[Hong Kong] Kashiwaya 柏屋 - 3 Michelin Star Kaiseki from Osaka
I recently tried the summer lunch menu at Kashiwaya 柏屋 in Central - the only overseas branch of the 3 Michelin star kaiseki restaurant Kashiwaya in Osaka! Located on On Lan Street, the restaurant had been designed immaculately with paintings from renowned artist Shiro Tsujimura to even the distance diners will need to walk from the elevators to the dining room. The owner and head chef Hideaki Matsuo wanted customers to experience a moment of zen before eating his kaiseki cuisine which is designed with the seasons in mind. His well-trusted student Atsushi Takahashi, who has trained at the original restaurant for over 20 years, had been selected to be at the head chef in Hong Kong. The dinner menu ranges from $1800, $2800 and $4000 for 9, 10 and 11 courses while lunch is more wallet friendly at $680 for 6 courses.
The building that Kashiwaya is housed in has 3 elevators actually but the one closest to the dining room had been locked in order to force the customers to walk a longer distance. This is so the customer can experience a moment of zen by immersing themselves in Japanese art and culture along the walk. The first thing you will notice is a bell in the shape of a fish which is used in a monastery to signify the start of a meal to the monks.
As you turn the corner, there are paintings by Shiro Tsujimura which are showcasing the sentiment of summer in addition to a washi wallpaper where the unique pattern is solely owned by the Sugino family in Kyoto with over 600 years of history.
In addition to 8 counter seats and 4 tables in the main dining room, 2 private rooms are available as well which are named "Kaori" and "Minato" which means Hong Kong in kanji.
先附 / Appetizer
The first course was a refreshing combination of asparagus tofu, Gyrophora mushroom, wasabi, sea urchin and sweet potato. The subtle flavors of the tofu was balanced perfectly by the sweetness of the uni and the savoriness of the mushroom.
The next course is a delicate simmered broth of peached pike conger, white gourd, white gourd skin and yuzu flower. The eel is a popular summer fish in Kyoto and requires a skilled chef to remove the abundant amount of tiny bones in the fish!
The two kinds of selected sashimi of the day were a lightly seared Suzuki (Japanese sea bass) and Aji (Japanese horse mackerel).
The Hassun comprised of two boxes:
- on the left was a pike conger sushi with sweet soy, sushi ginger, Okinawan Spinach dressed with sesame and walnuts, sweet potato, broad bean, soy marinated ricotta cheese, eggplant with red miso, snap bean and dry fig.
- on the right was a roasted French duck breast, pumpkin wheat mochi, leek with tosa vinegar and mustard.
I was instructed to start with the box on the right first before moving onto to the one of the left. I loved the flavorful duck breast and while I found the pike conger sushi to be a bit dry, I thought the side dishes (especially the ricotta cheese) were very interesting.
The rice course was a Ichijyu Sansai (which means one soup, three sides) with Koshihikari rice, miso soup and three kinds of side dish. Koshihikari is a premium short-grained rice prized for its sweet nutty flavor and chewy texture which went nicely with the side dishes including tamagoyaki, marinated tuna and spinach.
The dessert signified the end of the meal which was a beautiful milk pudding with honey jelly and topped with pineapples, kiwis and blueberries.
Verdict - I highly enjoyed my meal at Kashiwaya with its authentic kaiseki cuisine and attentive service which made me feel like I was back in Japan again! It is definitely worth a try for those who wish to try a traditional kaiseki experience in Hong Kong.
8/F, 18 On Lan Street, CentralTel: +852 2520 5218
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