April 27, 2014

Sakura birthday

Pin It

It's been over a year, but we've had two birthdays in the Tigger family this month, and it was time for me to take the ladies out to dinner.  We're back at Tenku RyuGin (天空龍吟) for this occasion to sample the spring menu, and of course there is one ingredient in particular that we were really looking forward to...

Spring is the season when Japanese chefs love to showcase the use of seasonable vegetables, and tonight was no exception.

Spring mountain vegetables medley with abalone, hokki and kobashira, mousse sorbet of grapefruit (春野菜のお浸し 生姜と木の芽の香り "煮鮑" "小柱" "北寄貝" グレープフルーツのムースソルベともに) - the spring vegetables included Japanese royal ferns (ゼンマイ) and Japanese parsley (芹).  As the veggies may be slightly bitter - which turned out not to be the case - we were advised to mix the grapefruit sorbet in with them to neutralize the bitter flavors.  The surf clam and baby scallops were OK, but the abalone was very nice and tender.

Showcase of "fuki" flower, charcoal grilled "Iberico pork wing", Inca potato with fuki miso sauce ("ふきみそ" イベリコ豚 "翼" 北海道 "インカのめざめ" 炭火焼) - not a fan.  The cut of pork shoulder blade was a little lean, or maybe it was the way it was cooked, but this was slightly on the dry side.  Didn't really get why they needed to grind the butterbur buds (ふきのとう) into the miso (味噌).  The walnut shavings on the side were kinda interesting.

"Black custard" with hotaru baby squid ("ホタルイカ" の茶碗蒸し) - what an awesome dish!  Not your average chawanmushi (茶碗蒸し), since this was made with ink from the firefly squid, and with a few of the yummy squid on top along with radish, scallion shoots (芽ねぎ)...etc. They also sprinkled some yuzu (柚子) rind on top so that the fragrance can counteract the strong fishy flavors of the squid, which was a nice touch, but I would have been just as happy to have the full, unadulterated fishy squid taste in my mouth.

Green peas and scallop dumpling in ichiban-dashi soup with traditional spring combination of bamboo and wakame (引き立て一番出汁への想い 帆立とうすい豆の真蒸 若竹仕立て) - they always have some sort of dumpling (団子) in ichiban-dashi (一番出汁) here, and tonight the soft texture of the dumpling was really nice, with little chunks of scallops inside.  Ichiban-dashi's flavors are very delicate, and we were instructed to dip the sansho leaf (木の芽) in the soup first to enhance the flavors.

Assortment of sashimi (本日のお造り盛合せ) - well, I forgot to tell them that I don't eat tuna sushi, so I ended up giving my pieces of Mr. and Mrs. Tigger.  I just had the squid, which was very nicely scored.

"Charcoal-fried" flounder wrapped with kadaif ("Charcoal-fried" 炭の香りで包まれた鮃) - our dinner here last year also featured fish prepared the same way, but tonight we had flounder instead of golden alfonsino (金目鯛).  Not quite as delicious because of the fish itself, but still very yummy.  Served with Japanese Amela tomatoes (アメーラトマト) as well as perilla-flavored ground radish (紫蘇おろし).

Sukiyaki "kuroge wagyu beef sirloin" with green asparagus, morel mushroom and onsen tamago ("春のすき焼き" モリーユ茸 グリーンアスパラ 太陽の卵) - beef is always one of the highlights here, and I can't remember ever not liking their sukiyaki (すき焼き).  Tonight in addition to the incredibly tender beef, we have taiyouran (太陽卵) from Nagasaki (長崎) - which are organic, delicious and awesome.  There were also some asparagus from Hokkaido (北海道) as well as morel mushrooms.

Rice simmered in "sakura tea" with deep fried "sakura shrimp" from Surugawan Bay (龍吟名物 静岡駿河湾 "桜海老" 御飯) - truth be told, this was what we came for tonight.  Deep-fried sakura shrimp over rice.  The shrimps were still really, really, really yummy.  The rice still very nicely done.  But tonight they sprinkled some plum powder, which turned everything a little more acidic and overpowered the delicate flavors of sakura in the rice...  The pickles on the side were pieces of sakura-infused Chinese yam (山芋), along with a sakura leaf.

Time to cleanse the palate with a cup of sencha (煎茶), which the local staff insisted on calling "green tea (緑茶)"...

RyuGin specialty -196°C strawberry candy and +99°C strawberry jam (苺ミルク -196°Cのいちご飴+99°Cの飴炊きいちご) - somehow, I don't think I'll ever get tired of this dessert the same way I've grown tired of the warm-centered/molten chocolate cake..  VERY yum.  I tried to crack a joke about "冰火", but it was either ignored, or someone didn't get it...

"Zero sugar dessert" "amazake" 100% naturally sweet rice blanc-manger ("Zero sugar dessert" "自家製 甘酒" のブランマンジェ) - this was a "zero sugar" dessert because there was no need to add additional refined sugar to something made from sweet rice wine!  The blanc-manger had a very nice texture, but then again I've always loved anything that wobbles...

We were then served cups of the very same amazake (甘酒) used to make the blanc-manger, and were told that this particular brew did not have any alcohol... which was pretty weird.  Pretty delish.  Oh, and can I just say how much I looooove those little wooden cups?  Amazing craftsmanship.

And... we finished off with the obligatory cup of macha (抹茶).  Very nice.

This being a special occasion, of course I brought out something a little special... even shelling out the somewhat outrageous corkage of HKD 1,000 to open this bottle of sake.

Born Chogin Junmai Daiginjo (梵 超吟 純米大吟醸), 24BY - incredibly fine seimaibuai (精米歩合) of just 20%.  Alcohol was a little sharp, perhaps because it wasn't as cold as it should have been for the first pour.  Pretty full-bodied sake, with very rich and deep flavors, or what Japanese would call "コクがある."  On the palate, it was sweet on the attack, but turned dry and slightly bitter on the finish.  Very much full-on fermented rice flavors.

I'm happy I came back after a reasonably long absence, and for once I didn't feel like I was stuffed to the brim tonight.  Now I need to make plans to come back in a few weeks when they start their summer menu...

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map