Saturday, October 19, 2019

First Night at Hiramatsu

We love everything at Hiramatsu Resorts while staying there for 2 nights at their Hakone property, but one thing that truly stood out was their culinary offering. It’s something they are proud of and by all means they should. Our half-board package came with breakfasts and dinners for both nights, so on the first day, after settling in at our gorgeous room and a relax dip in the onsen bath both in our room and at the private outdoor hot spring in the annex building, we walked down to the restaurant located on the lower floor, where a table has already been set up for us.

On each night Chef Yoshikoshi Kenjiro and his team prepared something entirely different for us. The first night was more in western style with a 6-course menu completed with wine pairing. The dinner started off with a spectacular presentation of amuse bouche bites served as a flower arrangement on dry ice for the smoky effect. Hanging on the tree were three different types of canapes of seasonal flavor, which included white truffle and lily bulbs croquettes, zeppolini (which is like an Italian-style baked dough ball) and fruit tomatoes with pistachio.

The theatrical canape presentation was followed by Osetra caviar with blinis and cold capellini plus the usual condiments. What’s particularly special was the condiments served in a wooden mosaic box made using an ancient technique known as “Yosegi-zaiku” which is unique in Hakone area. Inside the box were little sponges made with potato flour and different flavors (original, sesame, basil and squid ink) as our blinis and some seasonal vegetables (carrots, kabu, baby radishes) which we were told to go with the caviar. The caviar was not of the richest type but worked well with the condiments and the glass of champagne.

The next course was a bowl of “mushroom spaghetti” in which the seasonal porcini mushrooms were prepared in three different ways – pan-seared, sautéed and pureed – and served with pasta. On top of the pasta was celeriac espuma and a piece of toasted coppa ham. The pasta was creamy and rich as you would expect, and I actually like the touch of pickled celery to go with the pan-seared slices of porcini which were served on the side. The acidity worked well with the meaty, earthy mushroom flavor.

The fish course was amadai fish (tilefish) served in a bamboo basket. The fish fillet was mildly seasoned and poached (a la acqua pazza), and it’s served with a medley of vegetables (like a ciambotta) and topped with the rich choron sauce made with fish broth. The braised daikon underneath the fish just soaked up all the flavor from the sauce. The main course of lamb was said to be done Roman style, with a piece of Frenched lamb loin dusted with herbs and roasted, and served with parmesan crisp and a creamy risotto mixed with radicchio and wild rocket. The lamb was mildly gamey and very tender.

Our dessert was classic mont blanc with meringue coated with chestnut puree and served with persimmon slices and rum raisin ice cream on the side. That’s followed by the simple petit fours. (matcha dacquoise was my favorite!)

The hotel group also pride themselves for the exquisite selection of wines in their cellar. This evening we started with some champagne (of course), followed by an Alsace Riesling and a right-bank Bordeaux. Solid choices for the food served, and I especially like the Riesling which went through some aging with secondary flavor (honey, sweet spices) came out after the initial ones of lemon and mineral with a pleasant white orchid aroma.

(Our dinner and stay was arranged and hosted by the PR team of Hiramatsu Hotels & Resorts. Opinions are my own. More photos can be found here:

When? September 27 2019
Where? Hiramatsu Resort Sengokuhara, 1245-337 Sengokuhara, Hakone, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa, Japan
Menu Highlights? Acqua pazza of amadai with sauce choron
Champagne Delamotte selectionne pour Hiramatsu Blanc de blancs
2010 Domaine Trimbach "Cuvee Frederic Emile" Riesling
2009 Chateau Jean Faure St Emilion Grand Cru

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