What is Kaiseki
Kaiseki, or Kaiseki Ryori*, is known as the highest form of Japanese dining, akin to fine dining in the western world.
It is regarded as a sophisticated culinary art that requires many years of training and is characterized by its meticulous preparation, beautiful presentation and multiple courses.
Each Kaiseki meal has a prescribed order of courses categorized by the cooking method of each dish. The cooking methods are never repeated so guests can sample new flavours and textures throughout their meal.
A key determinant on how Kaiseki restaurants differ from one another would be in the dashi that they use. The dashi or Japanese stock in layman terms is the elemental pillar of most Japanese cuisine. It’s umami-rich flavors are used to enhance the natural essence of many dishes in Kaiseki Ryori.
Most of the cooking, marinades and sauces require the use of dashi. Every Chef’s dashi is unique. The basic ingredients may be the same (konbu and bonito flakes) but subtle differences like the cooking time; the type of konbu and bonito flakes used and the type of water can all affect the final flavor of the dashi.
*Ryori means “meal” in Japanese. Kaiseki Ryori is the formal term for a Kaiseki meal
About Chef Yoshiyuki Kashiwabara
Honored as an Excellent Chef of Diplomatic Missions by the Japanese Foreign Service, Chef Yoshiyuki spent seven years as the personal chef to the ambassadors based in San Francisco and Singapore. His formative years of development as a Kaiseki chef includes 14 years spent at the respected Kyoryori Hosoi in Saitama prefecture, where he joined as a trainee and eventually rose to lead the kitchen team.
We ordered the Wagyu Beef Omakase $178 + top up $48 for 4 glasses of sake pairing.
We were served the Sakizuke Seasonal Starter with Uni. It was a cold tofu appetizer topped with Bafun Uni from Hokkaido.
The first sake served was a Junmai Daiginjo which was smooth and easy on the palette.
This paired really well with the Hassun which was 3 types of seasonal appetizer.
The Suimono Japanese Soup with Ainame (Fat Greenling) Fish was brilliantly executed. The broth was light and quite “cheng” (to put it in Teochew lingo) with no MSG or additives added. We were told the fish is air flown from Tsukiji Market Tokyo twice a week.
Next up we were served the second sake, a Junmai. It was a relatively unknown family brand but we were told Yoshi gets his sake supply direct from the sake house, cutting down the middlemen and passing on the savings to diners.
Tsukuri – Beef and Sashimi Moriawase – featuring my favourite Otoro (Fatty Tuna Belly). It simply melted in my mouth upon the first bite. Oishi!
Kobachi – Uni Chawanmushi was next. Perfectly well balanced execution of flavours. The smooth buttery texture of the Chawanmushi exploded in our mouths with the creamy umami Uni, paired with the sake. It would also pair well with Champagne!
Sake 3 was back to a Junmai Daiginjo – a full bodied intense expression of a classic Junmai Daiginjo.
The first main was an A5 Kagoshima Wagyu. It was well marbled with textures of good fat bursting into our mouths.
The second main was a Shokuji – Wagyu Beef Don with Onsen Egg. We skipped the Don as we were already pretty stuffed by now.
To round off the evening, Chef Yoshi served us some hot matcha to pair with our dessert.
583 Orchard Road, #B1-39, Forum The Shopping Mall, Singapore 238884,
p. +65 8188 0900.
Open Mon-Sat 12pm-2pm, 7pm-10pm. Closed Sunday.