Accompanying drink: Grilled Pufferfish fins in warm sake (fugu for the purist. Sorry, forgot to snap photo of the fins in the sake, but they are in there. Trust me, the drunkard)
Screw the wine, this was perfect (not to mention super heady) to warm those feeling a bit chilly from the non-existent winter in KL. The sommelier also ignited the sake to make it hot to the tongue. How does it taste compare to normal (warm & cold) sake? Well, first thing, this one burns on your tongue. And when you swallowed, it really burns the back on your tongue and the throat. Give it another minute, and wham, your face blushes and your brain heats up.
Starters: Pufferfish skin & Anglerfish liver
Garnished with some orange-dyed white carrot gratings.
I can see why Japanese prefer the Anglerfish liver (R) over French pate. The flavour can be heavy and flavourful; and can be lightened up with just a dash of lime to make it tangy, yet rich.
The Pufferfish skin (L) was very chewy, strong to bite yet deliciously flavoured in the ponzu sauce.
Sashimi: Fugu sashimi
The chef told me that the fugu meat was not prepared here because Malaysia bans the import of live fugu, so the meat arrived pre-depoisoned. (Note the transparency of the meat that you can almost see the platter it lies on).
I experimented with different quantities of the sashimi and found that I like it best with 1 or 2 slices lightly dipped in the ponzu sauce. The meat is strong in flavour but you should not dip too much into the ponzu sauce lest the flavour becomes too sour-tangy (Unless you do 3 or more slices at a go). Slightly less chewier than the skin but I am still amazed by the deepness of the flavour in the meat. Definitely my favourite dish of the night.
Sashimi (again): Sea Urchin, Toro & Prawn.
The Prawn this time tasted much better than the one I had at MIGF; The tuna belly (Toro, the two slices behind the Sea Urchin) was tender as it melts in your mouth (it should always do that, which is why I am skipping cheap sushi franchises these days); My first taste of Sea Urchin really takes the cake because the softness melts in your mouth like pistachio gelato with a aftertaste of sea saltiness. (more Sake please!)
Steamed dishes: Pufferfish roe, Grilled Yellowfin Tuna, Chinese King Crab
The roe of the Pufferfish (L) was sliced in half and served on Japanese lime; the outside sac was chewy but once the roe spill out of the sac until your tongue, it was like tasting erm....erm.... sweet, runny tofu?
The grilled tuna (M) was well marinated in its sauce before being grilled and the skin was crisp but the meat was slightly dry.
The crab was the tricky part of this dish. I had some sort of picking fork (hidden behind the bowl and sauce dish) to flake out the meat but I am a hopeless klutz at it. The attempt on the first two pieces was bitsy pieces of meat that I couldn't taste the flavour. I had better luck on the next two pieces when the meat has firmed up somewhat, but by then, the meat has lost some of its taste. (must resolve to learn how to use implement in the future)
Oily dish: Deep Fried Anglerfish
Oh why, why?! why does this thing have to taste so good.
Sprinkle a dash of the japanese lime to eliminate the excessive oil, and I tasted something sweeter than lamb, richer than beef and chewier than pork. Kiss good-bye to all those fish fillets that you deep fry for your fish and chips (and lousy McD meals). A close second favourite dish for the evening.
Main course: Pufferfish chabu-chabu & porridge.
This dish comes in two parts.
The first part was the chabu-chabu made with pufferfish bony meat, seasonal veggies and tofu. The broth made from the chabu-chabu was deeply flavoursome, but the meat was hard to get one especially the nicer bits found on the pufferfish gills and cheek.
They then took the empty pot (with broth in it) and made a porridge with rice and egg. The egg overshadowed the broth when I tasted the porridge, I don't know which flavour the chef wanted to highlight, but the competing flavours toned down the dish somewhat.
There was another option to this dish, which has 3 different variety of sushi. I opted for the chabu-chabu and porridge for a change from what I ate last time.
Dessert: Good old musk melon
Nothing much to say, except that this one tasted fresher than the one I had last time (I wonder whether this one was imported just recently, or maybe it was the season, or maybe I don't know anything)
Along the way, I spoke with the sommelier, three attending waiter (including a pleasant waitress, Tomiko from Japan, about the infamous Tokyo fish market, Sashimi being a household dish rather than a restaurant dish, Japanese produce, etc before I sent her to bring Chef Ricky Kamiishi)
Chef Ricky Kamiishi was as gracious as always, willing to listen to me prattle about and compliment his dishes. But then again, he is the chef, why should he listen to me?
PS: still not a gourmet, so sue me :P