October 8, 2021

A sweeter sweetfish

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Tonight was my final booking for Godenya (ごでんや) in 2021, and I was happy to once again share the private room with Mr. and Mrs. Birdiegolf. I have been a fan of the cuisine and sake pairings here over the years, and this is now one of my most-frequented restaurants in Hong Kong.

Kawahagi, mushroom, peanut, figs (皮剥  ホワイトマッシュルーム  落花生  いちじく) - this was somewhat different from the way many of us consume thread-sail filefish - this one coming from Nagasaki Prefecture - where the ratio of liver sauce to raw fish is often quite generous. Here we barely tasted the smoky liver sauce so the flavors were more delicate. Sweet figs, crunchy peanuts, and mushrooms complete the mix.

Iseno Shiroki Junmai Nama Sparkling (伊勢の白酒 純米生活性), 2020-21 - served at 10°C. Seimaibuai (精米歩合) of 65%. Good fruity acidity and fizzy on the palate, with a little lactic acid.

Watari-kani, matsutake, seri (渡蟹  松茸  せり) - the blue swimmer crab from Miyagi Prefecture came with a sauce made from its tomalley (蟹味噌), along with some grilled matsutake (松茸) which was pretty fragrant. Interesting to see the use of Chinese celery (せり) along with chrysanthemum petals.

Hoken Nakagumi Junmai Daiginjo (寳劔  中汲み 純米大吟醸), 2019-20 - served at 12°C. Seimaibuai of 40%. Very soft and rounded on the palate, but dry on the finish.

Buri, eggplant, shimeji-mushroom (鰤  茄子  大黒しめじ) - the yellowtail belly from Hokkaido was marinated in soy sauce for an hour, and I could certainly see the fatty marbling. Served with smoky eggplant and daikoku shimeji (大黒しめじ) beneath the yellowtail, and topped with some yuzu (柚子) jelly. The amaranth leaves on top were a little earthy...

Akai Ito Junmai Ginjo Nama (赤い糸  純米吟醸  生), 2020-21 - served at 13°C. Seimaibuai of 50%. Pretty sweet on the palate.

Ikura, scallop, taro, maitake (いくら  帆立  里芋  舞茸) - the scallops from Miyagi Prefecture was done mi-cuit, and we had marinated salmon roe from Hokkaido which came both as topping as well as a slow-cooked salmon roe sauce that was pretty salty for obvious reasons.

While the deep-fried taro balls were nice, the crispy rice ball was even better.  Goshima-san instructed us to make it into "TKG (卵掛けご飯)" with the salmon roe, and I dutifully complied.

Asahikiku Daichi Junmai Ginjo (旭菊  大地  純米吟醸), 30BY - served at 23°C. Seimaibuai of 50%. Sweet on the attack, more fermented notes on the palate, with good length on the finish.

Ayu, shiso-leaf, chestnut, winter melon, winged bean (子持ち鮎  大葉  栗  冬瓜  四角豆) - the sweetfish (鮎) from Aichi Prefecture were pregnant tonight. As usual, it was steamed and came with chiffonade of perilla leaves, along with deep-fried chips made with the fish's bones.

I do love my fish eggs...

Tonight the bitter innards of the fish have been removed and replaced with a chestnut paste. This was, naturally, pretty sweet... and worked really, really well with the fish.

Rumikono Sake Yamahai Junmai Yamadanishiki (るみ子の酒  山廃  純米  山田錦), 2017-18 - served at 46°C. Seimaibuai of 60%. Served pretty warm, and I could smell the acidity in the nose.

Kinki-fish, chanterelle, sarcodon aspratus, pine nut, rice (キンキ  あんず茸  香茸  松の実 米) - instead of the usual abalone, we were presented with broadbanded thornyhead (喜知次) from Hokkaido on top of the risotto. I love how succulent the fish is, and tonight we've also got a sauce on top made with the fish's liver, and some finger lime caviar for acidiy balance. Pretty decent version of the house signature risotto...

Maibijin Gaiden Yamahai Junmai Muroka Nama (舞美人  外伝  山廃純米  無濾過生原酒), 2019-20 - served at 11°C. Seimaibuai of 60%. This smelled like one of those drinking vinegars, and almost like that Japanese crab vinegar we have at home. It's got that bit of savory notes like Huadiao, but this also had some fruitiness.

Tachiuo-fish, ginko, lotus root, sweet potato, konbu (太刀魚  銀杏  蓮根  薩摩芋  昆布) - the cutlass fish from Takeoka (竹岡) in Chiba Prefecture was grilled and came with a sauce made with ginkgo and kelp.

Komagura Haruka Gonen Junmai Koshu (独楽蔵 悠五年  純米古酒), 2015-16 - served at 48°C. Seimaibuai of 60%. Almost smoky, oxidized, and savory. Expected for a koshu (古酒) aged for at least 5 years.

Inaniwa-udon, fish-foup (饂飩  魚介スープ) - the broth was made with fish bones and mussels. Definitely very fishy, which not everyone enjoyed.

Caramel ice, pecan nuts, ume-sake (キャラメルアイス  ピーカンナッツ  梅酒) - we got chunks of pear and persimmon underneath the delicious caramel ice cream. Yum!

Yamagata Masamune Torotoro Umeshu (山形正宗 とろとろ梅酒)

Another evening of delicious food and sake making for some happy campers. For some tonight's sweetfish was the best version they've ever tasted here, as the sweet chestnut stuffing was better received than the usual bitter innards of the fish. I guess I'll have to wait for the reservation system to reopen so that I can secure seats sometime in the first quarter of 2022...

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