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Hard to believe but this is the dish that has triggered the most dramatic reactions from many whom have had it. Words like “life-changing” and “amazing” spilled from their lips when they spoke about it, their faces aglow with reverence.
So what is it exactly?
The answer: Cabbage.
But one with its potential fully realised after being salt-baked to ultimate sweetness. And appearing in the unlikely company of lardo, pork skin, egg yolk purée, lime gel and a glam emerald green anchoïade, a Provençal anchovy- based purée. No wonder it has left such an indelible impression every time.

Like a perfume devoted to a single bloom, Chef-owner Willin’s mushroom ravioli in truffle shiitake consommé is built in layers. From the top note down, it is mushroom upon mushroom with a little truffle splashed on to enhance the rich and aromatic earthiness of this dish. The ravioli skin was wonderfully chewy too, just the way I prefer it.

The #umamimaximus flavour of squid that floods my mouth whenever I eat one, guarantees I go all quiet for a moment. The pleasure deserves that.
As with all squids, the taste is almost earthy and meaty (strange for a sea-dwelling creature I know), hovering between a rich sweetness and a rounded savoury. I feel it is more concentrated and somehow, even sweeter in the Japanese firefly variety - Hotaru Ika. So being served this seasonal item as one of the courses in the $130++ omakase at Arakawa was a happy thing.

Although there were a couple of items in our $130++ omakase meal that I wasn’t too impressed by, this housemade tofu was one of the exceptions.
It was quite extraordinary with its mochi-like, very soft and chewy texture, plus grilling added a gorgeous smoky character.
I took my time to savour this course as it was so good I was reluctant for my enjoyment of it to come to an end.

These almost had us weeping.
What an outstanding duo: Puffed baby corn and the most ridiculously divine cheese buns that we practically inhaled, after swishing them in 14-month aged Comte cheese.
Manuela, the restaurant manager and wife of Chef Rishi, definitely made my friend Jayne’s night when she surprised us with a second helping of the latter 👯‍♀️

Like songs sung by the Sirens in Greek mythology, spring’s bounty from the sea was impossible to resist. Even more so when Chef @tomosushiiii presented them in such a bewitching style.
We were happy to feast our eyes on this sashimi platter of Botan Ebi, Kinmedai from Chiba, Hotaru Ika and Sawara but only for a few moments because devouring them was our ultimate goal. The level of freshness of everything on this platter was astonishing.

I am a hardcore meat-lover but the vegetarian courses from the omakase dinner I had last Friday at “Cheek By Jowl” were magnificent.
Original, beautifully nuanced and extremely fulfilling, I could be persuaded to be a vegetarian or even vegan but only if every dish I eat promises to be as superb as the one above.
The artichoke was presented here in two forms: a purée and with its skin crisped. Poured only upon serving, the light onion consommé completed the harmonious medley with a sweetness that seemed to me, had a hint of smokiness. I think I didn’t miss meat because the cluster of succulent Shimeji mushrooms played a great placebo.

Pretty as a flower because it was, this creation by Chef Rishi was something I actually had had my eye on for a while (thank you Instagram).
Without any preconceived notion of the taste, my first bite of the zucchini bloom was greeted by a fragrant whiff of curry. It stemmed from the mashed up Sri Lankan mung beans stuffed within. The taste was of belly-comforting warmth, and yet I felt transported to foreign shores in an instant. Things became even more interesting when I ate it with the millet, quinoa, basil and charred zucchini, also presented on the plate. Once these different textures and flavours joined in (I loved that delicate spark of lime), every mouthful of this dish truly blossomed into fruition.

After what seemed like forever, my friend Jayne and I visited one Michelin-starred Cheek By Jowl again. And although I already loved Chef Rishi’s food from before, last night’s meal made me realise he is now cooking at a whole new level of sophistication.
I felt our dinner was extremely well thought-out in terms of ingredients (including even a curry powder that has to be hand-carried from overseas), and executed in terms of how they’re combined and prepared. All of which culminated in a series of fantastically refined and delicious dishes served omakase style to us.
Even though Chef Rishi himself was miles away in Bali for the “Ubud Food Festival”, we had a marvelous time thanks to the warm hospitality of his lovely wife Manuela (who’s the Beverage and Restaurant Manager) and the rest of the Cheek By Jowl team.
I will be sharing more details in a few upcoming posts, about the individual courses that I found particularly appealing.

Stacks of Otoro (Fatty Tuna), Kuromatsu (Black Sea Perch), Zuke (Marinated Tuna) and Nodoguro (Shark Skin Halibut) that awaited moulding by Chef Tomo into sushi.
I have had quite a few memorable meals at “Sushi Kimura” but I dare say, today’s Omakase (we chose the $250++ option) featuring spring’s seasonal items was positively ambrosial. All the seafood we were served tasted like they’re at their peak of deliciousness.
It looks like Chef’s recent visits to Japan are reaping rewards. The relationships he’s been cultivating with new suppliers across the country is bearing fruit so to speak. How lucky for us to be able to enjoy such choice fish and other produce he’s harvested from them.

Chef Akane Eno’s “Sakura and Red Bean Milk Pudding” unleashed a storm of joyful exclamations as we spontaneously fell for its sublime-beyond-measure bliss.
I don’t think words can do this fragrant and delicately sweet dessert justice. But suffice to say, its consistency was the bullseye of bullseyes between solid and liquid.
The presentation of the milk pudding was a piece of art in itself with a sprig of preserved-via-salt cherry blossom, airy-light and crisp monaka, azuki bean paste, fresh Japanese grapefruit and strawberries of both the white and red variety.

At the end of every Omakase meal here, you get Chef Tomo’s signature mini rice bowl.
It contains an unbelievably thick, silky mixture of Bafun uni, minced chutoro and otoro plus an onsen egg on a small amount of rice. The final touch is a little heap of ikura and freshly grated wasabi.
Ours was a little more special today. Besides all of the above, Chef also added Hokkaido hairy crab as it was in season. So what we’ve always thought of as incredible, managed to up its game with the sweetness of the crab. Wow. Just wow.

Can't cook to save my life but boy, can I eat! 😄 (I pay for all my meals unless otherwise stated)

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