Wednesday, February 25, 2009

sake no hana

there's nothing good about the credit crunch.

except perhaps, that there's been a deluge of offers on toptable.

and so with the offer of 50 per cent. off the food bill, i've found myself back at sake no hana for the third time, this time with the red hare, mrs red hare and mister yau. i like the miso chilean seabass in houba leaf. try saying that quickly three times. i made mister yau say it three times quickly and it made me laugh. but maybe i just like laughing at mister yau. He's a hoot. We spent all evening quoting him verbatim.

i really do like the miso chilean seabass in houba leaf. While there's nothing particularly inventive about this dish which is practically served at every izakaya worth its mettle, it's very well cooked here. the fillet comes in its just-barely-cooked still translucent flakiness, its delicate sweetness emboldened by the deep earthy miso paste. there's a lone ginko nut and a couple of shimeji mushrooms which burst most delightfully in your mouth.

having just come from a session at the whisky society (where a naked woman (or the perception thereof) was involved) and then proceeding to order every cocktail which involved calpico on the drinks menu, much as we wanted sashimi, we were also in need of a little bit of grease. we might have gone a little overboard. This is what we had:

1. sesame aubergines - deep fried batons of aubergine, coated in a sweet smokey sesame paste and sprinkled with more toasted sesame.

2. tuna yukke - tuna tartare. spicy with a quail's egg yolk atop a peppery rocket salad.

3. sashimi moriwase - turbot, chu-toro, sake, octopus, mackerel. a little bit of bartering went on - try splitting two pieces of each sashimi amongst four (very lovely but hungry) mates.

4. agedashi tofu - panko and bonito flake crusted cubes of deep fried tofu, served with a soy and dashi sauce. the bonito was an interesting touch.

5. soft shell crab with wasabi salad - not so yummy but we ate it anyway.

6. katsu of berkshire pork - more panko deepfried goodness.

7. yaki-onigiri with unagi - unagi-don deconstructed. the just-crisped cake of rice wrapped around with a sweet grilled slice of freshwater eel, oodles of kabayaki sauce.

8. gomoku rice topped with omelette strips

9. mixed seafood tempura

and of course we had pudding:

1. nashi pear tart with lavender and chocolate ice cream

2. white chocolate and pistachio mousse with cherry beer sorbet

3. chocolate fondant cake with milk ice cream

4. walnut croustillant with vanilla ice cream

i had pudding with a glass of sauternes ch. de malle '98. the sommelier was as sweet as the desert wine - he came round to pour out our measures, and was about to leave with the dregs in his bottle, but we convinced him his dregs wouldn't make up another measure, so he might as well top up our measures. which he did. and all served with a smile.


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