Helmed by Chef Yoshiyuki who spent seven years as personal chef to diplomatic missions in San Francisco and Singapore, the eponymous Kaiseki Yoshiyuki is a kaiseki restaurant in Forum Shopping Mall in Orchard Road that focuses on seasonal menus based on what it available at Tsukiji market in Tokyo.
One of the quirks about the restaurant is that all staff are banned from using peelers. Instead, the kitchen crew is made to only use knives in order to make sure each edible component including the thin and evenly sliced cucumber or daikon twirls, are knife-sliced by the chefs.
I was recently invited over to Kaiseki Yoshiyuki to sample its seasonal menu. At the time, the restaurant was serving the Hinamatsuri menu, a 9-course meal that comes with a serving of the very first variety of sake for the year, the Shiro-zake (non-alcoholic sake).
We started off with akagai for Sakizuke, meaty red clams with a noticeably orange-y tip that was just enough to whet the appetite for the rest that’s to come.
Next came this awfully photogenic plate with servings of river shrimp sushi (Temari), white bait and octopus wrapped into sushi balls and served along with broad beans and gluten puffs.
I’ve had Hamaguri clams a few times now but I didn’t know they’re supposed to symbolize a happy marriage. This time round, the clams were turned into a large ball and served as a soup – supposedly a tradition during Japanese Girl’s Day. I loved how refreshing the broth was – thanks to Chef Yoshiyuki’s dashi.
This course is served in two plates – the Tai or Sea Bream first followed by the Maguro (tuna). The maguro was the undoubted highlight – perhaps one of the most delectable I’ve tasted in a while. With an almost melt-in-your-mouth quality, the finely sliced chutoro and otoro were topped with shoyu foam which was so addicting you’ll want to slather it over the fish. There’s also a large wasabi leaf at the bottom which is great to eat it by itself or together with the fish. I wanted to savor the flavors of the fish and ended up eating the leaf with whatever was left of the foam.
We had the grilled Sawara Bunka Yaki for our Yakimono course. It consisted of grilled mackerel slathered with an egg and oil mixture. The fish possessed a nice flaky exterior that contrasted against the juicy flesh.
A light serving of bamboo shoots marked the next dish. Served with nothing but a bit of vegetables, bonito flakes and dashi, it was a nice breather before we moved on to the next dish.
Another soup dish, Chef Yoshiyuki presents a couple of finely sliced wagyu from the Kagoshima region of Japan and transfers them into a pot. The beef is so delicately sliced that you’d immediately see it turn from red to brown once in the pot. Like the maguro that came three courses prior, the wagyu was unbelievably fine with a sweetness that lasts for a few seconds until the meat disintegrates inside your mouth.
I was already quite full by this part of the meal but as is the custom to have the carbohydrate dish towards the end, you get this serving of rice made even more fragrant (and crunchy!) with ebi. In case you’re not able to finish it, fret not. Chef Yoshiyuki would be happy to turn the leftovers into onigiri for you to enjoy another time.
I love good matcha and the one they serve at the end of the meal is wondrously bitter and is as pure as it gets. It was a good counterpoint to the sweet red bean pastry served alongside it. You also get a slice of the famously expensive (and sweet!) Japanese cantaloupe from the Shizuoka region.
Aside from the elaborate kaiseki meals, Kaiseki Yoshiyuki is also serving donburi lunch sets priced at $25 to $35 at the neighboring venue, Horse’s Mouth! The set includes an appetizer, the rice bowl itself, miso soup and dessert.
The Forum Shopping Mall
583 Orchard Road
Phone: +65 8188 0900