We are renovating the bathroom at the moment so our little flat is covered with dust and no way I am baking or cooking in this mess. Luckily, our foodie friend Wenying invited me to the House of Wolf on Wednesday for the first night of Kaiseki by Kitchen Theory. It was so incredible that I had to share it with you.
To put it straight: 9 courses of japanese classic dishes cooked by 2 chefs who worked in Michelin-starred restaurants (Fat Duck, Helene Darrozze, Sketch, Inicio and more….) lasting more than 3h in a beautiful room with an amazing service showing incredible attention to detail. All of this for £55! (Drinks not included)
Be aware the pictures and descriptions might be a bit of a spoiler… but if you want to try it and not sure what this is all about, scroll down and have a look at these wonderful plates of food. Yes yes, you have to go!
We started by watching a 15 minute film with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and a bowl of salty popcorn. For me that was something between me and my dinner and therefore unnecessary, as I am not an arty person in the slightness. But then came the first course and what a sight! Each table got served at the same time, each dish was explained in detail and at no point did I feel rushed or intruded upon, the service was simply perfect.
The first course called Hassun- ‘Night garden’ selection of appetizers was one of my favourites. It shows the different phases of the moon formed by cauliflower panacotta topped with roasted quinoa. The confit garlic dust was incredible and I will never forget the earthiness of the 2 mochi stones filled with Jerusalem artichoke purée. This dish was accompanied by a tapioca and aloe vera cocktail topped with smoke from wheatgrass dry ice. Very molecular and very theatrical!
The second dish called Mukozuke-Sashimi with smoked dashi pearls is also at the top of my favourite list. The sashimis were blow-torched in front of us while the dish was described to us. It was very fresh and colourful and we loved the salty smoky dashi pearls as a replacement for boring old soy sauce.
The third dish was Owanomono- Mushroom consomme with an ‘eternal life’ Tofu noodle, a good way to wish happiness and a long life to us all. Again, very theatrical with someone pipping the tofu noodle into a delicious mushroom soup. I loved our little spoonful of extras to add to the soup ourselves.
The 4th course was Yakimono- Selection of Yakitori grills. Very simple and very delicious. We thought the emphasis was a bit too much on the nori than the beef, and I would have preferred a bigger piece of beef and a smaller one of tofu. I am not a fan of tofu at all but I really enjoyed this dish and the previous one. The honey/plum infused tofu had such a creamy texture like I’ve never had before, it reminded me of a creme brulée. The mackerel was the hit of the plate for both of us, perfectly cooked with a glaze of soy and mirin.
The next dish was Sunimono- Seaweed salad. It was refreshing and we welcomed back some colours after our brown plate of yakitoris, but it was more of a bean salad for me topped with a few seaweed leaves than an actual seaweed salad. The pink fish-stock coral didn’t really work for us as it didn’t bring much to the dish.
The 6th and 7th courses were served together. I will forever remember that pickled rhubarb, what a kick! I must admit I am not a big fan of tempura vegetables, but the batter was light and crispy, and I loved the lotus root tempura. Wenying promised she would take me to a chinese place where they do lotus root soup, apparently the best way to cook these crunchy roots.
Another star for me, the last savoury dish Gohan- uruchimai (Japanese rice) squid ink risotto. Superb flavours, shocking black colour in the only white plate of the night. The scallop biscuit floating like a boat on the black sea of rice rescuing the prawn. A Life of Pi food scene! A surprising dish yet comforting, I could eat this everyday!
Mizumonno- ‘Land of the rising sun’ dessert or Glory to Rhubarb. Do not make the same mistake as me by watching this beautiful plate too long or the rhubarb granita will melt away and you’ll have to ask for a spoon to finish it off! (which is what I did). Rhubarb tapioca pearls, rhubarb granita, rhubarb jelly, almond crumble, yoghurt meringue and vanilla cream, simply yummy!!