July 13, 2016

Ice and fire dinner

Pin It

Godenya (ごでんや) is probably one of the toughest restaurants to get a seat at in Hong Kong.  Up until recently, the restaurant had a capacity of just 8 seats - 6 at the counter, and another two at a table.  That capacity was expanded significantly when their private room finally opened last month, which allows for another 6 seats.  Reservations is strictly via their website, and with such limited seating, it's no wonder that most of the available spots are filled almost as soon as they become available.

I have had the pleasure of dining here only once, when the Man in White T-Shirt kindly offered me a seat at a pop-up last year.  Even though the cuisine didn't come from the chef here, the sake pairing from Goshima Shinya (五嶋慎也) left a deep impression on me.

I finally got around to book seats via their website - a whole 2½ months in advance.  As the cuisine is seasonal and would likely include crustaceans as ingredients, and the restaurant discourages people with allergies from visiting, I had to disinvite a very dear friend after making the reservation...

I met our friends Birdie Golf and Mrs Snoopy on a street corner nearby, and led our gang down the dark back alley to the restaurant.  It really IS a hole-in-the-wall...

Peach, glass shrimp, soy milk (白桃 白海老 豆乳) - on top of the soy milk panna cotta at the bottom was a pool of shrimp consommé, with chunks of Japanese white peach as well as a pile of Japanese glass shrimp (白海老) from Toyama Prefecture (富山県).  The raw shrimp was sweet and tasty as expected, and the peach was pretty sweet.  The shrimp consommé was cool and refreshing, with surprisingly clean and focused flavors.  A beautiful dish to start.

Zarusouhourai Junmai Ginjo Queeen Nama (残草蓬莱 純米吟醸 クイィーン 生), 2016 - served at 12°C.  An unpasteurized cloudy sake (薄にごり) with a seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 60%.  This showed strong fermented rice flavors, almost like an overripe peach with that alcoholic flavor.  In that sense this was the perfect pairing with the peaches in the first dish.

Rock oyster, seaweed (岩牡蠣 海苔) - June to August is the best season for the Japanese rock oyster coming from the deep seas around Mie Prefecture (三重県).  The texture was kinda crunchy, and the flavors were more briney and less creamy than I had expected.  The pile of nori (のり) seaweed underneath the purple perrilla leaves was really, really delicious.

Tamagawa Ice Breaker Junmai Ginjo Nama (玉川 アイスブレーカー 純米吟醸生), 2016 - served at 13°C.  An unfiltered (無濾過) and unpasteurized sake with a seimaibuai of 60%.  Tasted like fermented rice, with a little nutty flavor or liked dry tofu.

Abalone, liver, rice (蝦夷鮑 鮑肝 米) - what a beautiful dish!  The Ezo (蝦夷) abalone from Hokkaido was first steamed and then sautéed.  Served on a bed of risotto cooked with Parmigiano-Reggiano, toasted pine nuts, shiitake mushrooms, and zucchini.  What made the dish, of course, was that deliciously rich and powerful abalone liver sauce on top.  Probably my favorite dish of the evening.

Sogen Junmai Nama (宗玄 純米生), 2015 - served at 43°C.  Unfiltered and unpasteurized with a seimaibuai of 65%.  Sweeter on the palate, with a spicy and alcoholic back palate.

Bonito, roe, Iberico ham, beets, black olive (鰹 魚卵 イベリコハム ビーツ 黒オリーブ) - neither Hello Kitty nor I are fans of beetroot, but in this case the dish worked out much better than we expected.  The earthy flavors were covered up by the black olive purée, as well as the smoky flavors of the smoked salmon roe (イクラ) and the bonito flakes.  Texture-wise the beets kinda worked very well with the slices of raw bonito, while the salmon roe and the shredded jamón ibérico on top added interesting dimensions to the mouth feel.  All in all, a very tasty and interesting dish.

Kazenomori Yamada Nishiki 80% Junmai Shiborihana Nama (風の森 山田錦80% 純米しぼり華 生), 2016 - served at 12°C.  With seimaibuai of 80%.  Nice and easy to drink, with medium sweetness as well as dryness.  A little banana on the nose.

Kamo eggplant, morel mushrooms, lobster bisque (賀茂茄子 モレルマッシュルーム) - I love Kamo eggplant, and here it's been split in half and scored in the middle they way that one would a mango.  The morels are delicious, but it was the lobster bisque in the bowl that made my eyes pop.  Really, really tasty stuff.  I could barely contain my giddiness as I delivered spoonful after spoonful into my mouth.

Tenyurin Tokubetsu Junmaishu (天遊琳 特別純米酒), 2003 - served at 48°C.  With a seimaibuai of 55%.  Medium and slightly sweet on the attack, but dry on the finish.  Nose of salty plum along with some savory minerals.  Starting to exhibit the characteristics of a koshu (古酒).  Released in 2016.

Lamb, Manganji pepper, blue cheese (羊 万願寺唐辛子 ブルーチース) - how interesting that the lamb was served with Okinawan bitter gourd (ごうや) and okra, along with Manganji pepper (万願寺唐辛子).  Even better was pairing it with sauce made with Fourme d'Ambert.

Taenohana Kimoto Junmai Nama 90% (妙の華 きもと純米生), 2016 - served at 18°C.  With a very high seimaibuai at a whopping 90%.  A little viscous, almost a little creamy with some acidity... like drinking Calpis (カルピス).  Nice and elegant on the attack, sweet on the palate with the blue cheese sauce, but with a spicy finish.

Wild ayu (天然鮎) - this came out in a Chinese bamboo steamer.  'Tis the season for sweetfish (鮎), and the surprise was that it was steamed Cantonese style... by pouring hot oil and soy sauce on top.  This is a very, very bony fish - meaning there were TONS of long, thin bones inside.  Eating this took some effort, since the bones were still a little hard.  I guess that's why high-end Japanese restaurants often serve baby sweetfish, or deep-fry them to get the bones to a crisp.  In any case, the wild sweetfish from Shimanto River (四万十川) in Kochi Prefecture (高知県) was very, very tasty.  Steaming it seemed like the perfect way to bring out the delicate flavors.  The guts inside - with the liver - delivered a strong and bitter flavor with a sweet finish on the tongue.  It's exactly how the Japanese would love to have their fish.

Yoemon Junmai (酔右衛門 純米), 2011 - served at 47°C.  Unfiltered sake with seimaibuai of 70%.  Nice acidity here and a little spicy.  Released 2016.

Crude wheat udon, mussels soup (玄麦饂飩 ムール貝スープ) - the udon (うどん) from Chiba Prefecture () was so thin that it almost seemed like soba (そば) in terms of texture.  The soup base was made with surf clams (北寄貝) and flounder (鮃) bones, but the fragrance of mussels from Iwate Prefecture (岩手県) was prominent and unmistakable.  Very sweet and flavorful on the palate, yet there's a certain elegance here.  Drinking the soup delivered that warm and fuzzy feeling - so comforting.  So simple.  So good.

Black cherry, pistachio, sake (さくらんぼ ピスタチオ 日本酒) - I had conflicting feelings about the dessert.  The pistachio ice cream was rich and dense, with loads of pistachio flavors.  But the "topping" - made with the accompanying cloudy sake that had been frozen for a day - was rather bitter.  I would have preferred to do without the frozen sake.

Kinpo Shizenshu Nigorishu (金宝 自然酒 にごり酒), 2016 - a really thick, cloudy sake with a seimaibuai of 80%.  Alcoholic, spicy, and bitter on the palate.

This was a wonderful dinner.  Wonderful Japanese ingredients.  Seemingly simple yet very complex flavor combinations.  Good sake pairings with the occasional stroke of genius.  Not costing the diner an arm and a leg.  No wonder this place is tough to book.  I'm already regretting not booking a table immediately when the website opened up for reservations again 2 weeks ago.

No comments:


Related Posts with Thumbnails

TripAdvisor Travel Map