Savour the freshest ingredients and culinary highlights from Shikoku, Japan as Master Chef Hiroshi Ishii features the best from the four prefectures - Kagawa, Tokushima, Kochi and Ehime. From 12 May to 13 June 2016, diners will be able to indulge in a handpicked selection of masterfully executed dishes at Keyaki (located within the Pan Pacific Singapore).
There are various ways to indulge in the delicacies from the Shikoku region - if you like, there are set menus to choose from or if you prefer the power of decision in your hands, check out the a la carte menu which complements the regular favourites at Keyaki. We were first served an appetiser of Boiled Broad Beans.
Ingredients are obviously very important in Japanese cuisine and while Keyaki consistently serves up quality fish, they have outdone themselves this time from this special Mikan Tai (Mandarin Orange Sea Bream) which is sourced from the Ehime Prefecture. As you may already know, Mikan is a type of Japanese mandarin that is special to the country. The Mikan Tai is basically a type of farmed fish that is fed with a blend of traditional feed and oranges. The result? A subtle and refreshing citrus tastes that cuts the edge of the fresh snapper - best eaten without soy sauce!
If there was one dish that I had to pick that was most memorable from my lunch at Keyaki however, it would most definitely have to be the Sawachi. Unique to the Kochi Prefecture, Sawachi is an exquisite presentation of the region's best and freshest harvests from both land and the sea. At Keyaki, Master Chef Hiroshi Ishii has managed to put together an array of seasonal ingredients which include the Grilled Lobster with Cod Roe Sauce, Deep-fried Puffer Fish, Mini Turban Shell, Bamboo Shoot, Tomato, Grated Radish with Baby Sardine, Tuna Roll Sushi, Sea Eel Sushi, Edamame, Fish Cake, Baked Sweet Potato and Seared Bonito all on a gorgeous porcelain plate. This collective plate of seasonal delicacies are not supposed to complement each other in some way. In fact, from what I do understand, there is no logical sequence to enjoy this impressive array of prized ingredients.
While the individual components of the Sawachi were all done really well, I have to give special mention to the Deep-fried Puffer Fish. While the puffer fish sashimi is known to be chewy and not at all fish-like, the cooked version is a lot denser and the zest from the lime really helps to bring the taste to a higher level.
Another thing that Keyaki does consistently well is sourcing for the right beef and in fact, right down to the exact cattle they want - not uncommon here where ingredients is principal! Known to be a superior quality beef, Awa Beef from theTokushima Prefecture is grown using a sophisticated feeding technology with refined fattening techniques. The high quality of marbling truly comes through as you put a cube of this into your mouth - you know it's good when the whole table goes silent!
Packed with intense bonito flavours, the Sanuki Udon served at Keyaki is made from the 'Sanukino Yume' wheat which is characterised by a chewy but al dente texture. Brought from 'The Land of Sanuki', this comforting udon is served in a hot broth although a cold version is also available should you wish to try.
To end off the perfect meal, three different types of ice cream was served - Mugicha (Roasted Barley Tea), Sencha (Green Tea) and Hojicha (Roasted Green Tea). My personal favourites are the Mugicha and Hojicha. While the Sencha was good, I thought that the other two flavours were really interesting. In fact, the Mugicha one really reminded me of fresh coffee. Set Menus from the Gastronomic Journey of Shikoku at Keyaki (Pan Pacific Singapore) starts from S$170++.
This was an invited media-tasting session, though all views expressed are my own.
Venue: Keyaki (Level 4), 7 Raffles Boulevard, Singapore 039595
Reservations: +65 6826 8240 / firstname.lastname@example.org