When the Executive Chef from the Sheraton Hua Hin Resort & Spa hooks up with the Chef from Kisso Japanese Restaurant @ the Westin Grande Sukhumvit, you know the evening will push the boundaries of fine dining to the limit. Episode 3 of Hua Hin Chef’s Table was called Sake Extraordinaire! Six courses of Japanese food, each matched with its own Sake.
After stepping into InAzia Restaurant, I was greeted with a Sake Cocktail; a Sparkling Sake. I have not had a Sparkling Sake before; it was light and refreshing and served with some Japanese canapés; it was a great start to the evening.
Upon being seated, the table setting is magnificent, with the napkin folded into what looked like an elegant jacket. We were immediately poured our next Sake; this to accompany the first course of Kani Avocado Salad. The highlight of this salad was the locally caught Blue Crab served with Salmon Caviar and Avocado. Chef Chatree Panglip from Kisso puts together this dish with extreme precision and the flavours were classic.
The next course was one we were looking forward to the most, as Chef Jakub Mares from the Sheraton was very excited about the Sockeye Salmon. Rich in colour, the Sockeye was a stand out, however the Yellow Tail, Tuna Belly and the sweet Prawn Sashimi were right up there. The flavours were the fresh, clean flavours of Japan and the Sake that was served with this course was smooth and clean, complimenting the seafood perfectly.
A palate cleanser of lime sorbet arrived to prepare us for the next two courses; these were of special interest to us, as we wanted to see how these sorts of proteins were treated with Japanese flavours.
The first of the two dishes to arrive was Kuro Buta Kakuni, which was Braised Kurobuta Pork Belly, served inside a tofu and potato wrap with black soy sauce. Kurobuta (aka Berkshire) is to pork, what Wagyu is to beef and Jidori is to chicken. The pork belly was soft and unctuous in texture, with a delicate broth that was full of flavour and complimented the richness of the shredded pork belly. The Sake served with this course was of a more traditional flavour; strong in the flavour of rice, but with a rich hint of mushroom. This combination was our favourite on the night.
In the world of beef, there is simply nothing better than Wagyu Beef, in our opinion. The second of the two dishes was Strips of Tajima Wagyu Beef Rib Eye, Wagyu Sumibi Yaki, was served with an assortment of mushrooms and a garlic fried rice. We were served two glasses of Sake; one was served chilled in a wine glass, the other one was warmed in a shot glass. It was interesting to taste both and see how temperature changes the flavour of the sake. Both worked matched perfectly with the dish.
The end of the meal was a simple serving of Watermelon & Honey Dew Melon with a Umeshu (Plum Wine) Jelly, however the highlight was the Sake. This Kozaemon Shiroku Junmai Kabosu Sake is very reminiscent of Limoncello; it was truly delicious; so delicious that we asked for a refill.
We have never been disappointed with any dining experience we have had at the Sheraton Hua Hin Resort & Spa and this one was no exception. Whilst we were invited guests, the views and comments on this specific event are our own based on what we know and like about Japanese cuisine and Sake. Before each course, the Sakes were explained to us so we knew the flavour profiles; how each would match with the food. This certainly helped our understanding of the diversity of Sake; an insight we would not normally have received.
Akita Kariho Kassei Junmai Rokushu - Sparkling
Dassai Junmai Daiginjo Migaki Sanwari Kyubu 39
Bijofu Junmai Ginjo Junrei TAMA Label
Masumi Junmai Okuden Kanzukuri
Kirinzan Honjozo Black Bottle
Kozaemon Shiroku Junmai Kabosu
Hua Hin is already well known for having many top quality restaurants serving both International and Thai food; the style of food more synonymous with cosmopolitan cities like Bangkok. Hua Hin Chef’s Table is an innovative and exciting new concept for Hua Hin. It's about a group of eight talented chefs from seven of Hua Hin's finest restaurants and hotels, each presenting their dynamic food from their own carefully constructed menu; highlighting both local ingredients and international techniques.