Monday, December 28, 2009

Ko, Intercontinental Hotel

Finally, after that trio of disappointments, a Japanese meal that lived up to expectations. I have to confess that I have a bias towards Ko, since its head chef Hideto Setomoto used to helm the kitchen at the now defunct Ikukan. Ikukan was the first proper Japanese restaurant where I ate at and where E and I celebrated my birthday five years ago with our first Kaiseki meal. So yep, Ikukan and Chef Hideto have a very special place in my heart.

But enough reminiscing about the past and back to Ko. We went for the special $98 Amex one-for-one promotion and were amply rewarded with a decadent 6 course menu: egg tofu with prawn and tobiko roe; sashimi of yellowtail, salmon and sweet prawn; grilled Japanese eel; tuna tataki / assorted tempura; california maki served with miso soup; and finished with vanilla ice-cream served with assorted berries.

What stood out in particular was Ko's high premium on quality and freshness - almost every dish was a winner. The egg tofu was surprisingly tasty without any accompanying sauce or broth, and the tobiko roe was so fresh that it was crunchy and popped crisply in our mouth. The sashimi was superbly fresh and the amaebi (sweet prawn) was so stunningly sweet, E raved about it a full three times. I loved how succulent and oily the grilled eel was, accompanied by a just-right sauce that was not too overbearingly sweet. The tuna tataki was excellent, with a thinly grilled exterior providing a hint of smoky fragrance, while the inside was lusciously pink and oh-so-sweet and fresh (take note, Rakuichi!). The tempura while not as light as that of Tenshin's was still very palatable.

Happiness - that we had an excellent meal and that my good memories of Ikukan have now been reincarnated in Ko.

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