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Honjo represents a fascinating take on Japanese cuisine, melding traditional Japanese thrills with locally sourced ingredients and creative pairings. With Chef Sato Kiyoshi leading the kitchen, eclectic cooking techniques are showcased on each plate.
Rather than opting for the à-la-carte menu, things get interesting with the seasonally changing The Dreamer tasting menu ($680/person; +$380 for wine and sake pairings), where guests are taken on a culinary odyssey of earth and sea, inspired by Chef Kiyoshi’s childhood memories.
Colour plays a big role in the presentation of each dish, with fresh seafood another focal point of the menu. Take the hamachi, which was the opener for the evening. Crunchy, thin radish and dried watermelon add freshness to the slices of sashimi and bring some texture, with the kick of ginger-infused ponzu sauce elevating the dish.
The kani salad was beautifully presented. A naturally sweet medley of king and snow crab is enhanced by kohlrabi confit, finger lime and fresh tomato.
Moving back to the earthy side of the menu, East Meets West was delicious. A circle of well-marinated heritage beef tartare is topped with confit egg yolk and crunchy fermented rice.
The chicken wings reminded me of the flavour of traditional tsukune (yakitori-style chicken meatballs). Slightly sweet and super tender, the wings are glazed with Okinawa black sugar, fresh chilli and garlic.
Classics Japanese dishes that we all know and love, such as the chef’s selection of sashimi and sushi and zucchini flower tempura, are not to be underestimated at Honjo. The sushi and sashimi were served at the perfect temperature, with each bite silky and delicate, while the tempura batter was light with a slight crunch. The tempura comes with a side of Japanese salt for sprinkling, but this wasn’t needed as the dashi-based dipping sauce was satisfying enough.
The Australian striploin BMS 7 was irresistible – the medium-rare steak paired with fermented mushroom purée was supremely savoury and layered with complex flavours.
At this point, we were pretty full, but we knew dessert was right around the corner. A refreshing lemongrass granita cleansed the palate before North to South, an innovative dessert containing creamy Hokkaido soft serve with white chocolate and green tea served over mikan (a Japanese citrus fruit) crumble, was served.
Honjo gave us wanderlust with The Dreamer menu. While most Pirata Group restaurants are casual and trendy, this modern Japanese restaurant takes a refreshing, refined approach. Inventive while adhering to tradition, The Dreamer menu is recommended when you’re looking for a mix of classic Japanese cuisine mixed with playful, progressive dishes.
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
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