OK so I went to Kappou Suzuki on Tuesday. Had an absolute blast and loved every bite of my meal.
Kappou Suzuki is only a small place with 5 counter seats and a tatami room for four. My girlfriend and I were the only two in for the whole evening. Having a Michelin starred chef cook just for you is pretty special. Honestly, it was like sitting in Suzuki-san's kitchen!
Just a note, I have barely enough Japanese to order a beer and Suzuki-san can do about the same in english. However, we had a very fun evening and conversed as best we could about food, australia and the heat in Tokyo.
The important bit… THE FOOD
Now I am no expert in Japanese food but for someone that dines out regularly (in Australia) the whole menu was incredible.
Yams in edamame - When I saw him put this together I thought we were going to get some weird fusion dish, as I mistook the edamame for an avocado mash of some sort. The edamame was smokey and rich, the only thing we could compare it to at the time was bacon! The yams had retained some warmth and a touch of sugar. For me this was a really surprising opener. I knew it would be an interesting meal from here.
Sashimi - Tai, Aji, Abalone and some fish we couldn't quite translate. All delicious but the aji was really special, it tasted clean and restrained with the fish's fat occasionally breaking through.
Tempura Prawn (or Shrimp for you North Americans) - One of Australia's big gun food reviewers Jonathan Lethlean asked when reviewing a Melbourne Japanese restaurant, 'have you ever really tasted prawn?' While as good as the prawn is at Tempura Hajime, nothing has ever come close to my prawn experience at Kappou Suzuki. Suzuki-san broke the prawn down into three distinct pieces, front legs, head meat and the body. While the body and the front legs were simply the best prawn I have had, I really cannot compare the head meat to any other prawn experience. Soft, light and salty with such a clarity of prawn flavour that eventually took over my whole palate.
Eggplant and turnip - A japanese eggplant and a turnip served in dashi and with a few pieces of dried yuzu. How simple it was. Nothing over the top just the pure clarity of those four ingredients. My girlfriend was blown away by this dish; we were both unaware that turnip could taste this good.
Pan seared abalone - Such a wonderful simple dish. From what I could work out it was cooked in mushroom reduction, sake and with a final squeeze of yuzu. It was soft and beefy, reminiscent of demi-glace, even. The flavour of the abalone had some real length. I think I could have eaten about 6 abalones worth, in fact, the juices were so delicious I was tempted to like my plate. By design (I would guess) Suzuki-san just happened to be cooking sushi rice for us. He quickly checked it and added a small scoop of rice to our abalone juices. A simple but indulgent touch that allowed us to keep enjoying that amazingly deep flavour.
Masutake Soup - A soup made from matsutake and tai. The broth had fully extracted the matsutake's flavour. Simple and delicious.
Sushi - Suzuki-san made us a few pieces of Sushi to finsh with as he could see we were pushing our limit. Aji and tai, once again. I was so happy to be getting more of that amazing aji!
Peach - White peach for dessert - nothing added to it at all. I used to eat sun warmed peaches off my grand-mother's fruit trees, so I am very picky about my peaches. This was the best peach I have eaten, ever!
As you can probably tell, this was a very simple meal. It seems like there was very little done to the ingredients, just a skilled chef trying to present their natural flavour at their best. For two with a fair amount of beer it cost Y25,600, which I thought was completely reasonable. It was an amazing evening, to be honest, Suzuki-san even gave us a gift. One of, if not my most truly memorable dining night.
I heartily recommend it and would be really curious of your thoughts if you ever get to visit.