Last week, St Regis held a 5 day "From the Land of the Rising Sun" which is a Japanese Arts Celebration. And they invited Japanese celebrity guest chef Hal Yamashita to head the Brasserie Les Saveurs for 3 days only.
Some of you may remember that Hal Yamashita was also a guest chef during the World Gourmet Summit, and due to popular demand, the hotle has brought back Chef Yamashita again. I like how the chef paid attention to the details, such as bringing over his own chopsticks to be used by all diners during these 3 days.
Chef Yamashita uses his own bottled Kobe water for all his food and also as drink for all his guests. The water, from Kobe, is slowly purified through layers of granite in Kobe's Rollo National Park. According to the chef, the water is soft and sweet with excellent mineral balance.
We had 2 different sets of Hal Yamashita Epicurean Lunch (S$88++ per guests). Actually everything is the same, just that the main course is different.
A brief introduction of how special the chef's Kobe Water is.
One of the most unique bread served is the bread roll baked with seaweeds. It's a fusion of European with Japanese. You can virtually eat the bread on its own without the need for any butter.
The 1st appetizer was the pretty Sakura flower crisp. And guess what's inside?
It's a light rillette. Absolutely yummy.
We had a small glass of Chef Yamashita's Sake Kimoto style Yamadanishiki Yamabiko 2008. It was really smooth and tasty.
Hal Yamashita Assortment - (From left to right) Spring roll, egg plant mousse, Foie Gras and sweet wine. Everything was perfect, and there were some surprises like how the Foie Gras had bits of cruchy prawns underneath it.
The service staff showed us the bottle for the sweet wine, freezing the grapes and then crushing them, all made in-house.
One of the very good Siraume Umeshu, or Plum-infused sake. Tastes rich and sweet, this Umeshu aids digestion and also whets the appetite.
The official first course begins with Carpaccio of Greater Amberjack Hal Yamashita-style with konbu. The Greater Amberjack sashimi is really fresh and sweet. And instead of the usual Sashimi dip, the chef did a light and savoury base sauce which complimented the raw sweetness of the sashimi.
One of the best mushroom soup I have tried in a long time, Chef Yamashita's version of the Potage soup of dried shitake and rice amazed us because the soup was creamy and flavourful, yet no cream was used to thicken the soup. Instead, healthy steamed rice was used instead.
Our of our 2 main course was the Japanese Bincho charcoal grilled Australian wagyu beef with sea urchin and konbu sauce, presented Zen style. Bincho charcoal, or known as Bincho-tan, is a "white" charcoal that does not emit smoke or other weird flavours when grilling food. Hence the natural flavours of the meat is not disturbed by other smells and tastes. Indeed, the Wagyu grade beef did not have any charcoal or smokey taste to it. It was tender, juicy and was paired with the slightly flame-burnt sea urchin. Wasabi and salt were also provided to flavour the beef.
Of all the dishes, my favourite was this Shouchu steamed abalone with grilled Tsukiji yellow tail. Any fishy taste of the abalone is cleverly removed by steaming it over Shochu. The whole dish is filled with flavours from the ocean.
I must also compliment the chef for using such fresh roes. The saltiness of the dish actually comes from the roe when the roe "explodes" in your mouth.
Azuki bean soup and honey cream was the final dessert dish for our lunch. A typical Japanese Azuki bean soup dessert given a western chocolate twist.
Ended our wonderful lunch with English Breakfast Tea from TWG
and also a Cappuccino
Before we left, Chef Yamashita signed 2 brand new pairs of his in-house chopsticks as souvenirs for us. Thank you chef!
We were then chauffeured back from the hotel in a Bentley, hearing many interesting stories from the driver about who sat in the Bentley before, and some other juicy tales.
To sum up our comments of this meal, I think if Chef Yamashita was to come and open a branch of his restaurant here in Singapore, it will be a worthy contender as one of the best Japanese restaurant here. Too bad he only comes during special occassion.
Hal Yamashita Epicurean Lunch
(28 Sep - 2 Oct 2010)
Brasserie Les Saveurs
29 Tanglin Road
The St. Regis Singapore