August 30, 2015

City of Dreams tour: Shinji-teiru

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A couple of hours after we failed to get some charcoal toast sandwiches for breakfast and had to settle for some pasteis de nata from Margaret's Café e Nata, it was time to check out of the Hard Rock Hotel Macau and head next door for lunch.

Shinji by Kanesaka only opened at The Crown Towers Macau earlier this year.  Having paid a visit to the honten almost exactly 5 years ago - and having read e_ting's post on her visit a couple of months ago - I was pretty confident that the quality of food would be pretty high.  For this lunch, it was poor Emily's turn to sacrifice part of her weekend and waste it on a couple of nobodies from Hong Kong...

We were very kindly offered the omakase lunch so that we could sample a wider range of Chef Osumi Toru's repertoire.  So glad that we decided to have a light breakfast!

Corn soup (とうもろこしのすり流し) - made with dashi (鰹だし) and garnished with a couple of green soybeans (枝豆).  A nice and refreshing start.

Rosy seabass (喉黒) - lightly torched (炙り).

Japanese horse hair crab (毛蟹) - covered in a layer of yuba (湯葉), served with a ponzu (ポン酢) jelly, and garnished with a dab of crab tomalley (蟹味噌) and minced ginger on top.  Very nice.

It was at this point that I saw Osumi-san pull out the box of tuna, and realized that when asked about our dietary preferences at the start of the meal, the only thing I offered up was cod milt (白子) - which can't be imported into Macau anyway.  At a sushiya of this caliber, I would expect that the tuna being served to be bluefin, and that would be off limits for me.  So I apologized to Osumi-san and asked for substitutes...  I could see that he was caught off guard, and maybe a little perturbed, but I hope he eventually forgave me.

Glass shrimp (白海老) - my first substitute.  Garnished with a dollop of marinated bonito guts (鰹酒盗), as well as perilla (紫蘇) leaf chiffonade. 

Pacific saury (秋刀魚) - lightly torched.  Love that tasty fish oil.

Pickled mustard (榨菜) - a little surprised to find a Japanese chef serving this as a palate-cleanser... especially since it's kinda spicy.

Fat greenling tempura (鮎並 天婦羅) - topped with a tomato tempura, and perilla chiffonade.  The acidity here cut down the oiliness of the tempura.

Geoduck (海松貝) - crunchy as expected.
Japanese hairtail (太刀魚) - lightly torched but still very tender, although the skin was rather crunchy.  Served with minced spring onion (葱おろし) and dressed with a little yuzu (柚子).
Octopus (鮹) - slow-cooked and very tender.
Tilefish (甘鯛) - nicely grilled.  Served with some sweet white miso on the side in addition to the lime.

Now we start on the sushi portion of the meal...

Striped jack (縞鰺)

Squid (烏賊) - with a little sudachi (酢橘).

Splendid alfonsino (金目鯛) - nicely torched on the skin side.  I love this fish... especially when you melt the fat a little with some heat.

Baby seabream (春子鯛) - only around 6 months old.  This was marinated much in the same way that chefs marinate gizzard shad (小鰭).

Horse mackerel (鯵) - a beautiful, fatty piece.  With some perilla in between the shari (しゃり) and neta (ねた), and topped with some asatsuki (浅葱).

Gizzard shad (小鰭) - I've never had it served quite like this before... just one single stroke splitting it in half.  Love the vinegar marinade.

Salmon roe (イクラ)

Japanese green sea urchin (馬糞雲丹) - from Rishiri (利尻). 

Clam (蛤) - not quite drenched in the sweet sauce the way Jiro does it, but still a little sweet.  A little yuzu.

Conger eel (穴子) - grilled and lathered in sauce, with a sprinkle of sansho pepper (山椒).

Ark shell mantle roll (赤貝のひも巻き) - Osumi-san makes some interesting rolls, and for me he used the mantle of ark shells together with cucumber - instead of tuna.  Pretty cool.

In terms of sushi, it was interesting to find there was enough vinegar in the rice to be noticeable, without being in-your-face the way Jiro does it.  The rice grains were actually a little harder than I expected, which isn't the norm in this part of the world.  My only complaint is that I felt Osumi-san sometimes didn't pack the rice grains tightly enough, and on a couple of occasions, the shari fell apart as I picked the pieces up with my fingers.

Egg (卵) - this was a lot creamier and mushier than most versions I've had -almost like a cheesecake.  Later I realized that this was also the style at the Kanesaka honten.

The dessert was a combination of fruits and sweets.  A chunk of Miyazaki mango and a chunk of Melox (メロックス) melon from Shizuoka sat underneath some sake ice cream, which came with some peach coulis and... yup... gold foil.  Besides the single Kyoho (巨峰) grape was a citrus wedge.  This would be a jelly made with hyuganatsu (日向夏) citrus, with chunks of the flesh inside.

Our last nibble would be some dorayaki (どら焼き) - Doraemon (ドラえもん)'s favorite.

This was a very good meal... and certainly a lot to take in for lunch! I had high expectations coming in, and I took note of the creativity Osumi-san brought with him.  Unfortunately we had to make a run to the ferry terminal so that I could get back to Hong Kong for a long-awaited dinner, which cut down on the time I was able to spend chatting with the chef.  Many thanks to the PR team at the City of Dreams for treating us to so much good food over the weekend!

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