Saturday, 15 December 2018

Michelin-starred Japanese Dinning on our 10th - Shinji at the St. Regis

     I originally had enough of blogging these few days. However, this dinning experience simply deserve an entry on its own. It was our 10th wedding anniversary. We've always celebrated milestone occasions with, in the words of the wifey, "defining dinning experiences". This was to be one of the best, and certainly the most expensive.
Shinji by Kanesaka
     The wifey had always wanted to try the food here. Not knowing how much it would cost, I agreed immediately. Soon we were turning into the St. Regis hotel carpark and making our way up the elevator. There were three choices for dinner. We decided on the middle-tiered one. We took seat along the bar where we could observe the food being prepared right in front of us.
Opening platter: puffer fish, octopus, monk fish liver.
One of the most tender octopus pieces to grace my lips. The wifey adores the monk fish liver.
The abalone slices (in soup) and the yuzu salt were a pair made in heaven.
My first time with milt. It holds together just enough for you to place it in your mouth. Then it explodes into a light creamy paste that can only be described as delectable. I would have more if I were given a choice.
Seasonal crab bits with ikura, caviar, and gold foil.
More fishy goodness
I'm no stranger to sashimi. But this has got to be one of the best around. The freshness of the meat was reinforced by freshly grated wasabi (definitely not processed from a tube), which gave it enough tang to please the tongue. When dipped into the light (the saltiness was just right) soya sauce, it conjured images of the ocean.
     The service here was impeccable. It was the first time I've ever had my green-tea cup replaced with a fresh one every time my tea ran low or was deemed not hot enough. Other restaurants are content to simply refill your cup. But not here, no, that's unacceptable here. They must have an impressive number of tea cups. Where else can you find wait staff who anticipates your needs without you uttering a word? Two cases in point: The wifey choked on something. The staff had the initiative to bring her a glass of water without being asked. When we had to take a breather, the staff was already at the entrance, to show us the way to the washroom. And she had to speed to the entrance in a kimono no less!
We continued our dinner with sushi, prepared right in front of us. I'm at a loss of words to describe the taste and texture. "Extremely good" doesn't do it justice.
Another example of impeccable service: my shrimp sushi was served as above. The wifey's was served in two half portions. Sushi is meant to be eaten in one mouthful. The wifey, being a lady, would not look as pleasant if she had to stuff the whole tiger prawn into her mouth all at once.
The symphony of savoriness (if there's such a word) was brought to a crescendo with the introduction of the uni (sea urchin) rice bowl. You can witness the generous topping of ikura with a splash of freshly grated wasabi. The smooth silkiness of the uni rice danced with the salty popping of ikura on the palate, resulting in a delectible tango.
Next came the palate cleanser. The pickled radish slices were the perfect blend of sweet, salty and sour; not to mention the awesome cruch that it elicited. You never tasted tamago if you've not experienced the Shinji version. It had an interesting texture, more akin to a Nonya "kway" than the common tamago slices we're accustomed to. It is here, also, that the chef showed off his skill with the knife as his deft fingers crafted miniature sushi and maki pieces, only for the ladies.
     By now our tummies were satisfied, but we still wanted to see what was up for dessert. Suddenly the chefs burst into song, as the dessert platter was ceremoniously brought out. We set eyes on a mixture of fruit and traditional Japanese sesame seed ice-cream in wafer, as the rendition of "Happy Anniversary to you" rang out, to the tune of "Happy Birthday".
The climax to a heavenly meal: the pear slices were oh so sweet. The persimmon slices were tender and soft, but nothing could beat the melon. I've had plenty of melon before, including musk melon from Hokkaido. But this melon takes the cake! I've never come across such juicy melon. Every slice literally dripped with its sweet goodness. No wonder the crazy rich Asian tai tais at the next seats ordered a second helping, just the melon. We were told that the melon came from an area near Mt Fuji.
     Although we blew more than a grand (this is only the second time I've had a meal costing more than a grand), it was worth every penny. More importantly, the wifey was happy. I cannot emphasize more how much I am grateful that this wonderful woman is in my life - grateful both to God, who brought us together, and grateful to the wifey for so much all these 10 years. No amount of money can compensate for that.

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