Beni @ Mandarin Gallery
I have my reservations about the Michelin Guide locally but still decided to show some support to Beni by Kenji Yamanaka.
Counter or table seats? I always prefer counter seats for a full view of the kitchen dynamics.
Our very knowledgeable server whom I really give credit to for introducing the courses repeatedly as if it is his first time saying it - I suppose that's how his occupation is, repeating like a broken recorder but not sounding like one.
An expected start with wet paper napkins.
King of Green Hiro Gyokuro
I was not expecting cha do of any sort but we began with an introduction to Kyushu green tea with fish bones used as the fertilizer for these premium matcha leaves. One can expect the flavours to be exhibited after a short simmering in 55 degrees celcius water.
We were advised to empty the cup leaving the leaves behind. Fairly interesting since the tea had hints of seaweed.
Our server proceeded to drizzle olive oil and crack some salt over before nudging us to mix it up.
Voila, a tasty morsel of seaweed tasting tea leaves began our forray into this Japanese French dinner.
Bread was served shortly after with hotstones in the gunny sack to retain the warmth. Japanese seaweed bread and baguette remain memorable with the blood orange and japanese sancho butter and normandy salted butter.
Oysters and cheese is newfound love. Doesn't matter if there was watercress in it too because it was moussy and creamy and the yummy aphrodisiac it set out to be.
Chicken from region of Bresse made this the Bresse Chicken roulade stuffed with foie gras. I found this lacking somehow, even with a strong concept this was meh chicken.
Chef Yamanaka sought inspiration from the roasted peanuts served during chinese meals and created a roasted peanut mousse flavoured with volcanic salt from hawaii island. I found this quizzical for it was just a bland mousse with hints of peanut. Thumbs up for effort.
Onion, Red Wine
Onion done three ways with a beautiful onion chip, red wine black truffle cream sauce and the most overrated onsen egg. Wobble factor was a 10/10 for this sweet dish.
The monkfish was first cooked in the pig's stomach before being plated with seasonal greens from Japan and France. I love how this tasted like scallops with eyes closed - bouncy and moist.
I opted out of the chocolate sauce that was supposed to come with this course, yet even without this was a delightful fruity course.
Happy birthday to me, with a classic mont blanc. Sable base, fresh cream and chestnut swirls. If I took Japan and France out of the equation, this was a pretty legit version of the famous french pastry. Light and almost sin-less.
Four tasty morsels to end off our meal, I enjoyed all of them equally.
My second michelin starred experience locally since the guide was released and I gladly say that some stars are more legit than the rest and Beni is one of them.