Letting the ingredients shine

Kuro House Shabu's hot pot affair does not disappoint with its top-grade Japanese meat and seafood

The 10-seat restaurant offers a DIY hot pot affair that shares the same top-notch ingredients as its omakase sisters.

Kuro House launched quietly on the upper floor of the back-alley DND Club building in May last year with two core features -- a premium sushi omakase restaurant and an exclusive yakiniku omakase bar.

As soon as it opened, the sushi restaurant, hosted by master chef Seiji Sudo (formerly head chef of Michelin-starred Ginza Sushi Ichi), began to build its reservations list and the grill bar was instantly recognised by highbrow connoisseurs of wagyu beef as Bangkok's best destination for a yakiniku feast.

Today, it can take a few months to book the next available seat at either one of the restaurants, I've been told.

Recently, however, there has been some good news for diners wishing to sample Kuro House's superlative cuisines who don't want to wait.

A personal set of wagyu shabu.

Last month, the dining complex introduced a new venture to offer a shabu shabu hot pot affair that shares the same inventory of top ingredients as its sister establishments.

And because it's a DIY eatery where diners do most of the cooking, a meal here is very affordable.

The venue, called Kuro House Shabu, features nothing more than a dining counter with a seating capacity that accommodates 10 guests.

Behind the counter, which is equipped with a state-of-the-art ventilation hood, is the chef's station from where food is served by a very experienced and attentive crew.

Each guest is provided with a personal shabu pot on an electric tabletop stove. Guests can choose their hot pot experience from three set of protein options -- beef, pork or fish.

Furano wagyu rib-eye cap.

A set also includes fresh vegetables (mizuna, golden needle mushroom and shredded cabbage); Japanese rice or noodles; fresh organic egg; and a free-flow of soup, dipping sauce and condiments; plus a choice of Japanese green tea or yuzu-plum slushy and a dessert of chilled sago cantaloupe.

The soup for the hot pot is prepared with crab stock, simmered for six hours to offer a subtle briny and flavoursome taste. Guests allergic to crustaceans can request pork broth as an alternative.

All the beef served at Kuro House is certified black wagyu from Furano basin in the middle of Hokkaido Prefecture.

For the wagyu shabu set (1,400 baht), the choices of rib cap cut or strip loin cut each come in a 100g portion.

The rib cap, also known as a rib-eye cap, is regarded among the tastiest beef cuts. In nice thick slices, the intricately marbled, bright-red beef exhibited a perfect proportion of buttery taste and pleasant chewy texture.

The strip loin is also praiseworthy but the meat is softer with more fatty juice released in your mouth.

The beef can be ordered as an add-on and costs 850 baht per plate.

The must-have wagyu beef tongue.

Before moving on, let me remind you that although the kitchen crew will always ensure your hot pot retains a perfect level of heat, they cannot control how long you cook your meat.

If I am to give you one piece of advice for cooking perfection, it would be "five seconds".

Dipping each piece of meat in the boiling stock for five seconds is guaranteed to bring out the best character and genuine taste profile of the ingredients. The rule also applies to pork and seafood.

Spanish Iberico pork is offered for the pork shabu set (890 baht). Options are secreto (rich and buttery skirt steak with extraordinary springy texture), pluma (tender and fattier shoulder cut) and presa (leaner collar cut). Each is portioned at 80g and costs 420 baht per plate as an add-on.

For the fish set (950 baht), the shabu house opted for the underrated medai, which looks similar to black garoupa but its white flesh offers a springier, tooth-resisting mouthfeel.

There are not many other add-on items, however, each of them is a culinary delight.

Beef tongue (320 baht for four palm-sized slices) is a must if you're a real beef buff. Five seconds of swaying the thin slice in the bubbling broth and get your palate ready for heavenly satisfaction.

A quick-boil allowed the exterior of the Japanese tiger prawn (450 baht for two prawns) to shrink and tightly encased the meat. It resulted in a brilliant springy bite, so crunchy it made a popping sound.

Also, don't miss king crab legs (450 baht), Hokkaido scallops (450 baht) and a super silky and soothing steamed egg custard with French truffle, Hokkaido abalone and sweet bafun uni (490 baht).

The steamed egg custard with French truffle, Hokkaido abalone and bafun uni.

Despite being a nonchalant do-it-yourself eating establishment, every gastronomic detail seen, tasted or felt during the meal -- from tableware to service to the temperature of each dish -- is impressively 5-star and precise.

Though reservations are recommended, booking your seat in advance is not mandatory for shabu guests. Just check with the restaurant if they have vacant seats before arriving.

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