Monday, December 25, 2006

Akane @ Japanese Association

DH and I have long wanted to pay homage to the sushi master, Nogawa-san. Nogawa-san is widely acknowledged to be the best Japanese chef in town, and many of the japanese chefs in Singapore have apprenticed with him.

As it was the festive season, we decided to splurge and treat ourselves to an omakase meal with Nogawa-san at his mainstay restaurant Akane (Japanese Association, 120 Adam Road, 4th storey, Tel: 6467 2768). Omakase loosely translates to "we place our trust in you", and it means we left it to the chef to decide what to serve (and charge, gulp!) us.

We were served a complimentary portion of ikura (salmon roe), very sweet and fresh.

We then started out with a sashimi platter - laden with the freshest and sweetest goodies. The usual toro and buri (large hamachi), with the interesting additions of geoduck, ark shell, botan ebi (sweet sea prawns), flounder, sardines. We were also served 3 different dipping sauces - ponzu, ginger and spring onion, and the usual wasabi - and advised on which ones would go best with which sashimi. I liked the botan ebi best, as it was very sweet and fat, not like the usual anaemic amaebi prawns that we get at other restaurants.

Then a very sweet soup with Hokkaido crab. Only the crab legs were served. It was meaty and flavourful, and we savoured each mouthful.

A nimono (simmered) dish of red snapper with burdock root. Burdock root, also known as wai-san, is sold at traditional chinese medicine halls, and is known to have healing properties. It was sweet and tasty.

The buri teriyaki was unusual, and a tad dry, to be cooked teriyaki style.

We also tried ankimo (angler fish liver) in ponzu. The richness of the liver was cut by the vinegary ponzu.

The shirako (codfish smelt also in ponzu) was a very generous portion, and DH and I shared it. It was smooth and rich and silken in texture. Very very good indeed. The last time I tried shirako (albeit pufferfish smelt, rather than codfish), it was very watery and curdlike, not like this firm ridged version.

Sushi followed. About 10 different types of sushi served one by one. 2 types of toro - raw and seared with a blowtorch - 2 servings of flounder fin, buri (again!), mackerel, octopus, ikura (salmon roe) and uni (sea urchin). The flounder fin was crunchy, tasting almost like shellfish. It was served with a squeeze of lime and yuzu shavings. Very interesting.

Then miso clam soup. Very rich, and hearty.

And here is DH's dessert.

And my dessert of shiratama azuki. Hmmm, there are less rice balls compared with my version.

All in all, a satisfuing meal, whipped up by the master himself. He was affable and jolly, and he came out from behind the counter to chat with us, and give us his name card. All in all, very memorable.

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