.....and from the house of joy, we move to the house of happiness, also known as Fukuya in Japanese.
Thanks to the closure of a few main roads in Bukit Bintang on a Saturday last month (for whatever reason that I couldn't recall), my celebrity friend (a Japanese cuisine connoisseur too) suggested that we head to Fukuya instead. Sure, why not?
The Kaiseki Lunch set, at RM52++ seemed like a good deal with 8 promising dishes to make this simply, a celebration of life afternoon an enjoyable one. And of course, a celebration with a celebrity often enough involves stories of politics, relationships and achievements. And every praise that I crowned on this humble friend's head was dusted off with a simple, "eh, please lar" or "aiyoh, sharedub la". Perhaps that's the secret to success.
A for appetiser, A for presentation, A for taste. A glass of bundled Japanese kale, lightly dressed in black vinegar and topped with bonito flakes. It was sweet, sour and savoury. An explosion of natural flavours. The lightly grilled shishamo that came with the kale was fresh with a crispy outer layer (skin). There was also a baked clam with shreds of carrot and daikon, topped with melted cheese.
Staying true to the principle of Japanese cuisine, the clam soup was every sip oozing with the natural sweetness and saltiness from the clams. And perhaps, soya sauce. The shreds of negi or Japanese leek provided crunch and slight sharpness to the soup, which is something I enjoy as a topping for my ramen.
The sashimi set, with its myriad of colours, was visually appetising. The selection of fresh seafood for the sashimi included salmon belly, tuna, squid and a mackerel-like fish. There were also some black roe on the ika which I thought lacked the smoky flavour often exhibited by caviar.
It was also around this time that an oracular icon decided to grace the celebration with an inimitable brand of eloquence and humour, despite having a hangover from a yesterday night's party. Ah, how I envy them celebrity lifestyles.
Next, grilled salmon. I could sense the wonderful aroma of the caramelized glaze before it appeared in front of me. Slightly charred, the fish was moist and flaky. The sweetness of the glaze (which I believe was a combination of honey and/or miso) was beautiful. Slices of preserved daikon provided a touch of savouriness and of course, crunch. Simply simple, it was surprisingly memorable.
A nabe dish, the braised beef reminded me of those Chinese-style claypot dishes. Well, the sauce was definitely different as (being Japanese) it was sweeter with a tinge of salt. The meat was soft and the bits of fat attached to it were....as how we often describe it...melted in the mouth with the slightest of resistance. And there was my favourite source of fibre, negi, to absorb all the sweet juices from the nabe. Give me a bowl of rice and I'll call this dinner.
I cannot remember the last time I had somen. Perhaps when I was still with Ohana-chan in Osaka. It's my favourite! Long, smooth, sensuous, slurp. And like a beautiful, porcelain-faced Japanese girl who doesnt need any make up, just a simple combination of a shoyu soup base and a sprinkling of chopped scallion was all it took to enhance the scrumptiousness of the somen.
And what is kaiseki without a tempura dish. The batter was crunchy while the stems of the green were soft and sweet. Not forgetting a portion of a soft shell crab. A dip which consisted of mashed daikon, lemon juice and soya sauce added extra flavour to the tempura.
Simple enough, the dessert consisted of slices of strawberry, orange and lavender ice cream. Yes, mon amis, lavender ice cream. A something that will make anyone (celebrities included) happy; visually, psychologically and scientifically. Sweetness was optimal and it was indeed, well-scented with lavender. And how creative of the chef to construct the words Fukuya (in kanji) using green tea powder. Interesting.
A fantastic lunch with good ambiance, impeccable service and celebrity friends. A celebration of life indeed. What else could I ask for on a Saturday afternoon? All thanks to my celebrity friends. Oh, I forgot to thank the organizers of the whatever event that caused the road closure.
One Bangsar, 63B Jalan Ara
59100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel : (+603) 2282 1111
A Whiff Of Lemongrass
Shed tear not, my Ohana-chan.
For no other flower can take your place.