From now until 06 March 2015, sample the eight-course kaiseki presentations at Keyaki which showcases the rich and bountiful winter produce of Japan’s largest prefecture, Hokkaido. There are three Prix Fixe menus and I got to try the Hokkai (S$190++) Menu recently.
The first dish of this prix fixe menu is one that is popular during the winter season amongst food lovers - the Cod Milt. Otherwise known as Shirako or simply 白子 (which translates directly into 'white-children'), the Cod Milt is quite simply the sperm sac of the cod fish. Lightly seared on the outside, the milt remains to be soft and creamy while maintaining a mild flavour that the sauce complements.
The second dish of this eight-course menu is a dish of fresh sashimi. The first thing you see is probably the prized Botanebi which is well-known for its natural sweetness and texture. Many of the ingredients used in this menu is seasonal - winter is the season for these Botan shrimps in Japan. The sashimi platter also includes slices of fresh Toro (Tuna) and Hokkigai (Surf Clam) with the latter being deliciously soft and chewy.
The highlight of this menu has to be the Kinki Fish which may be served grilled or steamed to your liking. I managed to steal some of the steamed version from a friend on the same table but somehow preferred the grilled version better. The Kinki Fish is a seasonal rock fish that can be found in Japan. Often prized for it's creamy and fatty flesh, the Grilled Kinki Fish is seasoned in salt before grilling on the fire. Moisture in the succulent flesh was not lost to the fire and the dish was really well executed in general.
The Grilled Scallop with Egg Yolk Sauce on shell is in my opinion, one of the best dishes on the menu. The naturally sweet flesh of the scallop is cooked to the right done-ness and the egg yolk sauce provides a contrasting dimension of flavours. The ikura on top gave the dish saltiness and texture which I thought was a nice addition.
This was perhaps my least favourite dish. The Snow Crab Tempura in my opinion was a waste of good ingredients and the tempura itself was not masterfully executed. The batter was not light enough to complement the sweetness of the snow crab and I just thought that all in all, the tempura dish could be better with some vegetables (which seemed to be lacking a little).
The three piece sushi came with Uni, Ikura and Hotate with the former being my favourite. The Uni (Sea Urchin) was fresh and had a creamy, almost custard-like texture that is good indication of the ingredient's freshness.
The Salmon Miso Hot Pot was a very comforting dish and I guess will definitely complement an actual winter setting. The delicious miso is not overwhelming and actually leaves you wanting for more.
Yubari is a famous town in Japan that is famed for their Yubari Melons which can cost anywhere from under $100 to over $20,000! These limited quantity melons have promoted quite a cult following from all around the world.
This was an invited food-tasting event by Keyaki, Pan Pacific Singapore.