Friday, February 27, 2015

quiet innovation

– the sauce is very good. what is it?
— it is six-year onion vinegar!
– what do you mean? this is six years old?
— no, half. every year we make the onion oroshi, with vinegar and mirin. but at first the onion is very hot, not good to eat. after one year, it is better. i take out half to use and put in new onion, vinegar, mirin. next year, i take out again half. six years now. it came with us from the old shop.
– you have an onion vinegar solera.
— you want recipe?
– sumimasen.
fresh onion sweetness without the heat, the richness of long-cooked onions without distracting caramelization, balanced by a rich acetic acidity: a smart japanese cousin of faviken's sour onions cooked in whey, and the unexpectedly correct match for well-aged maguro.

a thread running through lunch was the elegant use of ingredients: sayori nigiri chased by a skewer of its torched skin, kuruma-ebi dressed with a sauce of its brains. the shari was successfully iconoclastic—sasanishiki very al dente, each grain with a dot of crunch at its centre, pale pink and bran-scented from being dressed with a mixture of the traditional rice vinegar and the dark red vinegar made from sake lees.

discovered by the purest chance, but a worthwhile place to observe how a confident chef produces new, wonderful, and good-humoured food without having to make a big fuss about it.

the book

sushi shin (鮨心)
minamiazabu 4-12-4, platinum court hiroo 1F, tokyo

Thursday, February 26, 2015

a good sandwich

is hard to find, but is simple nonetheless: good bread, correct ingredients, appropriate proportions, proper assembly. the aggressive toasting job is a particularly nice touch.

embassy east
285 hoxton st, N1 5JX

Sunday, February 22, 2015

at bar liber

fig in passionfruit syrup, cream cheese, cracker. and a good bamboo. owner and sole employee fuminori umeda says: "i make it myself. it is very simple: fig in the syrup, kurimu cheezu on the cracker. it is done." just so.

motoyoyogichō 11-1 1F, tokyo.

Friday, February 20, 2015

at henri milan

S&X 2013
sebastien xavier is domaine milan's cellarmaster, and S&X is his personal cuvée (monocépage grenache noir).

Monday, February 9, 2015

a noodle vernacular

while ramen currently absorbs the entirety of the world's available noodle cognitive capacity, the singaporean vernacular noodle tradition—itself a subcategory of the south-east asian noodle tradition—carries on mostly unperturbed. all over the island, for practically nothing, you can buy a bowl of briefly cooked noodles from what will often be a specialist stall that has served nothing else for many years. the noodles will come in soup or dry with a broth on the side, as you please, dressed with your choice of various semi-standard configurations of proteins, vegetables, and sauces.

those who love noodles order theirs dry to prevent them overcooking in hot soup, and they choose the flat alkaline noodle called mee pok which distinguishes between the cook who gets the timing precisely correct and the cook whose noodles are an overboiled, gummy mess.

top to bottom:
  1. mee pok with beansprouts, poached prawns, chili sauce, oyster sauce, blanched pork shoulder, kailan;
  2. mee pok with sliced fried fishcake, sliced shiitake, blanched ground pork, chili sauce, jinjiang vinegar;
  3. mee kia with poached prawns, dried shrimp, fresh shiitake, long bean vine leaves, garlic, minced pork balls;
  4. mee pok with sliced poached fishcake, black soy stewed shiitake, jinjiang vinegar, ground chili and garlic, lard, pork and fish balls, ground pork, lettuce.

prawns and pork
bak chor
prawn and kc
bak chor

it is not only the ramen otaku and the italian grandmother who can produce noodles of precise texture and refined flavour combination.