A friend bought lunch today. As it was DiningCity Restaurant Week (18-24mar2013), I suggested the $35nett lunch set at Kumo Kaiseki Restaurant.
I have stopped going for Restaurant Week these days as there is nothing much on offer. S$40 lunches & S$55 dinners at the ‘Star’ restaurants like Oso, Gaia, Absinthe etc are not cheap and also usually restrictive on the menu items especially mains c/w their daily lunches. Last year for example, UOB had very good 1 for 1 Young Chef Creation Menu in many restaurants and you get a 4-course S$68 1 for 1 menu at Gaia vs a S$40 3-course Restaurant Week menu at the same restaurant! Even at La Cicala Gastrobar (which has no Star), the usual S$25 set lunch menu is to me better than the same-priced Restaurant Week menu.
This Kumo S$35nett menu looks good though.
I had a kaiseki dinner only once at Kumo using a $50 Kitchen Language (which owns Kumo, Salta, Ochre, Saltwater cafe) voucher. Kumo’s food is good but not great for the price c/w say Hachi, and if you are not overly enameled with kaiseki presentation, I think Kuriya Dining’s monthly sets offer better value. For me, none of them can compare with Mikuni using the Feed@Raffles card with 50% discount for 2pax, so I usually frequent Mikuni, but it is good to have a change once a while.
First course - tai (sea bream) sashimi topped with ikura (salmon roe), was truly delightful in all departments – taste, colour, presentation! the jelly (can’t remember what it is) went really well with the tai sashimi. every item (broadbean, petals & all) was edible. This dish was very impressive even for a full course kaiseki!
Second course - The lotus & prawn dumpling were ok & tasty, nothing to wow about. the bonito soup was also ok with a nice after taste.
Main course - a braised saga wagyu shank & some vegetable items in batter & the usual gohan set of rice, pickles & miso soup. This really was quite so-so, very average taste wise. As a braised item, one could not tell much between wagyu (& Japanese wagyu at that!) & normal beef. also done this way it is more commonly served as an appetiser item (eg Dozo serves a japanese braised beef as an appertiser item in their 6-course lunches which maybe tastes same or better), and is no comparison with the modern european braised lamb shanks served in many restaurants here.The yasai (野菜) furai (not a tempura batter) was a good complement to the braised beef.
Well at S$35nett (S$30++ just for comparison though Kumo actually does not charge 10% service) for such a lunch, I guess there was little to complain about except for the parking costing S$10 at neighbouring Amara Hotel.
Dessert - dessert was a nice red bean mochi which I liked & 1/2 a strawberry.
Overall, it was a very pleasant meal and also nice way of keeping up with a friend.
I also recommend this place for:
Anniversary, Birthdays, Business Dining, Dinner, Fine Dining, Lunch
We've had the Kaiseki experience in Japan but never in Singapore. It was an opportunity to compare and contrast. We were invited for a food tasting in August 12.
The Kaiseki experience is very dependent on the chef but this day we had a choice of the beef wagyu and the ribeye.
Overall the Kaiseki experience is that high quality food is served in food displays that exemplify the high quality of the ingredients, you're to admire it before consuming it and the beauty enhances the experience. Kawai !!
For starters we had a mixed salad, in dainty bowls. A light clear soup with fresh vegetables and mushrooms.
Chilled Jap noodles soup and then the sashimi, slivers of very fresh fish in colourful plates.
For the mains we had a small Japanese hearth brought to our tables and the lovely pieces of wagyu and US ribeye cooked before our eyes. I almost jumped in surprise when I saw the small crab on the hearth also, but it didn't move and it was for decoration and consumption.
The tasty surprises did not end when they brought out the desserts, lovingly prepared and tasty. My only regret it that I'm restricted to 8 photos, I had lots more to share with HGW readers.
Value: We were invited so I cannot comment on the prices but you can be sure it in the three digit range. Pricey but it will be appreciated by Asian friends who appreciate the decoration, service, food plating and quality of food.
Kudos to the HGW team for organizing & inviting me for the review session
Myself, being quite a fan of sushi & sashimi, as well as a self professed meatarian couldn’t be more pleased to be seated at KUMO to try out their signature Kaiseki menus.
1st & foremost, we were ushered to our private room that seats at least 12pax, where the staff, I’d prefer to call her the concierge for her extremely informative introductory & services rendered. We learnt that KUMO (Chef Nobu) holds the exclusive distribution rights to the produces from Saga Prefecture. Hence, almost everything on the menu originates from Saga, safe for the seasonal fresh catches & perhaps minute ingredients. They also pack a comprehensive alcohol list that they endeavor to maintain unique, where most on the list are rare finds on our island.
Presented to us were the 2 Signature Kaiseiki menus; Saga Wagyu Kaiseiki & Kumo Kaiseiki. All in all 8 courses each, lined up in specific sequence designed by the Chef to intrigue our palates. I could go on forever given the long list of assortments, but I’d make special highlights for the following:
From the Kumo Kaiseiki:
The Appetizer; a very interesting presentation; seasonal vegetables & braised prawn in Daishi (some sort of silver fish stock) Jelly.
Sashimi; Hamachi & Tai served with ground wasabe & pickled chrysanthemum petals & peppery sprouts, while the soya sauce was a concoction brewed & mixed by the chef, to achieve balance in the flavors that enter the mouth,
Yakimono; grilled US ribeye, I believe would have been rare, since I could savor the flavors & juices from the meat on each bite. The artistic flare inclusive of a tiny baked crab, crafted as part of the décor was a crunchy little snack on the side.
Takiawase; scallop & wintermelon in tofu thick soup, a timely dish to lighten up the palates
Noodle; Soumen - chilled Japanese thin wheat noodle, bears striking resemblance to our the Chinese rice noodles/ vermicelli, but packs a nice fragrance in the aftertaste.
From the Saga Wagyu Kaiseiki:
Soup; Braised Saga Wagyu & wintermelon in Bonito, relatively light colored yet flavorful soup, while the chunks of beef were tender to the bite.
Sashimi; Trevally & Tuna, also served with ground wasabe & pickled chrysanthemum petals & peppery sprouts, concocted soya sauce by the chef.
Yakimono; grilled Saga Wagyu on a miniature coal stove, juicy & succulent, tasted real good on its own.
Takiawase; Saga Wagyu Sukiyaki w/ soft boiled egg left the tongue craving for a little more, before the Saga Wagyu rice was served up to top the meal off.
Be reminded that the Kaiseiki is designed based on the ingredients in season, and subject to the catch of the day. Hence, what one experiences today is subject to minor changes on the next visit, or season menus.
A very delightful & fulfilling session I’d call it. Definitely a joint to consider should you decide to feed your oriental guests.
For whiskey lovers, this joint has a few award winners on the menu, and the Chef has also designed a menu that pairs with the whiskey variety.