Chef Kakinuma is as humble as he is an expert craftsman, and is also able to strike the chord of balance between excellence and approachability. The sushi counter Omakase style of the restaurant enhances the experience with interaction between diner and chef, with decorous service and outstandingly fresh ingredients.
Sushi Shikon serves edomae sushi. As our editor Celia explains, Edomae sushi is distinguished from your run-of-the-mill sushi mainly by the quality of the fish. Edo literally means Tokyo, and Edomae sushi was developed around the early 1800s as a form of fast food which can be eaten quickly with one hand. Since this was before the age of refrigeration, fish served over these sushis had to be extremely fresh and caught in the same day from Tokyo harbour. Today, Edomae sushi concentrates on focusing the flavour of individual ingredients, so only the freshest, highest quality of seafood are used.
There is no hybrid uni pasta, California rolls or any other type of Japanese fusion here. There is skilled patience exercised as each piece of fresh Japanese seafood is hand pressed into the lightly vinegared rice. With a brush of soy sauce under the sushi, it is placed atop the rice and then served with a tiny mound of freshly grated wasabi.
As a third-generation sushi chef, Kakinuma has dedicated his life to refining techniques, cultivating relationships with top suppliers, and offering unparalleled experiences to the customers seated across his sushi counter. Although in 2014 the restaurant was awarded the highest honour of three-Michelin stars, a sense of complacency did not grasp Chef Kakinuma, who has spent the year further pushing the boundaries of edomae sushi, delighting his guests with innovative dishes such as amaebi garnished with kelp and finished with caviar, while still maintaining the exquisite consistency of Sushi Shikon signatures such as steamed abalone with liver sauce and tender octopus.
We sat down to some of these delights and were excited to hear of the many forays into as yet untapped culinary realms by chef. “My personal passion for sushi has grown so much this year. The sophisticated palettes of Hong Kong diners never fail to impress me, and my personal standards of excellence have risen to unimaginable heights. The relationship with our guests is at the forefront of everything that I do. I’ve built personal friendships with regular guests that are not only rewarding but also inspire me to continue learning and trying to out do myself day after day,” said Chef Kakinuma.
This personal touch is felt in every part of Chef Yoshiharu’s food. Many dishes are available now and in the cold winter waters, the female snow crab is flown in daily for distinctive freshness. This dish consists of an entire snow crab de-shelled and then re-shelled, to be topped with crab roe and citrus gelée.
Seasonal roll of mackerel, dried squash skin, pickled ginger, and shiso, wrapped in white kombu, is immaculately well balanced and the mackeral is able to shine.
Aside from the seasonal dishes, the castello egg, Hokkaido uni, tuna and steamed abalone were outstanding, with a particular head nod to the abalone, which was so tender we aren’t sure we will ever be able to eat abalone of any other standard again. It also came with an outstanding abalone liver sauce, that when combined with the succulent abalone made for umami centric decadence. And just at the moment when we thought the delectable sauce would not be finished entirely (what an atrocious waste THAT would have been), Chef Yoshiharu gives us some extra rice to mix with the sauce, creating what affectionally names a “Japanese risotto”.
A final favourite, the octopus, was one of the top dishes of 2014 for us. The octopus was so tender, and the fat around the outside was akin to that one might find on a pork belly.
Masterful sushi chefs coupled with the finest ingredients from Japan, excellence in service and an intimate setting, have made Sushi Shikon a three-Michelin-star restaurant that continues to shine above the rest.