April 4, 2014

Getting lost in the Wanch

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A friend is in town from Taipei, and I promised to take her out somewhere nice where we could enjoy a bottle of sake.  I figured it would be a good opportunity to check out somewhere I hadn't been before, so I booked us seats at Gin Sai (吟彩) after failing to get a table at Wagyu Takumi next door.

I picked my friend up at her hotel, and decided to walk to the restaurant as it was pretty close by.  What was to be a 5-minute walk turned into a 30-minute ordeal, as we kept going around in circles despite having the use of Google Maps and a smartphone with GPS capabilities.  As I found out after calling another friend at the restaurant, I had typed in the wrong address - Cross Street instead of Cross Lane - into Google Maps... EPIC FAIL...

Needless to say we arrived at the restaurant pretty late.  On our way to the last two seats at the far end of the counter, I greeted 娜姐 and her friend at another table.  It was pure coincidence that they were also at the resto tonight, and we would end up sharing a table towards the end of the evening.

I was a little flustered from getting lost, and since my friend refused to have much input, I randomly picked a few things from the wide range of items available, starting with some tempura (天ぷら).

Squid (烏賊) - very thick slice, and pretty satisfying.  A little more chewy than I expected.

Sea eel (穴子) - pretty decent.

Chopped scallops with trefoil (生ホタテと三つ葉のかき揚げ) - pretty nice.

Grilled ox tongue (牛舌) - very, very good and satisfying.

Seiro steamed king crab leg with seasonal vegetables (たらば蟹の蒸籠蒸し) - nice chunks of delicious, sweet crab meat here, plus a bunch of different veggies.  I preferred to have the crab as is, without using the yuzu ponzu (柚子ポン酢) and other condiments.

Wagyu sukiyaki with seasonal vegetables (特選和牛すき焼き) - pretty delish given fatty wagyu was used.  But I was a little (unpleasantly) surprised that we only got 5 little slices of beef for the price...

Juyondai Special (十四代 秘酒), 25BY - prominent nose of fermented rice and banana.  Very soft and elegant, round on the palate, then slowly builds up to a long and spicy finish.  Seimaibuai of 40%.  I brought this back from Tokyo, and now regret having only bought 1 bottle of this!

Bijofu Yumebakari (美丈夫 夢許), 26BY - nose was very fruity, tropical, melon.  Very full-bodied and more powerful right from the start.  Seimaibuai of 30%.  娜姐 was drinking this with her friend, and very kindly sent over a couple of glasses.

I had tempered my expectations for this place before I arrived as the reviews have been mixed, although I've always had confidence in restaurants backed by Peter Lam.  I guess the food tonight met my expectations overall.  But I was happy to have caught up with my friends and shared a few drops of delicious sake together.

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