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Autumn is here! With all the hype surrounding hairy crab, pumpkin spice everything and white truffle season, we often forget about the more subtle flavours of these cooler months. The Autumnal Taste of the Forest menu ($2,080/person) at Takumi by Daisuke Mori is a nine-course sensory exploration of the finest seasonal Japanese ingredients.
Awarded one Michelin star in 2017, Takumi by Daisuke Mori is a small, open-air kitchen seating just 12 guests at a time. The tranquil and intimate setting allows guests to watch as the talented team – led by Executive Chef Daisuke Mori – prepare intricate dishes using French and Japanese culinary techniques.
Seasonal white truffles (+$300/dish) can be added on to selected dishes. Sake and wine pairings ($880 /4 glasses or $1,180/6 glasses) are also available.
The culinary journey began with a gorgeous amuse-bouche of caviar macaron, pumpkin consommé and tempura mushroom. The sweetness of the macaron paired with the creamy texture of the pumpkin and earthy flavours of the mushroom made for a fantastic start.
The first course was samma aburi (half-cooked and charcoal-grilled), served with couscous and a sweet, bitter sauce. The delicate morsels resembled pieces of sushi, yet the couscous was not quite as firm as sushi rice, making it rather difficult to eat with chopsticks. The soy sauce was made with fish liver, mirin, sake and chicken jus. The strong, pungent sauce together with the rich, oily samma fish may be overpowering for some, but the small bites offered just the right amount of richness for us.
The tachiuo fish with chestnut purée was a light dish comprised of subtle flavours. The white fish had a beautiful, crispy skin, while the chestnut purée was buttery and warming. This dish is usually served with pan-fried scallop but was substituted with tachiuo owing to an allergy.
The lobster tagliolini (usually abalone) was absolutely to die for. The rich creaminess of the lobster sauce coupled with the perfectly chewy homemade pasta was a match made in heaven.
From pasta we moved on to risotto with the akamutsu, charcoal, French barley risotto. The risotto here was purposefully overcooked and simply melted in the mouth. The fish itself was juicy with a lightly crisped skin. A note of yuzu added a touch of sweetness and citrus to the dish.
The blue lobster, girolles, fricassee, lemongrass was incredibly juicy, and the mushrooms had a prominent peppery and umami-laced flavour. The tender lobster and meaty mushrooms were an unexpected yet delightful marriage of textures.
By this stage of the meal, we had been pleasantly satiated, yet the gluttons in us could not wait to try the Hida Wagyu beef 2 ways. Starting with the charcoal tenderloin, we were presented with a plump piece of red meat, a whole clove of garlic and a piece of charred cabbage. The succulent meat was irresistible, and we savoured every mouthful. The well-cooked garlic added some extra flavour yet was not entirely necessary for the already flavoursome dish. The sourness of the cabbage perfectly cut the intense beef flavour.
The second Wagyu variation was done shabu-shabu style. The rib-eye was thinly sliced and stuffed with spring onion, seaweed and garlic and topped with grated daikon. The fresh filling encased by the fatty meat was an inspired way of livening up an otherwise simple dish.
Our final savoury couse was the kinmedai ichiban dashi consommé, a thick, nourishing broth that was both strongly flavoured yet palate cleansing.
For dessert, we were served a deceptively simple crème brûlée. This creamy, light-as-air dessert tasted less like autumn and more like winter with its homemade spiced ice cream featuring notes of cinnamon and anise.
We ended this luxurious tasting menu with tiny, madeleine-like petits fours. These fluffy cookies were thick and almost gingerbread-like in taste – another winter flavour that stunningly symbolises the changing of the seasons.
Takumi’s autumn menu is an incredibly thoughtful, consistent and detailed ode to the autumn months. While the cuisine and price point are unmistakably fine dining, there is a sincere warmth and comfort in the menu owing to both the cosy restaurant setting as well as the dishes that somehow manage to conjure up holiday memories even whilst presenting unconventional autumn ingredients and flavours. Bravo!
Shop 1, G/F, The Oakhill,16 Wood Road, Wanchai, 5599 8133, book online
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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