IN combining the best of contemporary Japanese haute cuisine with a selection of fine wines, the Eyuzu Japanese Restaurant showed off a match made in heaven at a recent wine dinner.
“Mention Japanese food and the obvious accompaniment is ‘sake’. Wine actually goes very well with Japanese food because of the subtle flavours,” said Eyuzu Japanese chef Muhammad Izzat Lee, who has more than 30 years of experience in cooking Japanese food.
To bring out the best of Eyuzu’s contemporary Japanese dishes, The Wine Academy founder and sommelier Roderick Wong was invited to come up with the pairings.
“We want to encourage people to be more adventurous when it comes to wine pairing, as currently many people associate wine with Western food. Japanese food is also very suitable for wine pairing as the dishes progress from light to heavy,” he said.
Kicking off the night was an entree of Otoro, Chutoro and Akami Sashimi Trio Blue Fin Tuna Sashimi with Fresh Wasabi and Shoyu.
Beautifully served on a plate of coloured dry ice and decorated with seashells, the premium cuts of otoro (pink fatty tuna from the belly), chutoro (medium-fatty meat found near the skin on the back and belly) and akami (red meat) are perfect for those wanting to experience the different textures the whole fish has to offer.
The akami was firmer and had a slightly bitter tang, which gradually progressed to a sweet, melt-in-the-mouth softness with the chutoro and otoro.
The fish’s freshness was evident thanks to the pairing with Selbach Mosel Riesling Classic, which helped to reduce the fattiness and the fishy odour of raw sashimi.
“Tuna is an oily fish so we need the acidity of white wine which comes from a cool climate to bring out the subtle flavours of the fish,” Wong explained.
Next up was Kaki Motoyaki — Baked Canadian Oyster with Yuzu-Miso Crust and Crispy Lotus Root.
The sauce, while rich and creamy, was not too overpowering and managed to show off the freshness of the large and juicy Canadian oyster.
It was a myriad of interesting textures with the gooey sauce, the smooth and slippery oyster and the crunchy fried lotus root slices on top.
The yuzu (Japanese citrus) gave the dish a slightly sour hint which was perfect for whetting the appetite.
This dish was paired with E.Guigal Corte Du Rhone Blanc, made from marsanne and rousanne grapes from France which gave a medium to full-body concentration for a rich taste.
Moving on to the mains, there was Gindara Kimiyaki, or Gratin Cod Fillet with Black Truffle Egg Sauce, paired with Matua Valley Single Peak Pinot Noir.
The firm, sweet white flesh of the fish was grilled with egg yolk and truffle sauce, miso sauce and truffle oil for a strong, savoury flavour.
The dish is paired with a softer red — the Matua Valley Single Peak Pinot Noir — which is low in tannin and goes well with white meat.
The Wagyu Niku to Shitake Dare (Grilled Wagyu Beef Loin with Shiitake Mushroom Sauce) with a marbling quality of nine , was served with a side of soft and fluffy momotaro gohan (semi-glutinous sun-dried Japanese tomato rice), chips and asparagus.
The generous slab of beef was prepared medium-rare; seared on the outside to reveal a juicy and pink meat on the inside, while no corners were cut with the sauce as it was brimming with chopped shiitake mushrooms.
To go with this rich style of meat, a full bodied and structured Chateau Les Hauts-Onseillants Lalande de Pomerol with a little tannin, matched the red meat well.
Ending the meal on a sweet note was dessert - Green Tea Tiramisu, Amarena Cherry and Black Sesame Ice-Cream, paired with a sweet Luise Felipe Edwards Reserva Late Harvest white.
Served with a cutely crafted white chocolate ball, the soft and fluffy non-alcoholic green tea tiramisu was a real treat for dessert lovers, while the wine brought out the sweetness and flavour of the black sesame ice-cream without being overpowering.
¦ EYUZU JAPANESE CUISINE, Level 2, Eastin Hotel Petaling Jaya, 13, Jalan 16/11, Pusat Dagang Seksyen 16, Petaling Jaya. (Tel: 03-7665 1111 ext 203) Business hours: Noon to 2.30pm, 6.30pm to 10pm, daily.
This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by Starmetro.