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Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Japanese Home Cooking - TheLondonFoodie

The dining room set up - Photo by Catriona Mills
While cruising at 30 thousand feet on route to Australia, a Travel  magazine brought back fond memories of a recent Japanese supper club I attended. This supper club experience reminded me of how little I know about Japan and its wonderful cuisine/culture.

As now an "expert" on the supper club experience (this being my second), I thought I knew what to expect. I realised how wrong I was as we were being welcomed into Luiz Hara's wonderful home by smartly dressed volunteers serving us oderves and gin & tonics. This was a whole new level of professionalism, sophistication and discovery.

Knowing a little about the host (Luiz Hara of The London Foodie), his experience with Japanese cuisine and the prospect of Japanese home cooking,  I was excited for weeks! And as we were seated, with the other 22 diners, I knew this was going to be ...... Awesome!!

We started with Pitan Dofu, which is tofu topped with chopped century eggs. I have never tried century eggs before, but with the combination of the silken tofu, soya sauce and sesame oil this dish was something special.

Pitan Dofu
Extra-soft silken tofu topped with a mixture of chopped century old eggs, zasai [pickled mustard], soya sauce and sesame oil
Each course was prepped in a well oiled operation in Luiz's kitchen. The slices of sashimi salmon served next was triumph on a plate.
Luiz preparing the Salmon Sashimi South American Way
Thin slices of sashimi salmon served with wasabi soured cream & avocados, Japanese vinaigrette, shallot chips, and chives
Picture by Catriona Mills
The wasabi soured cream had just enough zing to perfectly compliment the fish without being over powering. It was a well balanced creation and possibly one of the best sashimi dishes I have tried.
Photo by Catriona Mills
Main 1 Cod & Seafood Nabe in a White Miso & Soya Milk Broth
Photo by Catriona Mills
The Japanese hot pot to follow was probably the highlight of the meal for me. The concoction of ingredients which included cod, praws squid and clams, tofu and oyster mushrooms (just to name a few) were beautifully presented like a work of art on each table. The japanese stock of soya milk, white miso and dashi was then poured over the mixture and allowed to cook. This is one of my favourite types of dishes (as seen in my Mongolian Grill and Little Lamb posts), but this Cod & Seafood Nabe completely blew me away. The picture almost speaks for itself, the freshness and combination of ingredients and flavours was absolutely spot on. Too bad I cannot order something like this in a restaurant.

The dinner was a complete feast which also included caramalised pork belly which melted in my mouth, Aubergine Dengaku,Tamagoyaki (multi-layered Japanese omlette) and for dessert home made ice cream trio of black sesame seeds, red beans and green tea.

It was easy to forget that this top restaurant quality meal was at someones's house. Luiz was a great host, very humble yet excited about the food being served. For me this food was the best experience and the most exciting aspect. Please check it out for yourself.

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