Sunday, February 28, 2010

Goto Kaiseki


This was a magical, stunning, sublimal experience that transported us right back to Kyoto. Kaiseki (懐石)is a multi-course elegant and refined dining experience inspired by the seasons, each course an exquisite homage to the freshest offerings from nature, and artistically showcased on beautiful crockery.


Our first course of five mini delicacies had us exclaiming in delight. From the wondrously smooth handmade tofu with a tiny dab of freshly grated wasabi, the crunchy grilled bamboo with miso, the lightly tangy pickled lotus root with plum paste, the superbly tender raw ika (squid) with vinegared cucumber, to the unbelievably tasty chawanmushi with morsels of anago (sea eel), each delicacy was a teensy culinary revelation.


Then came the sashimi. Beautifully glistening cuts of yellowtail, scallop, ika, and hirame (flatfish), presented like jewels in a treasure box. Stunningly fresh and bursting with exquisite flavour. I can't remember how long it was since I've tasted sashimi like this.


The tempura - pumpkin, yam, prawn, whiting fish wrapped with seaweed, and shiso pepper - coated in a light-as-air batter was still piping hot and tantalisingly crunchy when it reached our table. Just a mere squidgen of lemon to perfume the seafood was enough.


The stewed dish came as a deepfried arrowhead root stuffed with anago (sea eel), served in an ankake sauce with nameko mushrooms and chopped carrots. I've never eaten arrowhead root before so this was very interesting, although I didn't quite care for the somewhat slimy texture of the sauce.


We were expecting the usual rice dish with pickles on the side next, but out came this marvellously pretty miniature chiraishi of pickles and stewed vegetables. The accompanying bowl of miso soup was so extraordinarily flavourful and rich with umami goodness that we drank every last drop.


The last course of dessert comprised a trio of grapefruit and jelly with yoghurt, brown tea pudding with a "suprise" gula melaka base, and sliced tropical fruits. I loved the slight bitterness and aroma of the brown tea pudding, which was complemented perfectly by the sweet gula melaka syrup.

A completely breathtaking and very very special experience that defies description. Lunch kaiseki (six courses) at SGD68, dinner kaiseki at SGD180 or SGD280 (eleven courses). What more is there to be said? Go to GOTO. I am dreaming up excuses to return for dinner real soon.

14 Ann Siang Road
Tel: 6438 153 (reservations essential)

No comments:

Post a Comment