Omakase a la française

It was only recently that I was at Issho Izakaya for dinner and their food was good enough that I asked if they did omakase for dinner and the chef said ‘Yes’. Then, a friend asked me if I knew of a place that served good Japanese food and I told her about this place and how I wanted to try the omakase. So we came here. It was a quiet Thursday evening and they gave us our own tatami room. Now that, I call service! We ordered the genmaicha at first thinking that it was not very strong until I realised that that tea had kept me awake the whole night the last time I had it. So we switched to yuzu tea instead. Whew! If this was lunch, I would have ordered the genmaicha as the tea was really fragrant the last time I had it. After calming ourselves down with yuzu tea as we had rushed to the place, we were then ready for dinner.

Before the omakase, we were asked if there was any food that we do not eat. Both of us do not really fancy eels and so I thought it was the end of the ‘forbidden food’ list. Unknown to me though, there were more things that my friend does not eat and I have asked her to post her experience after this post.

Yuzu tea

Sukini which consisted of chicken and pork on baguette, lotus root and renkon chips. I thought the renkon chips tasted like berlinjau and perhaps it is the same item but known by its Japanese name. Who knows? The lotus root was crunchy as were the chips. The meat on baguette was nicely seasoned and the baguette too was crunchy.

Next, we were served uni tofu chawan mushi, oyster tempura and pork springroll. I have not had sea urchin in a while and was rather pleased to be served it.

What a unique chawan mushi!

This was a rather standard sashimi platter. Small but adequate. We were given raw tuna, salmon and scallop.

This was another unique dish – kani croquette with tartar sauce. The crab was a real leg of crab meat which had been deshelled. The croquette was pretty well sealed with a lovely rich creamy sauce inside the crusty exterior.

I never thought we would be given wagyu but here it was. Wagyu with foie gras. What we thought was grilled onion on the side turned out to be rice encircled by daikon which was absolutely delicious and balanced out the meal perfectly. The rice also provided the necessary carbohydrate to our meal, for me anyway.

The dessert was a piece of art in itself. It seems that is the way with Japanese omakase. It always seems to end on a high. We were served creme brulee, crepe with a matcha cake base and matcha ice-cream. The matcha ice-cream was delicious. I did not appreciate the crepe as much. The rock melon had not ripened sufficiently but perhaps that was the intention or dessert may have turned out a little too sweet had the rockmelon ripened further. It was refreshing nevertheless and I liked the sourness of the strawberry at the side as well. The creme brulee had a little surprise inside – matcha mochi! A lovely end to the evening indeed.

What I like about Japanese omakase is that one never knows what one will get. This is now the fourth omakase I’ve tried. All four omakase have been different. There are those who stay more true to authentic Japanese food and others who venture out and combine it with other types of food. Tonight’s omakase clearly had French influence in it which I did not mind at all as I hardly eat French food. Foie gras, which I have not had before, was a completely new experience for me. The other thing I liked was the presentation. It was like being served art! The whole meal was at an affordable price of $80++ per person, not including the yuzu tea. I would definitely come back here and hope that I am given my own tatami room again. Just be sure that there are no major events going on at the arenas or stadiums at the location or you would not enjoy your meal in a relaxed, unhurried manner like we did that day.

Gochisosamadeshita!

Issho Izakaya, 1 Stadium Place, #01-13/K5, Kallang Wave@Sports Hub. Tel: 6702 4708.

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Down Under: The art of pie

This is another pastry place, also located on a street corner and serves good coffee. What can I say? Sydney is full of places like these and many of them, good.

This place is famous for its handmade pies and award-winning coffee. This was the second cafe in two weeks that I had been to which clearly spelt out that they served 100% Arabica beans coffee. The other cafe was in Tasmania.

I was spoilt for choice and so I played ‘tikam’ — randomly pick something in the hope that what I pick is good. The portions were large and I ordered them with ice-cream which turned out to be quite a lot. We were here for dessert so we ordered cakes and not so much, savoury pies. My one regret was that I was quite full from lunch before. If I had saved some stomach for dessert, I probably would have enjoyed the cakes a lot more. Their portions were almost meals in themselves! And with coffee names like ‘eureka’, one could not go wrong with their coffee either.

The Pie Tin, 1a Brown St, Newtown, NSW 2042. Tel: (02) 9519 7880.

Shop exterior. Love their logo.

How to eat their pies. I like the play on words ‘humble pie’.

Lemon brulee with ice-cream

Passionfruit and pineapple cheesecake

Mississipi mud pie

Down Under: A Pastry Affair

We came here for a quick bite. The coffee was great and the ginger brulee went really well with the coffee. I ordered a ham and cheese crossant which I regretted as there were so many other pastries that I could have and should have ordered instead to try. The croissant had a little too much butter in it and was too oily for me.

Of the things we ordered, the bacon quiche and the ginger brulee were the best. The flourless chocolate cake felt like we were eating chocolate itself as it was so rich. The coffee was good.

There was a steady stream of people at this little joint.

Bourke Street Bakery, 633 Bourke Street, Surry Hills NSW 2010. Tel: (02) 9699 1011.

Bacon quiche

Ginger brulee

Flourless chocolate cake

Beef pastry pie

Cappucino

Inside of the bacon quiche

Inside of the ginger brulee

Ham and cheese croissant