Kaiseki Japanese Restaurant by Chef Yoshiyuki
Chef Yoshiyuki Kashiwabara is a decorated individual, the man behind the Kyoto-style kaiseki ryori at Kaiseki Yoshiyuki, and Horse’s Mouth at Forum The Shopping Mall. If you’re a big fan of kaiseki, you should already know that the good ones in Singapore, don’t come cheap.
Our most recent experience of the Kaiseki Tsuki menu, at an undeniably high price of S$288++, was one that’s extremely memorable, for more reasons than one – as you will see from the illustrious list of dishes to come.
Not simply just an amuse bouche
The Shiro Ebi is minced and placed on a bed of seasonal greens that had a kelp-like texture that was crunchy, but slightly bitter. The sweetness of the white prawns more than balanced that out, with a small dollop of wasabi that gave it an earthy spice. An amazing appetizer.
The Summer Seasonal Appetizer was a platter of different bite-sized creations comprising of ingredients this summer. The highlights were the Chrysanthemum layered with cucumber, an interesting seafood flavour which I cannot fathom where it came from, and the lightly fried conger eel seasoned with soy.
Surf and turf sashimi that’s unforgettable
Flounder as a sashimi varietal is new to me, and the way to enjoy it, even foreign a concept. The best way to eat it as recommended, was to wrap the slivers of green onion, chrysanthemum petals, and if you like some spice, the spicy radish, and take a bite after a dip in their ponzu sauce. Utterly refreshing, and fragrant flavours from the onion, and the tender, sweet tasting flesh of the flounder – a delicate match that works. It somehow reminded me of Fugu!
While it’s not entirely a “Surf and Turf” because they are both fish, the Tsuki menu’s made up of the most premium ingredients you’d find in a kaiseki. The Otoro Sashimi (Tuna Belly), a generous three thickly sliced stack is presented before me. And all I can think about is how slowly I should savour this beloved delicacy, and in the best way possible. The richness of the tuna belly is best accompanied with a smidge of freshly grated wasabi, and a dab of high quality shoyu. Magic ensues – with the tuna belly fat melting at every bite you make.
Thick cuts of conger eel are skewered and grilled over a traditional Japanese stove with burning charcoal embers. The blazing flame is extremely well-controlled as the resultant conger eel was only gently grilled to preserve the sweetness and freshness of the flesh, and increase the texture as you bite through it. A plum sauce accompaniment was provided to give an uplift to an otherwise stronger tasting fish flavour.
One of my favourite dishes is the Uni with Yuba, tofu skin harvested from the top of boiling soy beans. Gingerly picking up uni, I wrapped the yuba over the uni, creating a balanced flavour with varying textures. The dashi stock is thickened with a hint of yuzu giving it a sourness that glances over, sparking a nice acidity to the otherwise rich uni.
The Grilled Barracuda, an unlikely option again, was a pleasant surprise. A ginger shoot with varying intensity depending on which area you bite into is served with the barracuda’s firmer and fragrantly-smoked flesh, making it an an excellent complement.
The Omi Wagyu Shabu Shabu to remember
Each guest is served with two palm sized slices of Omi Wagyu, a delectably marbled piece of art that you know will confer immense flavour to the stock. Swirling it slowly through the umami-laden dashi, and letting it cook slightly is the best way to attend to the freshness of the meat.
Each bite into the wagyu intensifies further, with the grassy fresh beef, tasty unctuous layers and delicious umami stock melding into one. I finished every ingredient that made up this dish, down to the very last drop of stock.
Last but not least, the hearty Ayu (Sweetfish) Meshi
A wholesome finish to the savoury portion of the kaiseki menu, the Sweetfish lends its meek but alluring flavours into the rice. And the claypot effect – of lightly toasting and caramelising the delicious Japanese pearl short grain made it an amazing bed of carbohydrate. I asked for seconds of the Tsukemono (Japanese pickles) because they went so fabulously well with the fish+rice combination.
Serving the musk melon at the end of a premium kaiseki didn’t take me by surprise. But the Azuki Cake at the end, a soft, pudding-like texture with a deep, persisting azuki bean fragrance and rich sweetness, was a completely good close to the meal. A matcha tea accompanied it, muting the sweet aftertaste with the fragrant tea leaves.
Japanese restaurants in Singapore have come a long way. With entrants directly from Michelin-starred counterparts in Tokyo setting up a base here, the scene has since become rather competitive.
Kaiseki Yoshiyuki was an excellently paced meal – carefully selecting the flavours from the start to finish, and ensuring that the pace, and flavour is not masked in any way as you transition from one to the other. Having premium ingredients has half the battle won, but Kaiseki Yoshiyuki is a Japanese restaurant that have grasped the delicate balance of preserving the natural flavours, alongside Japanese culinary prowess.
And a testament to that, was the fact that the restaurant was full, with two seatings. For a long-drawn kaiseki menu, that’s quite a feat.
Restaurant rating: 9/10
Kaiseki Yoshiyuki (Map)
Forum The Shopping Mall
583 Orchard Road,
B1-39, Singapore 238884
Hours: Mon to Sat 12nn to 1.30pm | 7pm to 9.30pm
Reservations: +65 – 8188 0900 or via Chope