Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Goto Lunch

Goto is a tiny Japanese restaurnat tucked in a sleepy shophouse along Ann Siang Hill. It's a vast contrast between the hustle and bustle of the Chinese New Year temporary stalls along the streets, and the crowds there (which we had to pass through along the way to Goto).

We had a 6 course kaiseki-style set lunch, with the request of no pork or beef.

Starter comprised of 4 small dishes, from front:
Asparagus with sesame cream - I really liked this dish because the creamy sesame went well with the light asparagus. The sauce was not salty at all, and the sesame taste was very strong.
Fried chicken with lemon - a piece of lemon was skewered in between two diced chicken pieces and deep fried. The chicken was lightly marinated and although I really hate lemon/lime with all my food, the lemon taste was very subtle.
Snow pea with black sesame, arrowroot, and cooked prawn - the black sesame was roughly ground, and the slight bitterness went well with the sweet crunchy snow pea. It was my first time trying arrowroot, and it is a little firmer than potato, and doesn't actually have much flavour. The prawn was expectedly fresh.
Some seaweed thing, I'm not sure of the name - it's a bit mucoid and slightly gooey, and there are fine strands of seaweed. It doesn't really taste of anything, and the minced ginger goes very well with it. I tried eating the red leaf at the side, but then it's really bitter, thick and yucky. Oh well, I thought that I could eat everything that's on my plate, but I'm not sure if the leaf is edible now. Sashimi - which comes with fresh wasabi :D It's the only wasabi that I'll eat voluntarily. Salmon, Hamachi and Hirame (flounder). Extremely fresh, and it's made even bettter with the fresh wasabi. Fresh wasabi has a much milder taste than the powdered kind (which is sometimes horseradish with food colouring and not real wasabi), and it doesn't go up your nose. Just an interesting thought, unlike chilli, the spiciness of wasabi doesn't cause tongue numbness. Maybe it's a different type of receptor?
Japanese yam with unagi(eel) and ginko nuts. This dish reminds me of the Teochew dessert Ohrnee, but it's a non-oily (do you know that ohrnee is made from lard or super alot of vegetable oil! >.<) healthier savoury version. The sauce is very light, and does not overpower the subtle yam taste. Codfish, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, tofu, leek and chinese cabbage soup. The soup is very light, allowing the light taste from the vegetables to come out. The chinese cabbage is very sweet, and the soyabean taste from the tofu is very distinct. There's some soyasauce for people who would like more flavour to the soup, as well as spicy grated radish and spring onions for flavour.

Sushi - Futomaki (egg, sweet preserved vegetable, spinach, cucumber) and prawn maki. The sushi rice is the pearly, glossy Japanese kind, and it's perfectly vinegared. Also, the miso soup is not the usual whitish brown kind but it has a deeper reddish hue and is not so salty. They also changed our tea right before this dish.
Banana ice cream with brown sugar sauce was my favourite, because I like the complex taste it has. It works extremely well paired with an extremely fruity banana ice cream. Somehow, I'm now thinking of the ultimate dessert - which will be freshly fried goreng pisang, topped with vanilla bean ice cream and drizzled with gula melaka or brown sugar sauce. I'm very hungry now!
Green Tea Mousse has a very light green tea taste and the portion is really small so you dont feel too full.
Sesame Biscuit - my least favourite dessert cos the other 2 were cold and sweet, and this was just room temperature. There were both black and white sesame seeds inside, and it was very fragrant. Goto serves a 6 course kaiseki-style set lunch for $68++ ($75 nett). The dinner here costs a whopping $180++ or $280++. Actually, as must as I love food, I'll rather go on a short holiday (since I'm in the holiday mood now).

Every dish was served on exquisite tableware, and they all were very neat and prettily presented. All the dishes are very light and 'clean', with no extremely strong flavours and is also not salty. The lightness brings out the natural taste in each ingredient. We were served by Mr Goto's wife, who was prettily dressed in a kimono. She introduced every dish to us, and topped up our tea, cleared the dishes, and brought our food with great efficacy.
Overall, I really liked the pacing of the meal, the presentation and all the dishes. Though I'm more excited about suprising combinations of flavours, I liked the way the dishes brought out the taste in every ingredient used. Also, where else can you get to eat the food cooked by the Japanese ambassador's former chef?
The interior decor is very Zen, with light wood finishes and lots of Japanese displays. The decor plus the delicious food makes me feel like Im in Japan.

The seating is very limited, with a maximum of 16 diners, which is great if you want a really private lunch/dinner. There is no ala carte orders, and the chef serves what's fresh and available in the market. Advance reservation is a must, because the chef needs to know how many dishes to prepare in advance. Also, you have to inform them of any dietary restrictions.
For the dinner review, go to chubbyhubby to take a peek at what delicacies $280 can get you, cos I'm 99.9% not going to do it anytime soon (even thought I would really really like to!)

Goto Japanese Restaurant
14 Ang Siang Road
Tel: 6438 1553


ice said...

Sobs. :(

The seaweed is mozuku seaweed. Sobs...

yixiaooo said...

how lovely! i've been into kaiseki ever since i visited kyoto.

m said...

hello yixiao! Japan's my fave place to visit! hope you'll visit goto soon the food's great maybe you can splurge on the $280 meal then I can look at the pictures ;P