase & it was very good. 🙂

#6 next was tempura, good quality batter, and #7 the gohan set.

ohmi wagyu tataki

ohmi wagyu tataki

shabu ohmi wagyu

shabu ohmi wagyu

shabu ohmi wagyu

shabu ohmi wagyu

grilled ohmi wagyu

grilled ohmi wagyu

grilled ohmi wagyu

grilled ohmi wagyu

wagyu gohan set

wagyu gohan set

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for my ohmi wavy omakase, i had #4 ohmi wagyu tataki. it was good, very sweet & tasty.

#5 i liked the shabu ohmi wagyu as well. its like the korean bulgogi or gyudon sliced beef but good quality & w/o the overpowering teriyaki sauce. 🙂

#6 there was also the grilled ohmi wagyu steak. the wagyu was not very marbled, but still very enjoyable & my wife preferred less marbled wagyu.

#7 the gohan set had wagyu tips, small chopped pieces. a very nice rice indeed. i though maybe i could try this dish at home actually to complete a good meal. 🙂

kuro goma (black sesame) ice cream

kuro goma (black sesame) ice cream

#8 we had the black sesame ice cream – must say i was getting tired of this or the macha ice cream & would have preferred yuzu flavour instead. 🙂

i would still rate kuriya dining’s S$58 kaiseki lunch over hachi’s S$68 omakase but not by much really, so i would go back for both. if one has a fix for ohmi wagyu i guess the wagyu omakase (which i do) is an excellent choice, otherwise the S$20 upgrade to tokusen sashimi at kuriya dining would be the one i go for.

c.h.e.f andy

Superb Lunch Kaiseki @ Kuriya Dining on 16Nov2013

tokusen (特选) sashimi moriawase

tokusen (特选) sashimi moriawase=chutoro, akaebi, mirugai, uni wrapped with tai

had a most enjoyable lunch kaiseki at kuriya dining @ great world city with my wife on saturday 16.11.2013. they served an excellent daily S$58 lunch kaiseki (there was also a S$48 option which has sushi instead of sashimi). 🙂

this lunch was even better than the S$138 kaiseki dinner on 4.6.2013 i had here! the only caveat is that as the menu changes monthly, some months’ menu maybe more attractive than others, so it makes sense to check the website menu. for this day everything was par excellence!

kuriya dining november lunch kaiseki menu

november lunch kaiseki menu

sensai (前菜)=fish liver, chestnut, pumpkin jelly, reef squid, mushroom

sensai (前菜)=fish liver, chestnut, pumpkin jelly, reef squid, mushroom

angler fish liver

angler fish liver

chutoro

chutoro,mirugai(geoduck) in foreground

sashimi =maguro, kampachi, sake

sashimi moriawase =maguro, kampachi, sake

akaebi (red prawn) head

akaebi (red prawn) head

grilled prawn & fish with superb truffle sauce

grilled prawn & fish with superb truffle sauce

simmered cod in plum sauce

simmered cod in plum sauce

the first course, sensai (前菜) consisted of angler fish liver, chestnut, pumpkin jelly, reef squid, mushroom. angler fish (ugliest in the world?) liver was such a fine sublime dish, simply delish! the other items – bigfin reef squid etc were all good too. 🙂

the sashimi moriawase (maguron, sake, kampachi) was very good, sweet & fresh. for 1 set we topped up S$20 for the sashimi & got an exquisite tokusen (特选) sashimi moriawase with chutoro, akaebi, mirugai, uni wrapped with tai (top photo). this was super good value upgrade. the akaebi was the size of botan ebi (or bigger for this one) but not as sweet. we asked for the head to be deepfried. it was excellent every time. perhaps next time we would ask for aburi (torched) chutoro. 🙂

the grilled prawn & fish were good if ordinary but the truffle sauce was super.

the simmered cod with plum sauce was another par excellence dish. sweet, firm cod with slight sour sauce, the best! 🙂

ikura sake chirashi don set

chirashi don set (ikura, sake, tai)

dessert=macaron,fruits & vanilla ice cream

dessert=macaron,fruits & vanilla ice cream

& after so many quality dishes we got a very nice chirashi don (with loads of ikura, sake & tai) to finish off. this lunch was so gooood!

i always wonder why japanese cuisine had such a wide menu & yet almost no dessert, like only fruits & ice cream & maybe jelly…my impression is all japanese dessert are tea dessert of the red bean kind, and the best dessert in tokyo, shinjuku etc are all the western dessert which the japanese do so well, maybe better than most western places.

anyhow we had a good combination of western dessert – a macaron with vanilla ice cream (instead of jam), fruits & 1 scoop of vanilla ice cream).

this an excellent lunch menu that i would return for everytime. c/w keyaki’s weekend S$60pax brunch mini kaiseki, i would consider both the S$58pax menu & the upgrade S$78pax menu at kuriya dining a much better offering. 🙂

c.h.e.f. andy