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2020-03-09 734 views
This Japanese restaurant is located in Kennedy Town, with the black sliding door very low profile and could easily miss. Luckily there is the wooden plaque with the name of the restaurant 'Kyo' engraved to identify. Arriving early at 6:30 pm, we went in and was greeted warmly, showing us to the sushi counter.The restaurant is pretty small, with a main sushi counter having 12 seats, and I believe there are a couple of private rooms at the back. The decor is nice and chic, with the stone wall back
This Japanese restaurant is located in Kennedy Town, with the black sliding door very low profile and could easily miss. Luckily there is the wooden plaque with the name of the restaurant 'Kyo' engraved to identify. Arriving early at 6:30 pm, we went in and was greeted warmly, showing us to the sushi counter.
The restaurant is pretty small, with a main sushi counter having 12 seats, and I believe there are a couple of private rooms at the back. The decor is nice and chic, with the stone wall background a nice contrast to the more common wooden setting in other restaurants. The chef was busy preparing the ingredients and while there are other chefs in the kitchen, throughout the night it was only him serving all the customers. But he showed ease and managed very well the orders and sequencing.
Asking the chef to recommend a bottle of sake to accompany our Omakase course ($1500 each) tonight, he went to the fridge and searched for a while, finally picking 環日本海 大吟醸 from 島根県 日本海酒造株式会社 ($1300). The sake has a very nice fragrance and matched very well with the food on the night indeed.
The first course was an appetizer, including Chicken Gizzard in Vinegar, Miso Grilled Ox Tongue, and Deep-fried Tuna Blood. A very creative choice, the gizzard has a nice bite and the vinegar made it appetizing, while the ox tongue has more intense flavors. The highlight was certainly the blood clot, and first time I heard of such, let alone tasted. It got a texture more similar to meat without any fishy stench. I applaud the chef for his creativity.
The second course was a Ripe Tomato from Shizuoka, Hirame (Olive Flounder) from Hokkaido, and Engawa of the Hirame. The tomato was very sweet and juicy, a great way to cleanse the palate, before enjoying the delicate taste of the hirame. The chef has added some sea salt and some lime juice to enhance the flavors further. The engawa has been lightly torched to liven the oil, and the crunchiness of the texture with the nice fish oil made it phenomenal, with or without the wasabi. Very good ingredients and careful way to prepare them.
The third course was Live Oyster from Iwate. The oyster was very large in size, and seeing the chef taking the oyster from the shell, thoroughly washed and then put in iced water to keep the flesh crisp. After cutting in halves to allow easy eating, the chef added some home-made cranberry sauce. With some question mark on that, to my surprise the sauce matched perfectly with the creamy oyster, not only did not bring any metallic note but giving the acidity and a touch of sweetness to complement. Another smart choice and demonstration of how innovative the chef is.
The fourth course was Kinki from Hokkaido, with a nice slide cut out and then slightly torched on the skin. The chef then put the marinated liver on top with some chives, and underneath added some kelp. The fish has a great soft texture, and the fish oil nicely seeped into the flesh. But the true wonder was how the liver adding to the overall flavor profile.
The fifth course was Live Akagai from Kyushu. Again we have the privilege to see how the chef open the large clam and then clean it up, removing the inedible parts and then putting the clam into iced water to keep it crisp and crunchy. After cutting according to the muscle orientation, the chef hit the clam hard and we can see the clam meat retracted. Truly fresh and tasty, it was one of the best akagai I have tasted in town.
The sixth course was Barracuda, and the chef has grilled it and then adding some caviar on top. Before eating, he also told us to remove the basil flowers from the stem, and eating together with the fish it added some spicy flavors to the fish. A nice one, and the fish was not often available in other sushi restaurants in town.
The seventh course was Marinated Monkfish Liver. The chef had taken out a box where he had marinated the monkfish liver and selected a few pieces, then cut in halves, before putting some sauce and serve. The liver was creamy, intense on flavors and in my opinion was greater than the foie gras by far without the oiliness. I forgot to ask the chef the seasonings used to marinate but it was nicely complementary to the liver. Another nice one.
The eighth course was something right in the current season, Hotaru-Ika or firefly squid. The chef first removed the eyes and other inedible parts of the squid and then cut to remove the bone, before putting some mashed ginger on top. The squid was sweet in taste, fresh and not rubbery at all. Very nice.
The ninth course was Kegani, or mitten crab. The chef had taken the meat out from the shell, with the main body shredded and placed on the bottom, followed by the crab yolk on top which added tremendous flavors to the delicate crab meat. On top the chef cracked open the leg and put the chunk of meat, giving a nice presentation. Pairing with the special vinegar the sweet, elegant crab meat was so wonderful I wanted to ask for another one frankly.
The tenth course was something I am not familiar. The Sakura Shrimp is stuffed into a Scallop which was cut in the middle, and then poured with a thick sauce. There were also some seasonal vegetable underneath. The taste is pretty complex, and it would be great to learn more of this dish.
Transitioning to sushi, the chef provided us some home-made Pickles to clean our palate. The Bitter Gourd is crunchy, with the bitterness balanced by the sweetness from the marinating sauce. The garlic is marinated with miso to provide nice saltiness, covering the spicy of the raw garlic. The Greater Burdock is also great, with crunchy and umami taste permeating. All the pickles were very nice indeed.
The first sushi served was always my favorite. The Shiraebi or white shrimp sushi was tiny, and I still did not understand how the chef had managed to remove the shell of the shrimp in the first place. Using an abundance of the shrimp, the chef prepared the sushi was nicely with the rice did not falling apart. A real treat.
The second sushi was the Cheek Meat of Tuna. A very special cut and even though we did eat that for steamed fish traditionally, this is the first time I had the raw fish. The tuna cheek is really soft and exhibiting the fantastic flavors of the fish, while not overly fatty like the belly. With plenty of moyashi, this sushi is an example of the specialty of this restaurant in offering unique choice of ingredients.
The third sushi was recognized by the Japanese as one of the best ingredients, Nodokuro. The fish was torched on the skin to liven the oil, and on the bite it was like melting in the mouth, with the rich flavors of the fish seeping out from the flesh. A really wonderful piece of sushi and also the portion of the fish is very generous. A must-try in my opinion.
The fourth sushi was Bafun Uni, or sea urchin. This sea urchin was orange in color, creamy and soft on the palate, and the flavors are the best among the different types of sea urchin I have tasted. I also like the way the chef prepared the sushi without using the seaweed to wrap it up as the flavors from the seaweed often overpowered the delicate sea urchin.
The fifth sushi was probably the signature of the restaurant. The Kamatoro comes from the jaw of the tuna, and is prized as the tastiest part of the tuna by many eaters. The chef has slightly torched on the surface to liven up the fish oil, and it was just phenomenal on texture, melting in the mouth completely. One of the most amazing tuna piece I had tasted and really special. It is worth coming specifically for this if you like tuna.
Instead of miso soup, the restaurant served us a wonderful Udon in Fish Broth. The soup is very tasty, creamy and intense on flavors, while the thin udon was soft on the bite. A very fulfilling and warming wrap up for the meal before going to dessert.
The dessert are Fresh Fruit, including Strawberry, Mandarin and Melon. All are very sweet and juicy, and brought us a big smile to the face on a fantastic dinner with big satisfaction.
Another point to note was that my wife also had the Omakase but on my special request the chef had prepared all cooked food for her. Even though it was just for her, the chef had prepared the same number of dishes, many of them also very tempting and made me wonder whether I should come back and try that too.
My only comment was that the chef was simply too busy and could not have time to interact much with the customers. While he tried his best to explain each of the dishes, seeing how busy he was I did not dare to ask further some of the things I want to know more, which is a disappointment personally.
The bill was $4,300 and on the quality of food and the overall experience, I would say this restaurant has a very good value. No wonder in such difficult period with coronavirus on the night the restaurant basically all the seats around the sushi counter was occupied. And now I know the reason why.