The annual Hanami festival is Japan celebrates the blossoming of the pink Sakura flowers in springtime and usually features Sakura-inspired food such as Sakura ice cream and mochi.
One of the best ways to relive this experience in Malaysia is at Nobu Kuala Lumpur as they bring you on a Japanese culinary journey through their high tea set.
Aptly named after the festival, the Hanami High Tea Set features three sets comprising cold dishes, hot dishes and desserts.
Each set serves up a trio of delectable dishes in a rectangular bento box.
I like how the sets are crafted by head chef Philip Leong and sushi chef Masami Ouchi.
Diners start with subtle and appetising cold dishes, gradually building up to flavourful combinations of the hot dishes or main dishes and end with equally memorable desserts and hints of sakura.
One of the most eye-catching presentations was perhaps the foie gras yuzu marmalade that stayed hidden underneath the Sakura-shaped Monaka Shell.
The chefs injected a fun element here where it can be eaten as a mini burger and as one presses the shell, the sauce and oil ooze out from the seared foie gras and soak into the shell.
The liver was cooked to perfection and the dish was bursting with flavour and a distinctive hint of yuzu.
It was accompanied by Wangyu Sando and King Crab with spicy ponzu chukka ramen with sides of edamame and takuan, or pickled daikon radish.
Thick and marbled, the Wagyu beef melts instantly in the mouth with its thin savoury battered crust adding texture to the otherwise tender and succulent meat.
Meanwhile, the bite-sized ramen portion that was tasted last has a slightly spicy sauce.
For the cold dishes, we started off with the sauteed abalone in butter soy which has a firm texture and buttery taste.
We then tried the boiled Hotaru Ika (firefly squid) and Wakame in umami broth but the taste was too mild for me.
But the last dish – Madai Tamari Sushi Ball wrapped with Sakura Leaf – made up for the previous entry.
The fragrant soy bean sauce paired well with the Madai fish while the savoury Sakura leaf was appetising.
Dessert-wise, we had the Sakura tea ice cream with Sable cookie coated with strawberry chocolate before trying the peach cheesecake with clear jelly and white goma mochi with Sakura tea cremeux.
Those with a sweet tooth would definitely like the sugar rush from the ice cream with crumbly Sable cookies, but I found it overpowers the more muted, yet milky soft cheesecake.
Save the best for last they say and the white goma (sesame seed) mochi packs a punch.
The custard-like texture of Sakura tea cremeux was delicate and paired perfectly with the piquant flavour of white sesame mochi.
This exclusive menu boasts some favourite Japanese classics with modern simplicity and palate-pampering luxury.
The entire high tea set feels like a hearty lunch as the portions were generous.
During the review, we were also treated to Nobu’s signature Black Miso Cod (not included in the high tea set) and it was a great dish.
Available on April 22 and 23, the Hanami High Tea Set is priced at RM158++ per person with complimentary green tea.
NOBU KUALA LUMPUR,
L4A-05, Level 4A Shoppes at Four Seasons Place Kuala Lumpur,
145, Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.
(Tel: 03-2380 0028, 019-289 5085 [WhatsApp]). Business hours: 11.45am to 2pm, 6pm to 9.30pm.
This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.