Dining at Ki-sho is a decadent affair. Chef Kazuhiro Hamamoto, who has been helming the restaurant since 2013, scours Japan for the season’s best ingredients for his modern kaiseki menu. And that means the creamiest lobes of uni, plumpest pearls of ikura, delightfully fatty otoro, and premium fresh abalone.
But the charm of Ki-sho lies not only in its pristine ingredients, but also in the execution of its dishes. And what a feast the chef whips up. Immediately memorable is the first course of luscious Hokkaido uni covered with rice vinegar jelly (whose acidity brightens the dish) and topped with oscietra caviar
and edamame beans. We also enjoy the assorted sashimi showcasing a spectrum of flavours, from light to meaty (think flounder, botan shrimp, striped horsemackerel, belt fish, tuna and chutoro). These go wonderfully well with the lightly spicy Manrei sake from Oita (Ki-sho features an extensive sake list of approximately 60 labels; many of them procured from limited-production distilleries). Look out for its very own Ki-sho sake from Yamagata prefecture, a floral junmai daiginjo released in limited quantities every year.
Other highlights include steamed abalone with abalone dashi jelly that echoes flavours of the sea; and Hida wagyu roll prepared with two pieces of barely cooked sukiyaki sliced beef wrapped around a nibble of cured egg yolk, uni, and liberal shavings of black truffle – absolute luxury in two mouthfuls. Nigiri sushi is expertly prepared and the searing of the otoro sushi with a hovering grill rack of hot charcoal, instead of a flame gun, is a treat for the senses.
In addition to Japanese fruits for dessert, the kitchen goes the extra mile to charm with green tea white chocolate, warabi mochi, and a thin wafer of monaka filled with hojicha ice cream. Yes, the dining room may be in need of a little facelift, and the service is a little reserved, but, if this is not a meal to relish for months to come, we are not sure what is.