The first time I dined at Kikubari, I was impressed by the delicate balance struck between the light touch of Japanese haute cuisine, the incredibly rich flavours of french cooking and the beautiful and clean plating accompanying each dish prepared by Chef Jun Wong and her team of talented young chefs, which was to provide an enduring feast of the senses.
I therefore looked forward to dining at Kikubari again with delightful company.
With such superlative cuisine, one would be remiss in not pairing it with the best wines and spirits to enhance the experience.
The wines were sublime and we started off as usual with a velvety Burgundy. This time it was a beautiful and elegant 2006 Gevrey Chambertin premier Cru.
It was velvety and reminiscent of crushed berries on a hazy summer day.
But I paced myself when I noticed the 98 Cheval Blanc being decanted. This stellar wine is truly memorable.
98 is particularly strong for the right bank and drinking a 98 Cheval Blanc, the best chateau in my view on the right bank, was such a treat.
Even at 20 years old, the wine was tight in the beginning and only opened up slowly as the evening went by.
But such amazing balance and it was just so beautifully structured. One could easily cellar it for the next 20 years, if you can keep away for that long, which is a tall order.
I never tried this Scottish whisky called Bruichladdich. Built in 1881 by the Harvey brothers, Bruichladdich distillery sits opposite the western shore of Loch Indaal on Islay, an island off the west coast of Scotland. The distillery produces three distinct single malts: Bruichladdich (unpeated), Port Charlotte (heavily peated) and Octomore (super heavily peated), along with an artisanal gin called The Botanist gin.
We had the unpeated 21 year single malt. I don’t know my Single Malts well but it suffices to say that this was no ordinary whiskey. It was quite exceptional and made the 17 year old Hibiki we had as a final nightcap taste almost drab.
Such was the quality of the Bruichladdich.
The quality of the food at Kikubari is as ineffably tantalising as I fondly remembered it to be. This time it was the main course that blew me away.
I have become weary of wagyu in recent times as it is too rich and worse, many restaurants serve it but not everyone does justice to it. A good number of restaurants over cook it while some, in committing an absolute culinary seppuku, smother it with too much dressing or sauce.
The Maine Lobster alternative option for the main course sounded appealing but I wanted to see how Chef June treats the wagyu so I ordered that.
And I was not disappointed. This was easily the best wagyu dish I have had in recent years. The centre was buttery and exquisitely pink and the sear on the outside was executed perfectly – well seared and even crusty and the combination of cascading flavours lingered in the mouth for a long time.
Kudos to the Chef.
Again, her dessert was memorable, this time in the shape of a light lemon tart with ice cream on top. The lemon tones were subtle and not overpowering and the sugar level was just right for me.
Kikubari – until we meet again.