As mentioned previously it was Songie's birthday(yes I realise it was more than a month ago...) and we went to Ebisu to celebrate. We left around 7pm because you can't make reservations for dinner; you have to physically go there, "book" a table and wait for it(unless you are a group of 8 or more, which we weren't). Now, they recently had a change in menu that introduced some new things that are apparently rave-worthy, but I reserve judgement I suppose.
The decor of the restaurant was pleasantly classy and they made use of floral ornaments, with orchid pot plants scattered artfully around, and then(probably fake but I didn't check) sakura trees in a row behind a glass screen, warm tones to their seats, either with wooden chairs or tan, leather(?) seats. I guess you could say it had a kind of relaxing, zen vibe to it, especially with the low lighting. It's not so low you can barely see your dining companions but neither is it overly wonderful for your instagram photos, and you'd probably need a few lightening filters to see the food in the lower quality cameras of phones.
I suppose that like the seating, the whole area had a warm colouring. The brick walls patched up with concrete here and there left something to be desired but for once it wasn't the ceiling that was construction like. I guess the brick wall adds a bit of a edgy feel to it, like a warehouse or something, especially with all the open space.
|view from the bar|
|View from our seat|
|Jia and the sakura background and edamame|
We started off with Edamame, as everyone should. They're delicious. Steamed/boiled immature soybeans still in their pods, that are salted lightly. You can alternatively suck or encourage the bean with your teeth out of the husk(both together for maximum enjoyment!). In my opinion they're best eaten warm because the bean hardens up a bit when it gets colder and it's not as nice. We ended up getting a second order of it.
The next dish to come was the Hamachi Kingfish sashimi.
This. This was my favourite dish of the night. It didn't have a strong fish taste(which I usually hate and therefore end up not eating any sashimi but salmon) but it had the slightly crunchy flesh feeling of some sashimi. I'm not really sure how to explain it if you've never had it. On top, they sprinkled crunchy potato(?) crisps, and rolled inside were paper-thin slices of radish. The overall result? A refreshing, slightly tangy, mix of textures and flavours, with the slight aftertaste of the vegetables, but not strong or cloying. Oddly satisfying but not filling, and leaves you wanting a little more. It might have benefited from a sauce that gave a hint of saltiness though. Then again they do give you soy sauce at the table that I didn't try it with, maybe that's what I was looking for.
Free-range karaage chicken
I'm a fan of this one. The skin was a bit hard but it was thick and crunchy and just perfect, not dry or anything. It also came with Japanese mayonnaise which we all know is great.
Steamed prawn dumplings
Apparently this one was the most popular dish of the moment but personally I did not find it all that great. Maybe it was the factor that as an Asian, I eat delicious dumplings a lot and also the fact it was spicy so I couldn't really find it comparable. People love the sauce apparently(it has almonds so watch out you nut allergic people) and ask the servers for spoons a lot. I mean it's not bad; not too spicy, homemade almond oil and bit tangy. (Song here: The sauce is actually kind of addicting. It's incredibly oily, but the tangy-ness keeps you craving more. Not entirely sure if thats a good thing or not but I reckon this dish is worth a try just for the sauce alone.) The dumpling itself I found to be disappointing, I find the prawn dumplings at Yum Char to be much better. The skin was thick and the filling didn't taste of much, so I guess that whole appeal is in the sauce.
Soft shell crab
Seared Hokkaido scallops
I'm not really a scallop person and I think if I'd had more than one I'd be less praising but for now, I found them to be plump and tender, buttery but not too oily, and overall it was pleasant but still not something I'd eat a lot of. There's just something about scallops that's a tiny bit nauseating, I can't put my finger on it. Others love it though.
Tuna Ceviche Roll
All I tasted was ginger, which was put inside of the roll instead of on the side as usual. It tasted a lot better with soy sauce, but it still did not have much of it's own flavour.
Seared Cambridge Duck Breast
The staff were friendly, but because they were really busy they forgot things sometimes and were a little difficult to get the attention of. The manager went around constantly and talked to everyone, so kudos to him.
As with most Japanese foods, all the dishes were presented beautifully.
I didn't get the receipt because someone treated us and it's kind of awkward to as gok for the receipt but I gather it was around $120 give or take. It is a bit pricey but it feels reasonable. Top 3 are definitely the kingfish hamachi, the seared duck and the chicken karaage.
Thanks for reading~
P.S. Thank you to those who have been asking after the blog, made me(Jia.. And maybe secretly Songie) feel warm and fuzzy :D