Monday, December 19, 2022

Sushi Kumogaku

My lunch booking at Sushi Kumogaku was pushed back due to unforseen circumstances, so my booking in late July didn't materialize until mid Decmber. Anyway the restaurant was known to be one of those few local sushi places that's almost impossible to book, so the wait was really nothing I suppose. 

The sushi-ya is located inside a commercial building atop Pottinger Street - the decor was typical like any other high-end Japanese restaurants, with a L-shaped counter which can seat only up to 10 people (hence it's so hard to book). Two menu options are available during day time and I went for the shorter lunch omakase option with only sushi given I was in kind of a rush in the middle of a work day.  

Chef Kin and his team were standing by at the counter making final preparation when I arrived on the dot (and being the first), but he waited until (almost) everyone to arrive and settle before he began to serve. And I must say I was genuinely impressed with the courses served this afternoon and thought its popularity is well-justified. We started with a simple bowl of warm chawanmushi, with the pleasant aroma of shiitake ever-present the moment the lid was raised with the egg custard silky and smooth. 

The rest of the serving order followed more of the traditional approach with progressing richness with a total of 12 pieces, starting with a piece of Hirame and ended with the spongy castella cake. Normally Aori-ika (Japanese cuttlefish) would not make the highlight of a sushi omakase meal but this piece was outstanding with the piece beautifully scored and tender, gently brushed with soy sauce and topped with a small dab of ginger for the well-balanced flavor. 

Chef didn't alter the shari flavor or temperature from piece to piece and he opted for a warmer serving temperature and high acidity and sweetness, which I thought worked very well with the pieces served, especially the fatty pieces such as Aji, Buri or Chu-toro. And the warmness of the shari brought out the best flavor from the shiro-ebi (white shrimp) with a milder umami taste. I also loved the hotate (scallop), served from a large and thick piece halved, finely scored and slightly cooked for the super tender texture. 

Saba was prepared as pressed sushi cut into slices and served wrapped with a piece of nori - it has good balance with the mild marinate and slightly cooler shari, having made in advance and let cool. Other pieces served included sawara (Spanish mackerel), right in its prime season, grilled and smoked with charcoal-fire and akame-zuke (tuna) which was marinated in soy sauce for 5 minutes prior to serving - I thought that could do with a it more wasabi but otherwise it was excellent. 

It's evident chef paid great attention to the quality of the ingredients as they were on par with those I tasted in some of the top places in town (which often charges twice or 3 times as much). After the duo of tuna (akame and chu-toro), a combination of bafun uni (sea urchins) and ikura (salmon roes) were served in a small bowl with a dab of shari underneath. The ikura, still at its prime season in early winter, was plump like shiny orange pearls filled with great flavor - definitely one of the more memorable I had for a while. The piece of anago (sea eel) was steamed and served with a brush of tare sauce without grilling, so it has a much softer texture, which I found interesting. And at least a small maki of negitoro and a pair of egg castella cakes, plus a small bowl of miso soup. 

As we went on kind of a eating spree up until Christmas, this meal was just the perfect lead-in I am blessed with. 

When? December 14 2022
Where? Sushi Kumogaku, 8/F Lower Block, H Code, 45 Pottinger Street, Central

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