Hokkaido Sushi Restaurant At The M Hotel

Wasabi Root

I was going to write about a Communist conspiracy to confuse culinary culture but I was distracted by more urgent events such as the return of Umami and the associated activity of arranged alimentary absorptions.

I’ve always wanted to eat at the Hokkaido Sushi Restaurant ever since it opened but I either could not find the time or the people. These days I am in the kind of funk where I find dining alone very sad and pathetic. Don’t worry, I’ll get over it. Soon.

Anyway, Mia, who could not attend the yummy lunch, organized this dinner, so it was with very high expectations that I went.

The Hokkaido Sushi Restaurant is opened by Thomas Kok, our favourite Sushi Chef (now Managing Director to you, yay!) from the old Kaisan and the current Tomo. This is why I went with very high expectations. Thomas has never disappointed us.

2008August07-Hokkaido-46

The first thing you will notice as you enter the restaurant is that there is no conveyor belt. This means that you shouldn’t ask about the price as only teenagers with their huge allowances can afford to eat here.

There was also a very intriguing Teppanyaki station across from the Sushi bar. I like quiet competence. All that egg-flinging just isn’t impressive enough these days.

I’m sure many people would have written about Hokkaido Sushi Restaurant by now, so I won’t subject you to yet another “a visit to a Japanese restaurant” blog entry. We had lots to eat but here are the highlights.

The Ika (squid) sashimi served in a bowl of soyu broth spiced up with raw garlic and wasabi. I found this to be most excellent as the Ika had a chewy texture was reminiscent of a young piece of coconut meat and while the squid was tasteless, it was jazzed up by the soyu and the raw garlic gave a heaty, spicy buzz that was rounded off by the wasabi. Not what you’d expect from an innocent looking thing.

Ika (Squid)

I’ve never been fond of crab as I’ve never had the opportunity to experience what everyone describes as “the sweetness” found in the crab flesh. I was also almost put off by the sight of the hairy legs of the crab. There’s a reason why women shave their legs and apparently the Hokkaido Crab hasn’t heard of it.

Hokkaido Crab

Served with a wedge of lemon and a small dollop of crab roe (actually, I discovered there was a lot of roe when I flipped over a part of the crab), I finally experienced what people have been describing to me for many years. There was an unbelievably clean marine taste to the pristine white flesh and yes, it was sweetness to the flesh.

And speaking of sweet, I was pleasantly surprised when a bowl with a Kinki fish was placed in front of me. Kichiji or “Kinki” fish is a rockfish that is a rare fish found in Hokkaido. Thomas said that there are dedicated teams of fisherman that specializes only in catching Kinki fish, hence while it is seasonal, it is much readily available now.

Kinki Fish

Braised in, what I can discern from sniffing, sake, soyu and Burdock (Gobo) to enhance the sweetness of this fatty but extremely bony Kinki fish, it was excellent. We were slowly picking our way through and savoring the taste.

Speaking of savory, when Thomas joined us (he had a prior dinner engagement) later in the dinner, he ordered the Foie Gras Chawanmushi for everyone on account that it was a “must-try” at the Hokkaido Sushi Restaurant.

Foie Gras Chawanmushi With Kani

It tasted strange as I was expecting something different. It wasn’t bad at all but I had a hard time figuring out what the strands of meat were. I was guessing chicken when Jack the Sushi Chef revealed that it was crab. It was the richest-tasting Chawanmushi I’ve ever tasted.

One curious sushi that was served to us was the seared Kajiki. I was told a few years back that no self-respecting sushi chef would serve Sake (Salmon) or Kajiki (Swordfish) as it was not traditional and besides these sushi are the cheap stuff that only the uninitiated would insist on having. Nevertheless, when I popped the seared Kajiki sushi into my mouth, I can only gasp as the flavors and texture that suddenly flooded my mouth. It was like a savory piece of the most succulent pork I’ve ever tasted. Impressive.

And speaking of meat, we were served a beef – with a marble score of 12 – sashimi that was out of this world. We took turns playing the devil’s advocate to Mia by suggesting that if she should taste meat once, it should be this.

Kobe Beef

It used to be a novelty but now I realize that people who still advocate using Wagyu beef as hamburger patties or steak are simply pandering to the brand-consciousness of people and have no idea how to treat quality beef properly. The only way to taste such high quality beef is a light heat (either by a blowtorch or a hot broth) to get the fat running and pop the whole thing in your mouth.

And speaking of high quality, dessert was a simple melon from the Furano district of Hokkaido. The name “Furano” used to be known as “Smelly Valley” but is now known as “Bountiful”. Indeed the sweetness and perfume of the Furano melon made for a heady concoction indeed.

Furano Melon

It was a great dinner. While sitting at the counter did not foster a lot of conversation, we managed to entertain ourselves. Chef Jack Tan was managing the Sushi Counter when he taught us the proper and most delicious way to eat sushi. It was a pity that the Skinny Epicurean could not be persuaded to taste the beef, so she had to settle for a vegetarian alternative. Actually, the spicy, peppery Shiso leaf sushi was pretty good. 🙂

I’ve always been amazed at the Hokkaido cooking and – why not? – fishing shows on the Asian Food Channel because there seemed to be blessed with a bountiful spread of good things to eat. The dinner at the Hokkaido Sushi Restaurant gave me a sample of that rich bounty from Hokkaido. Despite the popular song, you do not need a million dollars to fly to Japan to eat Sushi; you can do it right here. Especially if you are a teenager with a huge allowance.

Hokkaido Sushi Restaurant is at M Hotel, Level 9, Tel: 65006121, Open daily: 11:30am – 3pm, 6pm – 11pm.

Rock On.


Posted on 18th Aug 2008 in Food and Drink, Japanese

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There Are 7 Comments

 

Mia commented on August 18, 2008 at 10:32 pm


I loved all the dishes you mentioned as well! (sans the beef and the foie gras chawanmushi of course). The seared swordfish sushi was amazing!


 

Weylin commented on August 19, 2008 at 12:16 pm


question, question. where in singapore do i buy paper placemats. you know, the kind that is used in restaurants, disposable. good for eating on in bistros and disposing withouth having to wash fabric placemats.


 

Andrew commented on November 10, 2009 at 2:18 am


Hokkaido Sushi Restaurant

A few month ago, i was visit your restaurant.
i order a teppanyaki course, the chef Andy making for us at the teppanyaki corner.
I felt very disappointing of your food quality and your teppanyaki chef.

YOUR CHEF CANNOT BE USE


 

ivan commented on November 10, 2009 at 8:16 am


@Andrew: Did you tell the Chef Andy at that time? Did he do anything after your complaint?


 

Pauline Tan commented on January 18, 2010 at 8:42 pm


I have tried the Teppan Course @ $49++ it was great and done by the same chef Andy.


 

Lizzie commented on February 17, 2012 at 2:51 pm


hi Ivan, any idea how much wine corkage at Hokkaido is? Appreciate any info :p


 

ivan commented on February 21, 2012 at 4:08 pm


@Lizzie: Hi! Sorry, I don’t have information about that. I usually get a bottle of Sake. They have a nice Asahi on tap too.


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