It’s no secret that Japanese food is my ultimate fave. It’s just something that I don’t find myself getting sick of anytime soon. No matter how many consecutive times I’ve eaten it, there’s always something new to try. That’s what caught my eye (or my stomach) when I heard that Rikuseki An offered Omakase-Kaiseki for dinner. Kaiseki is a traditional multi-course Japanese meal showcasing the fresh ingredients of the day/season. That means that the dishes are ever changing and basically up to the chef and the ingredients of the season.
I read about this place in a small article on the newspaper of all places. Rikuseki An is located on the ground floor of the unassuming GC Corporate Plaza in Legazpi Village. You’ll notice the bamboo plants on the outside and a door that’s easily missed but you have to go in that door. Go through it. The inside is fairly plain and what I would consider to be characteristic of a Japanese restaurant where you would take clients to. It’s very clean and surprisingly empty until you realize that there are function rooms and talk and laughter seem to be emanating from there.
The menu is very straightforward and very extensive. There are no pictures where I can gauge what I want to order since I think the bigger the photo, the more popular the dish. Forgive my skewed logic. So I decided to order the Omakase-Kaiseki Shino (志野) instead of the Hagi (萩) option since Shino had meat dishes and better quality ingredients. Or so I’m told. Momma dJ decides to hold off on the Kaiseki meal and orders just a few appetizers. Too much food she says, gonna get fat she says. I am very stubborn.
I start off my journey with kazunoko (herring roe) with katsuobushi (bonito flakes). The roe had that interesting rubbery (not in a bad way) texture and the fun part was it popping as I bit into it. The katsuobushi gave a nice salty touch to the kazunoko wihich was seasoned with dashi (cooking stock). Next up was homemade sesame tofu topped with some wasabi. This tofu was silky enough that I had to use a spoon to eat it. You can taste the sesame and even see some of the grains if you look closely enough. The wasabi is very optional as I think it can overpower the taste of the sesame. Following that I was served 2 pieces of fried eggplant with 2 kinds of soy dressing. The first was a miso dressing and a dark soy glaze. Both flavors contrasted each other but enhanced the taste of the eggplant.
To cleanse the palate I was then given a small cup of black moss (髮菜) in vinegar. If you don’t know what black moss is, it’s a type of seaweed that looks like human hair. It doesn’t taste like human hair though! Not that I’ve consumed hair before… Moving on! I then had a a couple of slices of pan fried tuna belly. I do prefer my tuna seared or raw so it was hard to win me over with this one. I was then graced with a plate of 5 kinds of fresh sashimi. This dish included toro (fatty tuna), ama ebi (sweet shrimp), tako (octopus), scallops, and grouper. I made sure to save the toro for last :3 Can’t go wrong with very fresh ingredients!
The first of my meat dishes arrived in the form of a stewed pork belly. The pork was so tender and perfectly braised. It was accompanied by steamed vegetables that were a refreshing change of tastes. Next a piece of grilled Japanese butterfish which I thought was a little tough on the outside and quite bland. I’m hard to please when it comes to fish, what can I say. Then a surprise with a tempura of soft shelled crab stuffed with scallops, mushroom, and parsley. It had that perfect golden color of a freshly fried tempura. A+!
The second of my meat dishes came in as a plate of grilled sirloin with a slice of shiitake mushroom. I do prefer my beef to be cooked medium and although I specified it, it seemed that the steak was more medium well than medium. So so for me. A cute little ball came next and when I opened it, it contained a salmon oyako don. Oyako don literally means “mother and child” so it usually comes in the form of a chicken and an egg. In this case I received the sushi version which came with salmon and ikura (salmon roe). Momma dJ and I are technically an oyako don. We try to be cute. And fail. Hard to resist this dish no matter how full I was getting. I needed to see this through the end. I sensed that I was close to the end since I was treated to a bowl of miso soup with Japanese mushrooms. I really like mushrooms and I really like soup so it was really delicious for me. The mushrooms were a great addition since normally miso soup just comes with tofu and seaweed.
I was finally at the end. Our server had given me dessert and it was a slice of pumpkin custard and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Now, I prefer my pumpkin as a savory dish but I have to say that this custard was the bomb! So smooth and velvety. I regret finishing it before the vanilla ice cream which was very… vanilla. No, I still do not like pumpkin spice lattes >.>;;
All in all Rikuseki An’s kaiseki meal graced me with 13 dishes. I’m not sure if there is a difference in the quantity of dishes but I do not regret paying a bit more for the experience. I had survived the onslaught of little dishes that slowly made me full but it was definitely an unforgettable treat! I look forward to dining here again in the future and I’ll be sure to prepare my stomach as well. I forgot to mention that you have to prepare your wallet too because I’ve been saving up and bracing myself for this meal for a while now @______@
G/F GC Corporate Plaza
150 Legazpi St, Legazpi Village
Makati, Metro Manila
+632 752 1280
Monday to Saturday 1000H – 2100H