|The memorable Monkfish liver dish that started the kaiseki at RyuGin|
|Delicate flavours in the chawanmushi dish with sea urchin|
It was presented in cubes with spring onion in mustard and miso sauce, garnished with thin slices of radish and orange zest. The flavour of the akimo was delicate yet full of rich foie gras-like flavour that wasn't heavy, and had a smooth texture.
This was followed by another favourite dish, hot egg custard topped with yuba, or tofu skin, and sea urchin. YTSL savoured the uni and wished she could have had more! The yuba added another texture to the smooth-tasting chawanmushi, and of course the sea urchin gave the dish a depth of flavour with its taste of the sea.
|Fantastic slow-cooked abalone with radish sauce|
The texture of the abalone was unlike Cantonese braised abalone. Here it was like a thick meaty mushroom, but with that distinctive abalone taste that wasn't covered in a thick sauce.
Next came the charcoal grilled amadai in a broth with leek and winter turnip. We were advised to drink the soup first, which seemed a bit bland, but had a comforting taste, before eating the fish, that was overcooked.
Now halfway through the meal we were given a long plate with four different sashimi and the wooden plank the small dishes were presented on was decorated with a landscape of sea and mountains in salt!
|Signature charcoal grilled Alfonsino topped with roasted rice|
Then we moved onto one of RyuGin's signature dishes, the charcoal grilled Alfonsino covered with roasted rice. We had this same dish when the restaurant opened in Hong Kong about three years ago, and this time it was accompanied with a light teriyaki sauce that seemed a bit redundant, as the fish was cooked perfectly, the smooth taste of the fish contrasting with the crispiness of the roasted rice on top. Nevertheless, we savoured each bite.
|The Japanese onsen tamago with marbled wagyu beef|
If that wasn't enough -- I was practically full at this point -- the main event came, Matsubagani crab, with a small dollop of the crab roe on top, on a bed of shiitake mushroom rice. Unfortunately the crab was also on the bland side despite the large chunk we were given, while the rice was delicate and hearty.
We had two desserts, the first one the signature hot and cold one. For the lunar new year, the flavour this time was mandarin orange, and we were presented a small bowl with one shiny golden orb with a small mint leaf on top.
We had to break open the "fruit" to find very cold -- minus 196-degree powder packed inside before the server gave us two spoonfuls of 99-degree mandarin jam that we had to mix together with some pop rocks. The effect was very audible! We could hear the pop rocks zinging away in each others' mouths, while the hot and cold mandarin dessert was lots of fun to eat. However we both agreed we preferred the signature strawberry dessert we ate the first time.
|Our mandarin orange dessert before it was smashed!|
Nevertheless, the second dessert was also delightful. After breaking a gorgeous perfect globe-shaped meringue shell that was light and crunchy, underneath was some almond ice cream with slightly sweet red beans and chopped strawberries. It was another play of textures and tastes in the mouth.
|Another gorgeous dessert covered by a meringue shell|
In a way RyuGin is one of those places where you can only go once because the dishes are not traditional kaiseki and are a memorable surprise. Also the dessert is so unforgetable the first time to be topped by successive ones.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed the dining experience, and wish chef Sato all the best in his new endeavours!
101/F, ICC, 1 Austin Road West