Friday, September 21, 2018

Tsuruya at Tokyo Peninsula: Japanese Kaiseki

Kyoto Tsuruya at the Peninsula Tokyo is sister to the famous, three Michelin Star Kyoto restaurant, which over the last century has served diners from around the world intrigued by Kaiseki cuisine. Kaiseki is the embodiment of "omotenashi," which means wholehearted hospitality. Its central tenet is to convey respect, making guests feel special and at ease, which means chefs strive for excellence in every detail. The 500 year-old cuisine is regarded as one of the highest forms of traditional culinary art in Japan, using only the freshest seasonal ingredients, taste, texture, appearance and colour are balanced to create a presentation that pleases all the senses. Tsuruya's clean and contemporary design by Nomura Koge uses light Japanese woods paired with stone and marble accents, perfectly complementing the nature-inspired philosophy of Kaiseki. Arriving for a special dinner, we sat at the restaurant's stone top tempura bar allowing us a front row seat to enjoy some of Japan's oldest and most loved cuisines. 

Chopsticks on a black lacquer tray with striped ceramic rest

Peninsula Chef Massimiliano Zaino 

Appetizer of Chinese Yam and Prawns, Sweet Potato, Abalone preserved in Miso, Mustard Filled Lotus Root, Ginkgo Nuts, Largehead Hairtail Sushi, and Oriental melon

Carafe of chilled Junmai Daiginjo Sake

Sake glass

Selection of Sashimi with Shiso Blossoms

Red and Gold Lacquer Bowl

Clear Soup with rice dumpling, Japanese onion and ginger

The tempura chef uses a simple mixture of Japanese flour and water 
to coat the fish and vegetables 

Tempura of fried Sillago, a Japanese fish belonging to the smelt-whiting family, as well as Maitake Mushrooms and Peppers

Another attractive porcelain bowl

Simmered eggplant, peppers, Japanese pumpkin and okra

Cold dish of pickled cucumbers, dried Bonito and kombutangle kelp

Earthenware dish of Shabu-Shabu

Slotted spoon for the Shabu-Shabu hot pot dish

Shabu-Shabu of Pike, Conger Eel and Matsutake Mushrooms

New little birdie chopstick rest for the next set of dishes

Steamed rice with Grilled Sphyraenidae, a variety of Japanese Barracuda

The rice is mixed with the fish and a spoonful served in a decorative bowl

In Japan, the crane is a mystical creature and is believed to live for a thousand years, and represents good fortune and longevity - it is also known as the “bird of happiness”

Sekihan is a Japanese traditional dish of sticky rice steamed with adzuki beans and is used for celebrations because of its red colour, a symbol of happiness in Japan

Lovely black and gold lacquer bowl

Miso Soup with Nameko Mushrooms and Tofu

Along with rice and miso soup, pickles frequently accompany meals in Japan. such as this Tsukemono of pickled eggplant, cucumber, beet and zucchini

Yokan, a Japanese thick jelly dessert made of red bean paste, agar, and sugar

Matcha Tea

(Kaiseki Dinner for 2 + Sake: ¥59,019)

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