After a month-long closure, Kinu By Takagi is open and serving a menu celebrating the onset of Japanese summer and the ingredients that arrive in seasonal supply.
Until June 18, the new menu features the seasonal ingredients from different regions of Japan. Highlights include prawns from Kagoshima, Ayu sweet fish, Japan's best wagyu beef from Tottori, and delightful sweet Japanese melons. “Most of the seasonal produce are in short supply and hence only available till mid-June,” says chef consultant Takagi Kazuo, who also lends his goodwill to the 10-seater restaurant.
“The menu has ingredients like seaweed, which is only foraged for a month in the summer and has a sweet and sour taste,” says chef de cuisine Norihisa Maeda. The new five-course lunch (B4,000++ per person) and 10-course kaiseki-style dinner (B8,000++ per person), is created by both chefs to offer a Japanese fine dining experience that transports diners to various regions of Japan through flavourful ingredients and the art of cooking.
The appetiser features assorted bites and includes chimaki, which is a Hokkaido scallop wrapped in bamboo leaf and served sushi style. Chimaki, a symbolic delight, celebrates the Boys Festival, usually held in May, and traces its origins to the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival. Another appetiser is mozuku seaweed and junsai water vegetable with vinegar sauce. A small bite perfect to refresh from the summer heat. The junsai water vegetable is found in natural ponds and lakes only two months a year, in May and June. Lotus root tempura is stuffed with egg yolk and a touch of Japanese mustard. A lovely plump tomato is stuffed with cream cheese and the Japanese sancho pepper.
It is not often that you see the chefs spray your soup course (lid on, of course) with some mineral water. “In the ancient kaiseki warrior culture the eating places were small with small entrances. This was to prevent bloodshed and assignations so in order to enter these eating establishments, the swords had to be left outside. The spray of water on closed soup bowls is a sign that no one apart from the chef has touched the bowl. It was to prevent poisoning,” explains chef Kazuo.
One of my favourite courses at Kinu is this soup course. It is a clear soup with fish cake with Japanese sakura shrimp, sliced courgettes, Japanese plum, shiitake, Japanese leek and topped with a generous dollop of caviar. What’s not to love?
The rice course comes with ayu, a very popular fish in Japan and is currently in season so it is at its sweetest. Wagyu beef from Tottori and graded A5 is often recognised as the finest Wagyu in Japan. It does come, as always, with the melt-in-your-mouth happiness that only good beef can bring to the palate. I love my beef, can you tell?
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