Very Expensive Kaiseki & Way Below Expectations @ GOTO on 23Oct2014

#1 sakizuki – a selection of small appetizers

#1 sakizuke – a selection of small appetizers

we had good recent experience of GOTO’s S$68 omakase lunch on 1.10.2014.

my wife wanted to buy me a good dinner & also to invite her close couple friends. since GOTO will start renovation very shortly & remodel to a casual non kaiseki restaurant, we decided to order the S$280pax omakase dinner on 23.10.2014.

food was good of course, but relative to the exorbitant price, it was really far below expectations, compared with keyaki, kuriya, hachi & of course mikuni. 😦

#1 sakizuki – a selection of small appetizers

#1 sakizuke – a selection of small appetizers

the #1 sakizuke – a selection of small appetizers 先附 was of very good standard, with a very nice pickled sanma (秋刀鱼) pacific dory which i liked, duck, a periwinkle?, prawn, cured squid, ikura, pickled shimeji mushrooms & spinach.

#2 dobinmushi

#2 dobinmushi

#2 dobinmushi

#2 dobinmushi

#2 dobinmushi was a very good soup, very clear, tasty soup, with pieces of fish fillet, mushrooms etc.

#2 sashimi moriawase

#3 sashimi moriawase

#2 sashimi moriawase

#3 sashimi moriawase

#2 sashimi moriawase

#3 sashimi moriawase

#3 sashimi moriawase

#3 sashimi moriawase

#3 uni - sashimi moriawase

#3 uni – sashimi moriawase

the #3 sashimi moriawase was a very large serving than the usual served in a kaiseki or course meal. there were 2 chutoro, 1 botan ebi, 2 hotate, several thick cut tako, 2 kampachi, hirame & tai, & uni. it was good standard but no better, in fact the toro was distinctly poorer c/w the S$45 chirashi don (after 50% feed at raffles discounts) at mikuni.

#6 braised kinki (expensive japanese fish)

#4 braised kinki (expensive japanese fish)

#6 braised kinki (expensive japanese fish)

#4 braised kinki (expensive japanese fish)

the #4 braised kinki (expensive japanese fish) was a good tasty fish but to me it tasted like angkoli (red snapper), so i didn’t really understand why it was expensive. this was a nitsuke or simmered dish.

#5 minced prawn in lily bulb paste

#5 minced prawn in lily bulb + yan paste

the #5 minced prawn in lily bulb paste was an interesting, unique dish. the lily bulb + mountain yam paste had the slightly sticky yam texture, and the dish was very tasty overall. 🙂

#6 miso ebi tempura

#6 miso ebi tempura

#6 miso ebi tempura

#6 miso ebi tempura

as with the S$68 lunch, they served a dry miso tempura. it was very nice. 🙂

#8 kagoshima wagyu

#7 kagoshima wagyu

#8 kagoshima wagyu

#7 kagoshima wagyu

#7 kagoshima wagyu was very good, but the better marbled much tastier kagoshima wagyu ishiyaki at mikuni only cost S$37.50 alacarte after 50% discounts.

#9 gohan - chicken shimeji musroom rice

#8 gohan – chicken shimeji mushroom rice

#9 gohan - chicken shimeji musroom rice

#8 gohan – chicken shimeji mushroom rice

the #8 gohan – chicken shimeji mushroom rice had good mushroom flavours but otherwise no comparison with any kamameshi at sun with moon wheelock or a unagi chahan at zen japanese.

#10 dessert tray

#9 dessert tray

#10 dessert tray

#9 dessert tray

they offered very good dessert – very good japanese melon + grapes. yuzu ice cream, orange jelly & strawberry mousse.

macha - nice end to dinner

macha – nice end to dinner

& i always enjoyed macha.

the kaiseki dinner was very good standard, but for me price was far too exorbitant relative to other good kaiseki restaurants & it was not at all value-for-money.  one could get a very good omakase dinner at hachi for S$118pax. and at this price i would want to try kumo anytime.

c.h.e.f andy

Quality + Great Value Alacarte Buffet @ Zen on 21Jul2014

salmon sashimi

salmon sashimi

bought 2xS$33.80 groupons & went with sis to zen at ue square for ala carte lunch buffet on 21.7.2014. 🙂

normal lunch buffet is priced at S$42++pax. i had also taken their lunch sets starting from S$16++pax (but some years back) & they were pretty good. quality of food & cooking had always been good here.

for the ala carte buffet, the main event was the wagyu shabu shabu. there was also pork & whole array of jap dishes. only set back was the lack of good sashimi other than salmon for the buffet. you could order them as additional ala carte orders & they were at good discounted prices too e.g. what looked liked a very good 10 piece sushi set was going for like S$18. i wouldn’t order that while i was having a alacarte buffet lunch though.

aburi salmon sushi & maguro susghi

aburi salmon sushi & maguro susghi

aburi salmon sushi

aburi salmon sushi

the salmon sashimi was good, probably about chikuwatei & momoya standard. anyway these days many places served good salmon sashimi. the aburi salmon sushi & maguro sushi were both good but the rice was so huge you could not order more w/o leaving the rice. anyway i set aside the rice for later dishes like the kimchi buta & ebi ika basil dish. 🙂

kaki hoba yaki

kaki hoba yaki

breaded oyster

breaded oyster

both the broiled oysters & the breaded oysters were good. we did not order additional as could not finish so much food!

also ordered 2 pieces ebi tempura (forgot to take pictures). good too. flour a bit much. we did not add orders.

steak

steak

steak

steak

unlike the sister restaurant en japanese dining bar, they did not serve beef carpaccio, but the wafu steak was really very good, very tender & sweet.

thai style basil prawns & squid

thai style basil prawns & squid

kimchi buta

kimchi buta

the 2 thai & korean dishes showed the quality of cooking here. kimchi buta was just ok but with lots of pork & belly pork. the basil prawns & squid was very good, the standerd of a good thai restaurant. i kept my rice for these dishes. 🙂

zen at UE square

zen at UE square

shabu shabu

shabu shabu

wagyu for shabu shabu

wagyu for shabu shabu

wagyu for shabu shabu

wagyu for shabu shabu

wagyu for shabu shabu

wagyu for shabu shabu

kutobuta pork belly for shabu shabu

kutobuta pork belly for shabu shabu

kutobuta pork belly for shabu shabu

kutobuta pork belly for shabu shabu

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vege set for shabu shabu

for the main event wagyu shabu shabu, the beef was excellent. perhaps azmaya was better. hard to tell, but this was very good anyway. 🙂

it came in 1/2 & full portion (200g). we had the full portion for 2pax but could not add more. we also ordered 1/2 portion belly pork. it was just 6 slices & it was very good. we just could not add more.

unagi chahan

unagi chahan

unagi chahan

unagi chahan

decided to take 1/2 portion of unagi chahan to share. it was still very large portion & we took about 70%. it was very flavourful with unagi pieces but no better than a good fried rice at imperial treasure or crystal jade lamian xiaolongbao.

tofu cheese cake

tofu cheese cake

creme brûlée

creme brûlée

also shared a tofu cheese cake & a creme brûlée. both were good. creme brûlée a bit sweeter & we did not finish it.

the normal weekday lunch buffet price is S$42++pax & dinner S$52++pax. still ok i guess if you take a lot of beef. the S$33.80nett groupon deal was of course superb value. 🙂

just to add that the service was overall good. not always the most attentive, but very polite friendly when they served you. ice water was free unlike other places (tajimaya does not serve tap water & charges S$5.90 for 1 litre bottled water), so the S$33.80 groupon was all we paid.

c.h.e.f andy