Home' Scoop : Scoop 52 Winter 2010 Contents that, as would others, but I don t think so (now)." The term Muneki prefers to
use to define his food is "modern Japanese".
"When I come at the food, always the main element is Japanese, plus I use
a bit of Chinese, and bits and pieces of Korean, because of my family back-
ground." Muneki also has no qualms about using western ingredients such as
truffles or foie gras. But he also warns that his is a Japanese restaurant with no
sushi in sight. "We don t do sushi, because it s very specialised. I never trained
as a sushi chef, and I feel a bit hesitant to do it. We occasionally do nigiri
sushi, which is hand-formed, but in a different way to other people. It sounds
very simple, but you need great skill to do it."
Sashimi, on the other hand, is something he excels at. "Sashimi is different.
I believe now I have a bit of an idea on how to handle fish, because I ve been
doing this for 15 or 16 years, and I m confident of cutting and slicing the fish,
and coming up with something which is unique."
Nothing could be more unique -- or more Japanese -- than his Sashimi
Nine Style, which remains his most popular entree. An exquisite and abun-
dant collection of different types of sashimi, styled with mathematical
precision into a grid, it is a must-have dish. The delicious squares, slices and
mounds of different types of raw fish, marinated in various flavours and pre-
sented in myriad ways, beg to be savoured slowly to allow their subtle flavours
to linger on the palate.
There is delicacy, precision and a deliciously potent flavour too in the
restaurant s squid noodle soup. Fat fresh oysters, meanwhile, which come
wrapped in salmon, or married with hauntingly flavoursome sauces and mari-
nades, become astonishingly regal on the plate.
Muneki s individual style is evident in his roasted duck breast. A largely
European ingredient, the duck breast is presented in the Japanese style,
medium rare and mouth-wateringly succulent. Presented with seared scallops,
chilli seaweed salad and a twin plum and chilli miso, it is a house favourite.
A beef tataki is bold in flavour and conception, and comes marinated with
yakumi condiments and a grapefruit ponzu, and adorned with fresh sea
urchin and slices of fresh black truffle.
Muneki s diverse menu options also reflect his signature take on food, and
many of his regulars will just ask him to cook for them, without looking at a
menu -- his omakase menu which means "trust the chef " and requires two days
notice. In addition to his a la cart menu, there is also a tokutoku, or three-
course option, or an osusume, four-course option. Intriguingly, there is also the
"Ann and Jason" five-course sharing option. This latter selection enables people
to share their dishes, and is named for a couple of regulars, who ve come to
dine every week since the restaurant first opened.
"They never look at the menu, and in a way they re helping me, because
I m trying something new out on them all the time. So when they come,
we start cooking. They have been coming since the beginning and are now
friends, and all my staff loves them too."
Muneki s dessert menu boasts, among other things, a delicious green-tea
creme brulee and a green-tea ice-cream. This last is still a work in progress, he
says, "because that s my weak point. I never eat dessert".
His favourite winter ingredient, meanwhile, is bluefin tuna, which he uses
for sashimi. "A lot of people believe that sashimi is a summer dish, but many
fish are at their best in winter, especially hiramasa (baby kingfish) and bluefin
tuna. Bluefin tuna, I only get in winter. It tastes better than yellowfin but is
very expensive and hard to handle because its colour changes quickly, because
it is fatter than yellowfin or bigeye, particularly the toro, or belly part. Some
people believe that with tuna, a red colour is better, but it s not always the
case. The toro part is closer to pink."
Muneki also likes Dorper lamb, which he laughing acknowledges is "very
150g sashimi-grade hiramasa (baby kingfish) cut into small cubes
1 tsp seasoned miso
1 tsp sesame paste
1/2 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tbsp mirin (sweet rice wine)
salt, pepper and sesame seeds
Mix all ingredients together and decorate with garnish of your preference.
Fresh swordfish or snapper can be used instead of hiramasa.
WASABI BASIL SALMON:
150g sashimi-grade salmon finely diced
1/2 tsp wasabi paste
1/2 tsp basil pesto
1 tbsp olive oil
2-3 drops soy sauce
2-3 drops lemon juice
1 tsp wasabi-infused tobiko caviar
salt and pepper
fresh basil finely cut
Mix all ingredients and add lemon juice and seasoning to taste.
150g sashimi-grade tuna cut into cubes
1/2 tsp tobanjan chilli garlic paste
1/2 tsp cochujan chilli miso paste
1/2 tsp white miso
1 tsp sesame oil
1/2 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp yakumi mix (finely diced ginger, garlic, daikon radish, onion and mint)
Mix all ingredients and decorate with your preferred garnish.
NOTE: These are just few samples of Nine-style sashimi. You can use other
fish or seafood if it is fresh enough to eat sashimi style. Traditional Japanese
style (using wasabi and soy sauce) is not the only way to enjoy sashimi
dishes. You can create your own sashimi dish with your own imagination!
SASHIMI NINE STYLE ~ Serves 4 (entree only)
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