Late last year, Resorts World @ Sentosa announced that 4-Michelin stars Japanese chef Kunio Tokuoka wil be opening his first ever restaurant outside of Japan.
His 2 restaurants back in Japan are the 3 Michelin stars Kyoto Kitcho Arashiyama and 1 Michelin star Hana Kitcho in Kyoto. This has created quite a stir among Japanese food lovers in Singapore.
The New York Times wrote recently that "chef Kunio Tokuoka is one of the Japan's most famous, his restaurant a magnet for visiting European and American chefs and politicians, as well as, apparently, the occasional maharajah."
We were personally invited today by chef Kunio Tokuoka to enjoy his famous Kaiseki, which was personally prepared by Chef Kunio himself at his new restaurant Kunio. This is a multi-course meal using the best seasonal ingredients available at that particular time.
3 talented artists, including a bonsai artist, were roped in to design his first overseas restaurant in Sentosa. The decor here is on par with that of Iggy's.
For our preview luncheon, Chef Kunio Tokuoka personally prepared a special Kaiseki Menu. According to the set menu list given to his by his restaurant, our Kaiseki lunch costs a whopping S$750.00 per person. Do note that some of the ingredients were replaced by other ingredients for our Kaiseki set, so it may be different from other days.
Started off our lunch with a bubbly Moet & Chandon. The very polite and friendly Japanese manager personally served us today's lunch. During the meal, were were also served Japanese mineral water, and also one of the best Sake in Japan (which I forgot to note down).
Our first course was seasonal vegetable and lightly blackened large prawn with tosazu jelly. Chef Kunio loves to add a touch of modern to the traditional Kaiseki menu. One of the prawn had a mild tandoori taste to it, while the other prawns were flavoured with Asian condiments.
For the vegetables, it was a mixture of ladies fingers and some Japanese ginger.
The traditional chawanmushi with raw abalone liver thinly sliced accompanied by abalone liver sauce. I believe this is my 1st time trying out abalone liver sauce, and I am glad to report that there is no liver taste or smell to it. The chawanmushi is incredibly light. This could only come out from the hands of a great chef. The green ball on top is minced ginger and spring onion.
Assorted sashimi. The chef included 2 little sushi rice balls with freshly toasted seaweed on top of the rice. The yellowish seafood in the background is actually grilled geoduck. Chef Kunio told us he wanted to use some local ingredients from Singapore and he kept that in mind when creating all these new Kaiseki dishes in his restaurant. The white fish was a Japanese fish which had an interesting texture to it. When biting into it, you can actually feel that the outer layer is a bit "crispy".
However, the star is the fatty tuna. Look at the marbling of the tuna. Each piece of the tuna is perfectly marbled, just like wagyu beef. The tuna was very very sweet and fresh. Specially imported from Japan.
A very hearty Seasonal vegetables and chicken covered with thick liquid starch sauce topped with egg white foam. The chicken was grilled and went well with the sauce and crunchy vegetables.
This is my favourite dish of the day - Beef Sukiyaki kunio style. Let's talk about the Wagyu beef here first. The beef comes from Miyazaki, on the island of Kyushu in Japan. Chef Kunio first quickly cooked the wagyu beef through a sukiyaki style at a temperature of 67 degrees. This is because at this temperature, the protein in the beef is not destroyed, but the beef itself is cooked. You can see from the picture that the fibers on the beef is still intact even though it is cooked.
This is really comfort food. Thick egg yolk sauce covering the sukiyaki beef, with sweet white onion slices, grilled tofu and a sprinkle of Japanese pepper. I could eat this again and again and not get tired it it.
The Clam risotto & seasonal vegetable ten-don style was served in a beautiful red bowl. According to Chef Kunio, the Japanese rice was cooked in clam broth. The vegetables were done in a tempura style.
The Japanese rice is of a variety called 鱼沼. I like how the crunchy tempura compliments the sticky rice grains.
The finale of our Kaiseki lunch was this Sweet Soy Milk pudding. It was very very light, yet creamy and not too sweet. I like this dessert a lot.
Chef Kunio stayed around and talked to us for a while. Before we left, we were given this special momento from the restaurant.
So was it worth the S$750 price tag? Well, if you love Japanese food and appreciates the work and research done to put out such a wonderful meal, then I think it is worth the price.
Of course, they have ala-carte menu. Some items on the menu includes their special grilled chicken rice at S$30 and seafood tempura warm handmade udon at S$40.
Kunio is located at RWS Crockfords Tower, and is accessible from Festive Walk. The restaurant will be opening its doors to the public this Sunday 02 May 2010. Reservations start 01 May 2010.
26 Sentosa Gateway,