Sunday, 21 August 2016

New Opening: Kisetsu

Cute panda spoons!

Last week marked the launch of Kisetsu, the chef's table at Sosharu. The offer is simple, book for a ten-course omakase ('I'm in your hands' in Japanese) and hope for the best.

Omakase basically means the chef cooks whatever he feels like each day, it means throwing caution, dietary preferences and quite a bit of money to the wind... but, when the man on the other side of the table is Alex Cracuin, you feel very reassured. 

After a year sous-chefing at Pollen Street Social, he spent a year training in Japan before the opening of Sosharu. His skill and passion for Japanese simplicity and precision came through beautifully in everything we ate.

The first dish was a rich mushroom broth, topped with a silky tofu cream, this was followed by a delicately seasoned tuna tartare topped with top quality Russian Beluga, encased in a wafer flower.

Next was a somewhat strange but authentically Japanese savoury set custard favoured with fresh crab meat and exquisitely packed shiso flowers from a remote Japanese village. This was garnished with proper Japanese wasabi, ground to a paste on a shark-skin board.

Then came a chicken broth like no other, potent but pure, flavoured with chicken necks which, apparently, hold the most flavour. This came with a chicken liver and frois gras parfait piped between attractive beetroot discs. Perfection!

Next came the assorted sushi starting with a hand-dived scallop shot, and followed by lightly blow-torched salmon. Then there was the battle of the tuna, with a lightly rice-smoked sweet soy dressed akami (lean tuna) followed by the deliciously fatty otoro (belly) cut. 

On a similar theme, we next ate temaki consisting of mayonnaise-dressed cobia tartare wrapped in paper thin sheets of cucumber. A refreshing mouthful somewhat reminiscent of a really great kebab.

Then, perhaps the highlight, the Kobe beef course. Thin slices of heaven topped nigiri made from aubergine, rice and then pickled cabbage, to be dipped in a pedigree breed of chicken's deep orange egg yolks. 

If that wasn't enough luxury for one evening, our next course was, of course, lobster, with an incredibly potent, bisque-y rice. Delicious.

Then onto pudding, the intriguingly named, water mochi, which turned out to be a beautiful jelly bubble flavoured with aromatic distilled water, cherries and a peanut crumb. This was served with a Japanese street snack in the shape of a fish that tastes a bit like freshly made waffles. And finally (as if any meal is complete without at least two puddings) a medley of foraged berries and blue-berry sorbet.

Now it wouldn't be fair to end this review without paying homage to the comedy double act of the chef and sommelier, Suzuki, who generously plied us with carefully matched Sake all night. This included an unusually wine-like sake called red turtle and a vintage Fuji Shuzou that tasted of toasted barley.

The meal was one of the best I've had in London and a very memorable experience. As chef's tables go, it's pretty amazing value to be one of eight sat around the chef as he explains and prepares each dish in front of you. I wouldn't hesitate to go back and am already looking for the next special occasion to justify it. 

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