Monday, May 15, 2017

Intricate Japanese Dining at Kaiseki Yoshiyuki, Forum The Shopping Mall

Throughout our years of non-stop eating, it’s no secret how much Paul and I love Japanese cuisine. This is actually one reason why we decided to visit Japan last year as we just wanted more, more and more! One thing that I love about the Japanese way of cooking and preparation is how they make every single thing look so pretty. Regardless if it’s just a piece of rice cracker or it’s something more elaborate like a sashimi platter, there’s a lot of thought and creativity poured into each item making your dining experience truly memorable.

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A few months ago, Paul and I were invited to try Kaiseki Yoshiyuki, which is located adjacent to Horse’s Mouth at The Forum Mall. Heading there gave us this sense of mystery, as there wasn’t any big, flashy signage directing you to the restaurant. Instead, you’ll just see a modest sign beside a big black door. Open the door and you’ll be led inside the restaurant. The interiors of Kaiseki Yoshiyuki is so beautiful that I can't help but admire the wall decors down to the plating on the table. All seats face the counter allowing you to directly interact with Chef Yoshiyuki as you watch him prepare your dish.

Chef has prepared a complete 9-course Spring-themed dinner (S$328++) for us but since I currently have strict dietary requirements wherein I’m not allowed to take anything raw, he was so kind to prepare several alternative dishes just for me. I really appreciate this and love how personalized the service is.



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Our meal started with a cup of Shokuzenchu (Shiro-zake). I was initially hesitant to have this as I can’t take alcohol too but I was assured that this is the non-alcoholic type. Perfect! Shiro-zake is actually the first variety of sake of the year and this is considered a ladies drink due to its lightness and absence of alcohol. It has a strong milky rice flavor, which perhaps is a good way to cleanse your palate for the feast ahead.

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Following the Shiro-zake was the Hassun. It’s a beautiful creation of temari sushi, broad bean and awafu. Temari sushi is actually a type of sushi that’s shaped into a ball and in this case we got the ebi sushi kind, which was so good! It came with a piece of rice cracker-like starter shaped like a wasabi/radish, some deep-fried white bait, a stick of mochi dango and one that looks like tamago sashimi. I love it! It’s even more amazing that everything on my plate are well-cooked too. Definitely perfect for mommies-to-be!

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To warm our tummies, we had soup! Don’t expect your regular Miso Soup to be part of the repertoire as Chef Yoshiyuki aims to impress. Instead, he served us with a bowl of sweet clear soup with hamaguri clams each. I’ve never seen clams this HUGE! Did you know that Hamaguri clams actually symbolizes happy marriage because a pair of clam shells fit perfectly with each other and this is normally served during Japanese Girl’s Day which is on the 3rd of March every year. I normally am not a fan of clams but this one doesn’t have the awful fishy smell or taste and I really love the refreshing clear soup broth too.

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The beauty about Kaiseki dining is that each course presents a different way of cooking. That way you get to treat your taste buds to a wide array of flavors and textures as you go through each dish. Following our soup course, we had two types of dishes. My dining companions had a beautifully crafted piece of maguro (tuna) sashimi that was served with soy sauce foam on wasabi leaf. Paul loved it as the tuna literally melted in his mouth.

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As for me, I had the Hairy Crab with Jelly and Wasabi. It was delicious! Of course, you can never go wrong with hair crab fat. Don’t be fooled by the size thinking that it won’t fill you up. We’re just at our 4th course and we’re starting to feel full already.

In between courses, we got to chit-chat with one another and Chef Yoshiyuki and his assistant were very entertaining too. Most of the dishes at Kaiseki Yoshiyuku are prepared using the manual method so no fancy machines or equipments are used. Even how they sear or grill the fish is through charcoal and is not manually. You can totally feel the amount of effort and love the chefs put into each dish.

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Moving on, we had the Yakimono course featuring the Sawara Bunka-Yaki or Spanish Mackerel with Japanese Mayo. Paul had this and noted how the sweet Japanese mayonnaise complemented the milky, buttery taste of the mackerel.

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On the other hand, I had the Daikon with Red Lobster, which I find to be so delicious! It comes with a light sweet broth and while daikon is not one veggie that I’d eat very often, I like how it pairs perfectly with the meaty red lobster. This was one of my favorite dishes that evening.

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Believe it or not, we haven’t reached our main course yet. Next was the Takiawase course featuring the Takenoko. It’s a light course of bamboo shoot slices, rape blossom (also known as broccolini) in what I suspect to be dashi broth.

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Finally, after a number of light, veggie-loaded dishes, out came the MEAT. We each got a piping hot bowl of Kagoshima Wagyu Nabe, which is a soup pot filled with thinly sliced wagyu beef. OMG. The beef is served slightly raw as it continues to cook in the pot. I had to wait a while longer as I wanted to make sure that I’m getting a fully cooked dish. The meat literally melted in my mouth and oh, it was just so good! The entire room was silent which is a good indication that everyone seems to be enjoying this.

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Moving on, my dining companions were served the Bara Chirashi Don which was also one of their star offerings for lunch. It was a beautiful assortment of freshly sliced sashimi on top of a generous serving of Japanese rice.

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Meanwhile, I had the Tendon which I love! I am a big fan of tempura and I was jumping with joy when I was served with this as an alternative to Paul’s Chirashi Don. The tempura was deep-fried to perfectly keeping it juicy, tender to the bite yet with the right crunch.

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As an addition to our meal, Chef Yoshiyuki also gave us a tasting portion of the Sakura Ebi rice, which is also available with their lunch sets. It’s so good as the sakura ebi gives a very delightful sweet taste to the Japanese rice. He even carefully wrapped the leftovers into bite-sized onigiris for us to take home.

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For dessert, we had sweet Japanese melon and strawberry. I love ending my meal with fruits!

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Another dessert was the traditional Japanese mochi with a cup of strong matcha tea.

This is definitely one of the best Japanese meals I’ve had in the Lion City and I was so happy to have discovered this gem located right at the heart of Orchard Road.

The beauty about dining at Kaiseki Yoshiyuki is that the menu changes regularly so you get to treat yourself to a good variety of creations by Chef Yoshiyuki himself.

In addition to his dinner kaiseki menu, you have to check out Chef Yoshiyuki’s $25+ Donburi Lunch Sets which I think is really a good deal. Not only do you get your choice of donburi, this comes with pickles, starter, soup and dessert too.

*photos by Paul Ang

Check out Kaiseki Yoshiyuki at 583 Orchard Road, Forum The Shopping Mall, #B1-39. Call them at 8188 0900 for reservations.

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