All about beef

Kuro House's 11-course yakiniku omakase highlights the culinary dexterity of chef Chakrapong Ruengleardsatitkul

It's not uncommon to be amazed during a visit to a restaurant, especially when your two decades of food journalism experience has involved many illustrious dining establishments.

However, that wasn't the kind of amazement I recently had during a yakiniku omakase lunch at Kuro House.

There, my admiration for the two-month-old eatery developed upon each bite. The food exhibited no self-aggrandising stories but only top-notch ingredients and the true culinary dexterity of the chef. It was an experience truly worth writing home about.

Chakrapong Ruengleardsatitkul is Kuro House's owner and the master of the cooking station.

A professionally-trained chef he is not, however, Chakrapong is always seen preparing food for his guests at the eight-seat chef's table-styled dining counter.

The yakiniku omakase is one of the two dining styles offered at Kuro House. The other is sushi omakase, hosted by chef Seiji Sudo (formerly head chef of Michelin-starred Ginza Sushi Ichi) in an adjacent private chamber set up to mimic a small Japanese cottage.

Although yakiniku omakase simply means a chef-curated meal that centres on grilled meat, here the focus is almost entirely on beef.

A Japanese version of beef tartare prepared with rib-eye.

Diners will be treated to an 11-course menu showcasing champion-grade wagyu beef from Hokkaido's Furano basin. There is also seasonal selections of prime Japanese seafood as well as other fine ingredients from the world's best sources.

One by one, the wagyu is cooked with longan wood fire at the built-in countertop grill before the guests by the host and his black-uniformed kitchen crew. The vibe was very folksy yet exclusive and humble and never at all ostentatious.

Even though Japanese beef and omakase dining -- two separate culinary genres -- are all the rage in Bangkok's current food scene, the idea behind this restaurant concept was developed from Chakrapong's profound passion for beef. His interest has led him to a series of beef-eating expeditions across Japan over the years.

Different characters of his favourite yakiniku restaurants, from the no-nonsense hardcore and exquisite fine dining to fancifully elaborate, are all blended into the style of Kuro House with masterful approval and advice from the Michelin-rated chef Sudo.

On the day that I visited, a light, refreshing and subtly delicious unification of baby spinach, papaya and blue cheese kicked off the meal wonderfully. Not a fan of blue cheese or papaya, I, however, found the dish to be one of the most addictive salad renderings I've ever enjoyed.

Oxtail curry rice with medium-rare tenderloin.

Following was a neat and scrumptious piece of crispy and buttery Iberico pork sandwich with mozzarella and truffle oil, which guaranteed to delight even those craving only beef.

Next up, two bite-sized cubes of A4 tenderloin impressively represented the first beef course through a lean and succulent medium-cooked meat seasoned with pink salt and fresh wasabi.

No matter if you're a fan of raw red meat or not, you will be delighted by yuke, a Japanese version of beef tartare prepared with rib-eye and hand-cut into fine lengthy strips. The delicately-flavoured raw beef was deliciously seasoned with soy sauce and a raw egg.

The high-marbling beef rib-eye continued to enchant our taste buds during the following course, a flame-charred steak garnished with creamy sweet premium-grade sea urchin roe.

A raw, expansive slice of striploin was presented to us as the sixth course before it was flash-cooked on the sizzling grill to get a slightly charred fragrance while retaining its full beefy flavour and super-tender texture. Rolled into a one-bite treat, the beef was then enhanced with a pungent sweet and citrusy touch from minced onion and yuzu zest filling.

The naturally sweet and meaty taraba crab consommé.

Connoisseurs of beef tongue will cry tears of joy for the delicacy, which comes in two styles here.

The first -- super-thick slices -- is cooked until the exterior develops a charred crust but the centre remains pink and boasts an extraordinarily juicy and springy feel. Just a sprinkle of salt and pepper and drizzle of lemon juice and it's a mouthful of pleasure you wouldn't want to let go.

The second, a paper-thin slice of beef tongue with freshly shaved truffle, caviar and gold flakes, proved a heavenly luxury to the eyes and the taste buds.

There were also striploin sukiyaki, crab-based shabu shabu, al dente angle's hair pasta in cold bonito dashi and beef curry rice prepared with slow-cooked oxtail in red wine. All were flawless.

But most remarkable was the risotto pancake, made from previously boiled Italian rice pan-fried until crispy but still retaining soft and toothsome creamy grains, topped with a nice strip of wagyu tenderloin and freshly-grated black truffle.

Sago cantaloupe might be less of a thrilling dessert in terms of description. But the light and refreshing taste of it proved to wrap up the meal perfectly.

The 11-course beef yakiniku omakase is priced at 4,400 baht per person. An additional five-course sake pairing package costs 1,500 baht.

Kuro House is located on the upper floor of DND club (of the same owner) near Ekamai Soi 12. Seating is limited and thus reservations are a must.

Beef tongue with fresh truffle shavings and caviar.

The flame-grilled beef rib-eye with uni.

Chakrapong Ruengleardsatitkul, Kuro House's owner and master of the cooking station.

Risotto pancake with wagyu tenderloin and shaved truffle.

A4 tenderloin cubed steak.

  • Kuro House
  • 217/8 Sukhumvit 63
  • Open for lunch and dinner upon reservations
  • Call 094-446-6269 or Line @kurohouse
  • Park on the premises