“Seasonal Kaiseki 懐石 Omakase”
Keyaki Japanese restaurant prides itself with its freshly sourced ingredients, presented in the form of sashimi, teppanyaki, sukiyaki and more. Their signature offering is of course, the Kaiseki Omakase set. Kaiseki (懐石) pretty much means a multi-course meal, while omakase (お任せ) is a dining style that leaves it up to the chef to decide what dishes you’re having.
Perched on the fourth floor of Pan Pacific Hotel, just walking towards Keyaki is in itself an experience.
Beautifully landscaped Japanese zen-like garden and a koi pond accompany your serene journey towards the restaurant. It feels like going through a teleportation device, bringing you all the way to Japan in that instant (even more convincing if not for MBS sticking out in the background).
A giant tanuki (Japanese racoon) even greets you at the entrance before the restaurant.
Keyaki features both Tatami and western style private dining rooms, accommodating both the traditionalist and the contemporary diner.
And for the omakase menu, you get to sit at the sushi counter to be served fresh items. I always say, the counter is the best spot in the restaurant as you can observe the chef work his magic.
Let’s find out what the Summer Kaiseki menu had in store for us.
Simmered Yam Stem with Sesame Vinegar Sauce. Light with a bit of a crunch, a sour start to the palate really opens up the stomach for more to come.
Grilled lobster Wasabi sauce, Grilled Clam with Vegeables, Egg yolk with Tobiko and Sea Eel Sushi. The mood of the meal really escalated suddenly with a strong burst of seafood dishes, all packed with heavy flavours. The lobster especially, had a mix of wasabi spice and fishy caviar all brimming with taste.
Clear Soup of Pike Eel, Chicken and Shimeji Mushroom. Things took a calmer decrescendo turn now with this simple clear soup of eel and chicken. Would have preferred just using boiled chicken instead of fried though, as the batter gets soggy being soaked in soup.
Sashimi – Otoro Tuna, Black Porgy, Flounder Fish and Prawn. Then the excitement of hte meal starts up again with the presence of sashimi. Definitely what you’ll want to savour is the fatty tuna (otoro), which is the most prized and expensive cut of the tuna, melting like butter in your mouth. Not everyone likes it, but I have unbiased love for otoro.
Flounder as a raw sashimi cut was a bit tougher than what I would prefer though.
Grilled Sea Bass, Foie Gras, Shitake and Ikura. The light green espuma foam was, as a guess, a light celery based one to gel the heavy umami flavour of the foie gras with the sea bass. The ikura also added strong seafood notes, and you can bite on the ginger stem to cut away the the high fat content on your tongue if it proves to be too much for some.
Simmered Deep Fried Aosa Seaweed, Prawn Coated with Egg Yolk, Maitake and Shredded pumpkin. As you might have guessed, Maitake is a type of mushroom also known as Hen-Of-The-Wood. A merry dish that really exemplifies summer and its seasonal produce.
Grilled Wagyu Beef with Miso on Oak Leaf. Lathered with Aubergine and miso sauce, this tender delight was the climax of the ride. The fermented sweetness of miso helps to alleviate the heavy fats, while eating with aubergine won’t make you tire of its taste so fast. Good measured portions.
Cold Himu Udon Noodles. And to slowly bring things to and end, comes the mandatory carbohydrate of the meal. Accompanied by a variant of soba sauce and serves to fill you up if you’re still hungry.
Musk Melon and Mango. And lastly, we end the meal with the abnormally sweet Japanese musk melon. Beautiful sweet ending to a culinary ride.
Don’t forget to try the Born Sake here. Aged in ice-cold temperatures, there is an aroma reminiscent of citrus flavours when you sip it. Sophisticated yet mellow, this sake can be enjoyed both warm or cold.
Like a well orchestrated culinary symphony, Keyaki’s Kaiseki Omakase set brings you on a ride of emotions expressed through the chef’s selections. You can expect your taste buds to be brought on a roller coaster adventure of wide-ranging taste, from the simply seasoned appetizers to the heart-attack inducing mains.
The kaiseki omakase set starts from $170++ per person.
Expected Damage: $100 – $200 per pax