Sunday, February 8, 2009
Finally, a meal that makes up for the dearth of good food (and blog posts) lately! We went to Gyu-kaku at CHIJMES for some Japanese BBQ, and it was mmmmh-so-good! This was truly a meal to remember.
We had the Sakura set (S$168++ for two persons), which offers 12 items, including three cuts of wagyu (fillet steak, karubi and rump cap). Japanese BBQ is one of the best ways to enjoy wagyu, in my humble books. Seared very quickly over high heat, the meat retains most of its juicy fat that makes it so delicious.
We started with a generous platter of kimchee. I'm not a big fan of most kimchee preparations in Singapore, but this was okay. (Prefer the one at Aburiya).
And then they served the aburi bacon, with wholegrain mustard. Could not wait to start BBQ-ing these!
Assorted mushrooms - sliced shiitake, shimeji, and enoki - in butter, wrapped in foil. Place this on the hot grill for five minutes and they'll release their heavenly aromas. This was so simple and yet so tasty!
The waiter recommended the Horenso salad (you get to choose from Caesar, choregi, wakame or Horenso), which was fantastic. Baby spinach, crunchy bacon bits, garlic chips, and sliced mushrooms in Japanese dressing. Extremely refreshing. I wished there was more of this.
The platter of meats for two - the wagyu cuts, pork collar and chicken. The set comes with duck breast, but we requested chicken instead since we're not fans of duck.
Let the sizzling begin! Some people joke that it's crazy to pay so much to cook your own food, but it's all part of the experience. Fortunately, at Gyu-kaku, you don't end up smelling like BBQ - they really do a good job with ventilation control.
The pork collar slices are particularly fatty. They released fat and juices onto the charcoal, creating flares.
I like my pork crispy and charred. The meats were all excellent. They almost didn't need any dipping sauce. But you get tare and ginger sauces as well as rock salt to enhance the flavours. I liked the honey-like tare and rock salt best.
The last meat course was miso gindara in foil. Two slices of cod with carrots and mushrooms. Fresh and succulent. Pity it was so little.
Ishiyaki mentaiko arrived at the end, in a hot stone bowl. Rice with cod fish roe. The waiter asked if we preferred ours soft or crispy (crispy, of course!), and then proceeded to mix the ingredients and let it cook in the scorching hot bowl. This is my portion, which I enjoyed with the buttered mushrooms and the fish.
You get a choice of desserts (mostly ice cream and jellies). Hubby loves the milk pudding. Thick, firm and creamy pudding topped with caramel syrup and green bean powder. We almost went for a second one. I must learn how to make this!
Two lovely, snowy scoops of yuzu sorbet to cut through the grease. Great palate cleanser.
The portions of this set menu are not large but they fill you up just right. Very satisfying. Yes, it's a pricey meal (for me, anyway). But you can easily rack up the same expenditure going to two or three less-than-satisfying eateries. I'd rather just eat fewer times and come here.
For some reason, I can't seem to compare Gyu-kaku directly to Aburiya, which we also adore. They each have their merits. Aburiya is a bit more casual, Gyu-kaku more classy and upmarket. But both do Japanese BBQ well, with pretty good service so far. Hmmm, I want to go back already!
30 Victoria Street
Open daily mainly for dinner
Lunch (weekends only): 12 noon to 3pm (Fri-Sun)
Dinner: 5.30pm to 11.30pm (Mon-Sat); to 11pm (Sun)
Other branches at:
81A Clemenceau Ave
UE Square #01-18/19
Lunch: 11.30pm to 2.30pm
Dinner: 6pm - 11.30pm
29 Lorong Mambong
Open for dinnner only, 5pm til last order at midnight