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Matsukawa - Probably (the current) Tokyo's greatest restaurant

any tip on reservation for matsukawa??? thinking of planning a trip in February ..
wanted to go to kyoto ,osaka, but the restaurants to try in tokyo always negate other factors. haha

Aug 13, 2014
Lucil in Japan

Top end recommendations in Singapore?

report for shinji at kanesaka at st regis(since raffles branch was full for lunch), i think chef kikuchi is not very attentive (gari was never replenised at this branch) , in fact i think the other younger chefs at raffles branch was better , occasionally topping up gari and more precise in sushi preparation.
overall experience not as good as the raffles branch, will only return to raffles branch now

smokehouse at great world city (was walking around and just happen to passby so i went and took a look at the prices, so i thought it was good value, prices lower than isetan supermarket) , can give yakiniku yazawa a run for their money. the price point i think its even lower than aburiya and more value for $.
well marbled australian karubi only $10 plus for 100gms, 100gm japanese beef chateaubriand only around $34 sgd + , downside, the meat is not marinated for your diy bbq, so you have to fix your own sauce, their inhouse bbq sauce is a little meaty , heavy (those who like yazawa may like this style) , so i squeezed some lemon juice into the sauce. also tables for 2 pax quite close to another table

Himalayan pink salt, black pepper grinders DIY. i think its a ceramic grill , with charcoal at the bottom, not a fan of ceramic grills thou.

freeflow kimchi, soup, rice, garlic fried rice and salad. and ice water.
i think i ordered around 50- 60gms of each, jo tan , aust karubi and us angus karubi(combined), tontoro, japanese zabuton and sankaku(60 grams combined i think) , japanese chateaubriand (1 big piece , forgotten the weight)
total came up to around less than $110sgd.

Jul 13, 2014
Lucil in China & Southeast Asia

Top end recommendations in Singapore?

Looking for 1 top dining experience
Seeking advise for top end suggestions, Fourseasons please chime in

The only top end restaurant that I have tried so far and not disappointed is shinji, somehow I get the feeling that restaurants like Joel robuchon , Andre will be disappointing to me , based on what I see from pictures and reviews, any feedback is appreciated , very particular on ingredient quality.

Waku ghin seems like a gamble , very expensive also simple execution , quite hesitant on this
Would like to go to CUT , but they are out of A5 Kobe beef now .

Jul 05, 2014
Lucil in China & Southeast Asia

mandarian oriental reservations?

anyone manage to book for noma? it seems like the website is unable to handle the load now

Jun 22, 2014
Lucil in Japan

Honeymoon kick off in HK! Need an amazing meal

i just tried ryugin last week in hk, and it was not worth mentioning, i have tried ryugin 4-5 years ago at tokyo
and this pales in comparison.

portion are too small for the whole course, as a whole ingredient quality not as good as tokyo. service staff not very knowledgeable about the cooking techniques or describing the dish well. also each dish tasted like the menu(which looks very unimpressive to me)

1st dish starter was very boring with somen and caviar . think angel hair with caviar, this pales very far in comparison to the dish i had in tokyo years back, with potato + ankimo , karasumi + daikon( both incredible )

-2nd dish , chawanmushi squid ink with squid. egg custard was too shallow in the dish , so it does not feel satisfying when eating the custard, when you scoop with the spoon it only reaches around half of the spoon scoop. the taste wasnt too bad, but the slices of squid on top of the custard . was not very incorporated into the dish, again this was a dish that could be done very well, knowing how ryugin cooks their chawanmushi, from my memory their uni chawanmushi was incredible (tokyo)

- salad with some hokkigai , grapefruit sorbet?
not working well together with the grapefruit sorbet as sauce.

- soup, grilled kinki with eggplant and winter melon - ichibandashi soup quality was ok , considered well executed in the restaurant standards. fish was a little overcooked

- sashimi - not very good. 4 diff kinds, hirame, maguro toro, negitoro(sliced in blocks?) and i think scallop with uni or something( i forgot) , quality was rather normal for upscale restaurants . but nowhere near the quality in japan

- yuba grilled corn shrimp dumpling, corn was sweet(again this was normal considering the upscale restaurant factor, and tomorokoshi is usually sweet) yuba was good quality. dish average in terms of execution and taste was slightly above average.

-main dish, another boring dish, sukiyaki , a4 beef with onsen tamago, boring, totally well expected and tasted like it is on the menu. no suprises here

- ezo abalone ( taste was not very intense, or average for me , good size ) shiitake mushroom rice, rice was good quality, but shiitake mushroom taste was rather normal to me. tsukemono was bad, sliced cucumbers with some jelly sauce(i forgot what it is)

- strawberry candy, good as i imagined it to be, was mainly here for this, as i did not have it in tokyo last time
strawberry jam intense, and every component worked very well.

- almond tofu orange carrot jelly, normal to me , kinda like something you can get from asian dessert stall.

seriously , i would have headed to la cabane again at night if i knew this would disappoint me( went on the same day afternoon to have some cheese(incredible) and wine )
i would seriously strike michelin starred western (considering that i had a rather normal lunch at caprice 2 years ago) and japanese restaurants off my list next time when i go to HK.

Jun 14, 2014
Lucil in China & Southeast Asia

HK recommendation mid June 2014?

will be spending 1 day and night in HK, also will be making dinner reservations for ryugin. any comments on the sake / wine list at ryugin?

any good lunch spots? was looking at la cabane , any other recommendations? (will be arriving in HK around noon )
also any rare wine bars or any of the sort?

will be in singapore after HK, so trying to look for good value eats..

Jun 05, 2014
Lucil in China & Southeast Asia

Singapore Eats - Researching Choices

shinji by kanesaka, if you want quality comparable to the top end places in tokyo. lunch is decent, $80-$120 per pax.
les amis lunch is also decent.. approx $50-$80 per pax

Apr 17, 2014
Lucil in China & Southeast Asia

High End Sushi in Tokyo (or should I stick with Sawada?)

nice... can you comment on the firmess of the shari and of saito vs mizutani vs jiro(ginza) vs sushi sho vs sawada ??

Jan 19, 2014
Lucil in Japan

Trip report!!

yea ambrosie , marie, mervee and probably the tarts and ambre noix(i did not try this)

veracc-> mkoide only takeaways, do take note

Jan 14, 2014
Lucil in Japan

Ultimate Tokyo foodie trip 2!!

hmm mind if i ask, namba belongs closer to which style???
thanks for the answer!

just to add on to DEN for jmui,
dessert is a weak point there, usually i may have bias for restaurants with excellent desserts for proper elaborate meals..

Jan 12, 2014
Lucil in Japan

How to secure KyoAji reservation?

try staying at minshuku or apartments and ask the host to help call for you. very generous of you to buy lunch... do you know the price???

Jan 12, 2014
Lucil in Japan

Kenichiro Nishi's "Taste of Kyoto"

definitely i think i got nishi san's wife i assume as okami.. i think his daughter was in kitchen prepping stuff clearing stuff in kitchen when i was there for lunch

Jan 11, 2014
Lucil in Japan

Ultimate Tokyo foodie trip 2!!

gargle -> very interested to know your favourite sushi haunt... heh ,

jmui--> DEN if you like fun interesting amicable chef who engages fervently with diners , and more western tastes in dishes, and less on ingredient quality and execution, else matsukawa sounds better for food with the higher price tag.

shimada, got in on a wednesday around 7-8pm , depends on your luck thou... did not see any queues outside, also i had a hard time locating it that night going round and round in circles based on my google maps.. passed by it numerous times without knowing and found it finally after my partner(who doesn't understand japanese asked me if that lantern was the one) .
also at first i ordered 3-4 dishes( was planning to order more as we go along depending on the food and appetite) , and the chef looked at me and said something ( did not quite understand based on my caveman japanese, which i was guessing from his expression that we had ordered too little food) , not sure if this was the case, so i ordered few more dishes, and he confirmed it, in the end it was too much food for us...

also my partner who is first time in real japanese food(kaiseki and sushi etc, did not like shimada, liked DEN the most, did not like kyoaji much ( ill that day (1st day of her month) , which i thought was best)

unagi themed restaurants should not be a destination to go.. they were also only OK to me, after trying the supposedly the best there is...

Jan 11, 2014
Lucil in Japan

Kenichiro Nishi's "Taste of Kyoto"

looks the same as what i got... maybe 1 or 2 different dish...thanks for the picture... too embrassed to take pictures (even thou nishi san said ok after head chef asked , and head chef mentioned politely they usually do not allow pictures) , did you ask for 2nd gohan course of sake harasu gohan?? ,
just want to know , okami (chef's daughter) how old was she?? i think i had chef's nishi wife as okami( judging on her age, and did not quite get the same level of communication thru the meal ask you did)

Jan 11, 2014
Lucil in Japan

Trip report!!

also all food destinations in tokyo in 12 days? sounds pretty monotonous

Dec 22, 2013
Lucil in Japan

Trip report!!

if you like hidemi sugino, you should try m koide (also have sous bous here, maybe some relationship to hidemi sugino, the flavor is more intense here) in jiyugaoka , also nearby lots of famous japanese pastry shops like mont st clair etc, paris seville, also aux bon vieux temps at oyamadai, need some walking from jiyugaoka

on hidemi sugino, stick to his best cakes, and the fruit tart , they are good, as for the rest like mango mousses etc.. they are not as spectacular

Dec 22, 2013
Lucil in Japan

Trip report!!

nice report....
had the sweet potato from kondo few years ago and i agree it definately is too much for a person, haha..
and desserts at ryugin are always cool and excellent stuff..
shinshin is good, not too fatty

Dec 21, 2013
Lucil in Japan

Matsukawa - Probably (the current) Tokyo's greatest restaurant

Actually a question , if this was the meaning that you think might lead to no good, ;)

Dec 16, 2013
Lucil in Japan

Matsukawa - Probably (the current) Tokyo's greatest restaurant

-> Gargle
openly discussing invitation only restaurants (but rule not strictly enforced) on global forums makes chefs less wanting to accept 1st timer foreign guests , if the number of foreign guests outweighs local ones??

Dec 15, 2013
Lucil in Japan

Trip report November

Downgraded to one star for Den in latest edition

Dec 06, 2013
Lucil in Japan

Sushi Mizutani - good, but overrated?

ninisix thinks the sushi is too compact and heavy, which also kinda reaffirms on your review that mizutani is stickier than jiro, since if it is stickier it is also much more compact and heavier.

infact my reservation was for mizutani (since reservation for jiro ginza failed) at first, but i gave it up because i have been and several opinions , some from sushi chefs etc.. told me that harutaka might be better since mizutani rice was too sticky and sweet...
but i think the overall fish quality at mizutani is better and i prefer mizutani than to harutaka( i have read thru past reports, and some reported that it had even firmer shari than mizutani, well opposite for me, strange indeed..the shari was quite bland for me..not vinegary at all) but my mizutani experience was in 09 and harutaka was current.

Dec 04, 2013
Lucil in Japan

Trip report November

About the same as yazawa in Singapore without the higher prices

Dec 02, 2013
Lucil in Japan

Trip report November

Lunch is easier it seems

Dec 02, 2013
Lucil in Japan

Sushi Mizutani - good, but overrated?

on rice firmness, how does it compares with jiro ginza?

Dec 01, 2013
Lucil in Japan

Trip report November

i think you should book jiro style sushi ... maybe mizutani or jiro honten or his son .. or maybe sho style sushi

taichi looks a little generic( looks like bordering kanesaka or kyubei style, maybe ninsinix can shed some light) considering you will go to iwa( kanesaka, saito style) , sawada ( distinctive maybe?)

Nov 27, 2013
Lucil in Japan

Trip report November

DEN is high CP , but ingredient quality and cooking shows.. chef only helped out at ishikawa for a short stint i suppose( from what i heard at DEN), he worked in another restaurant in kagurazaka, but i did not quite get the name and it did not stick to me.

Nov 27, 2013
Lucil in Japan

Trip report November

I had karasumi a few times in pasta, or as appetizer at other places, the one at shimada is pretty standard, not much any different or better than on pasta for the experience.

I always thought jiro would use much firmer shari , no?

Nov 25, 2013
Lucil in Japan

Trip report November

cost performance

Nov 24, 2013
Lucil in Japan

Trip report November

Trip report mid november exhaustive

Da Isa (lunch)
Food :1.5-2 /5 , CP 2/5
Very famous, and i went on sunday, so no 1000yen pizzas available today, had shiori and magherita dop, tomato sauce was too acidic, also the pie is too burnt and bread like and heavy, tasted very different from 4 years ago, when hisanori was still at napule with the light and crisp pizza base.. this tasted crappy.. and queues just because of fame?? also the shiori is just fried shrimp on pizza, just really bad.

Yakinku Jumbo Hongo (dinner)
Food 3.8/5 CP 4/5
last minute reservation made here when Yoroniku was fully booked.

special cuts ordered
Shinshin + zabuton , shinshin tastes not too fatty and has a smoother texture and it is rather easy to eat without feeling too full , so i preferred shin shin more, while the other partner preferred zabuton, which i guess the most fatty part and preffered by most people.
other dishes ordered, heart ( quite good ) , , tongue (no more jo tan) karubi , vinger cooked pork knuckle , kimchi , steak cut meat(rosu?). the service staff here will advise how long to cook the meat, the sauce tends to be a little more spiced/meatier tasting and less acidic/tart than other yakiniku places, i tend to prefer the latter. they have a some photographs of a yakiniku competition ( not very sure on this, but they won one few years ago, and in recent years consecutively won by yoroniku )

Sushi Sho , yotsuya
food : 4.8/5 CP: 4/5

some notes,
- compared with shinji by kanesaka ( 1 month prior to trip ) and mizutani and saito ( about 4 years ago) and harutaka ( current same trip )
- shari quite balanced in taste, not too sour/salty or too firm ( ranks middle in profile, more flavourful than saito (from memory few years ago it is the most bland shari when compared to others) but less sweet and vinegary than mizutani (from memory comparison) , so it matches most of the fishes quite perfectly , some were made in red vingared rice some in white.
also the rice is moderately firm and sticks nicely, less firm/a little moister and less saltier than kanesaka(singapore) and less firm than mizutani (firmest and stickiest) ( i have not tried jiro, but my observation is that it jiro style rice is very firm like al dente?) , shari much firmer than saito(memory from few years ago) and harutaka(current)
- high quantity of aged fish sushi here ( some aged 10 days ), and i am pleasantly suprised, buri and tuna shimofuri were standouts.
- use of oboro(grated egg) on some sushi, its the yellowish dusting on ebi ( done 2 ways , head and body) etc.
- sake pairing might be good here, the first sake i had was a thick cloudy white sake, i have no idea what name is it, but chef owner nakazawa san explains it is a little bubbly, and it tastes a little like champagne/white to me. which i thought was very good. after i finished it, i stopped as i thought i was halfway thru the meal, and my partner stopped me from getting the 2nd sake. i wish i did, because towards the last few pieces, i asked if they had any more different types of sushi and i was served more than 5 other sushi from the last sake. :(
- the flow is quite random and i notice not everyone gets the same pieces, some had more some had less(maybe requested by customers?)
- sauce for anago tastes pretty similar to kanesaka, saito, considering all were trained at kyubei.

in short, best sushi experience i had, above mizutani , saito , harutaka,

Marugo tonkatsu akihabara (lunch)
Food : 3.5/5 CP : 4/5
currently most famous tonkatsu in tokyo?? lightly fried, i guess the pork is fried in low temperature, the breading looks lighter in color, and they have a special name for this techinique.
had toku hire and toku rosu. hire(fillet) is juicy , and not all dry when people think of lean meat in tonkastu.

Kabuto (dinner)
Food 3.5/5 CP 3.8/5

still don't quite get it when it comes to top end unagi places, had some skewers , including beating heart , inner body(what ever it is) , head, etc.. which i thought was not bad , unaju sauce less sweet than normal places. same feeling like when i went to obana few years ago. also only farmed unagi that night.

Ginza Shimada (dinner)
Food 2.5-3/5 CP 3.5 /5
had the char grilled chicken pieces with sansho, fish(forgotten what fish) cooked sakamushi , shirako butter yaki and gyusuji with daikon , zuwai kani croquette, ise ebi gelee with uni, most famous soba with karasumi ( quite heavy on the palate, i thought it was average)
fish sakamushi was overcooked, not sure whether this is meant to be like this , but i thought this was below expectation. the rest of the dishes mostly were average in my books, maybe some were made with expensive ingredients etc , but most tasted pretty normal to me, bill was around 12k yen for 2 pax(for standing meal), which i thought was pretty expensive but nevertheless maybe we ordered too much. but i think the level is about that of an izakaya.

Kyo Aji (lunch)
Food : 4.5/5 CP: 3.8/5
past kaiseki experiences Ryugin, DEN ( current )
most of the dishes had matsutake considering the season. very good considering quality of the ingredients. high level of execution , memorable dishes, ebi imo(very good, not greasy at all) , tai sashimi ( very good, no gristle and muscle in the flesh , just good chewiness) , starter of unagi and mochi rice , fried matsutake ..wish i had the salmon rice, but got matsutake rice. imo, deserving to be called best in traditonal kaiseki in japan, on par with experience at ryugin ( ryugin is more technical and sophisticated) . Price 90k yen+ for 2. most expensive meal i had , but owner chef nishi actually passed me back some money himself at the end ( still unsure of reason, i think this is highly uncommon ) , he says its service (if i had not heard wrongly with my caveman japanese) .

Harutaka ( dinner)
Food: 4/5 CP 3.8/5
i think they had double booking for the night, so me and my partner was seated on the edge of the table on different sides, and the other party was having their tsumami inside the waiting room, and later moved to the main area when the other parties left.
tsunami, katsuo, octopus , not too bad for tsunami, above average
shari, much more bland when compared with mizutani and sushi sho, also shari less firm than mizutani , kanesaka(singapore) and sushi sho. so i thought the shari was pretty average.
most of the fishes performed above average, comparable to kanesaka (singapore)
memorable pieces, akagai ( good) and anago( texture very soft, tsume/sauce sweet/thick like mizutani, i suppose this is jiro style)
tamagoyaki, imo from my memory, mizutani had better tamagoyaki.

Convivo (lunch)
Food 3.8/5 , CP 4/5
not bad , no particular standouts.

DEN ( dinner)
Food 4/5, CP 4.2/5
the food here is presented differently, but most of the time i feel it is just funny or interesting presentation with a little sophistication, as opposed to technical means to acheive best taste( for eg ryugin ) , i think the food is not bad, i think 2 michelin stars is a little excessive when considering level of sophistication of food here and the ingredients are good but (not on same level like ryugin or kyoaji)
also this feels the least like japanese kaiseki in terms of taste, for example, char grilled beef with beets sauce for main(which i think is nothing special), and a cream/milk based chawamushi.. also i was served whale meat soup , i was thinking above the movie "the cove" when i was eating this and the meat was from wakayama, the meat tasted very irony and meaty, much meatier than beef , and the texture was a little rubbery and oily. desert, bavarois with roasted tea leaves dusted, again more presentation , taste wise about average, next was baked manju with white beans paste(average). memorable dishes, maybe monaka and rice course, salmon roe with buri . overall, i felt ryugin(from memory) and kyoaji (current ) were much better

toriki (kinshicho)
Food 3.8-4/5 CP 4/5
backup plan after torishiki reservation failed.
memorable dishes, chochin( yolk bursts once you placed inside your mouth) , overall good. but as i imagined it to be. this place is lightly seasoned and less saucy.

Food: 3/5
Soup tastes heavily of mackerel base. i think its a little too fishy even for my taste even thou i tend to prefer niboshi based soups as opposed to tonkotsu. decent ajitama and chashu. noodles thick cut chewy.

aux bon vieux temps oyamadai,
rouge tart, tart tasting, i think its good, but partner thinks its too tart..
ali baba , (rum baba), was soaking in rum , too much alcohol for my taste
quartette, chocolate mousse cake, good but nothing special.

M koide (jiyugaoka)
mousse cakes , the fruits mousse taste is much more intense when compared to hidemi sugino, depends on what you like, i think both are equally good, had the pistacho mousse and cassis mousse at mkoide.
price is very attractive, at around 400 yen per piece.. when hidemi sugino is now 600yen-700yen a piece.

hidemi sugino
revisted, finally tried ambrosie , good, not too heavy on the palate like most chocolate mousse cakes.

Nov 24, 2013
Lucil in Japan

Best Hainanese chicken rice in Singapore - your choice?

boon tong kee balestier .. imo has the best rice..night time also have equally good chicken as compared to tian tian at only this branch...

Nov 18, 2013
Lucil in China & Southeast Asia