Friday, March 6, 2015

吟彩 Ginsai Japanese Restaurant ( II ) - Tempura Course Tonight

 Been to Ginsai a few times already. Sister restaurant Rozan behind here covers the Sushi side of things  (highly rated by Japanese Sushi Chefs in Hong Kong for their sushi technique, despite no Michelin stars thus far),  and Wagyu Takumi of 2 Michelin * fame is half Kaiseki and half Teppanyaki style.  Ginsai the 3rd restaurant is more about general Japanese dining with an emphasis on Steamed Wagyu,  their Tempura and Oden stations,  and some charcoal grilled Kushiyaki.




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Chef Eric Chan -
A seasoned Tempura Chef who helms the Tempura Counter.  They use a special White Sesame oil for frying at 185C,  which is supplied to the world famous Inagiku Tempura restaurants world wide including the 2 restaurants in Hong Kong.   And which Chef Eric also trained under..



Appetizer Course -
Ankimo Liver,  Pork Pate,  Tempura of a Herbal Flower with Ricotta Cheese, Egg, etc.
A welcome starter indeed and very legit looking, prepared by their in-house Japanese Chef.  




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Grated Daikon,  Lemon,  Curry Salt and Sea Salt -
For the coming Tempura courses obviously.  Where is the Tsuyu sauce dip?  The Tempura Chef Eric said eating this at the counter Omakase style will omit it.  *I know this is a preference style but I wouldn’t mind some dipping sauce too so I can explore all options.



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Shira-ebi Tempura -
This looked a bit different to the normal Maki-Ebi version.  Apparently due to the seasonal availability by fishermen, this was switched and made inherent sense.  Chef Eric believes local fresher prawns are a better choice for this purpose of frying,  which are kept alive in the water tanks..   Note:  They also carry live Anago Eel here for Tempura but we didn’t order  ~ 8/10



Whitebaits Tempura -
The baits are grouped together and fried.   I liked this a lot and it’s that time of the year to eat them   ~ 7.5/10


Mantis Shrimp Tempura -
This was nice and actually by this stage,  I found that Chef Eric has his own philosophy about Tempura and isn’t totally conventional in approach.   He does have his own expressional style.   ~ 8/10


Tempura Crab Meat in Yuba Wrap -
This was done really well as it was totally grease-free, therefore retaining much of the crab’s sweetness.   ~ 8/10




Iso-ni Abalone Tempura -
This is simmered in Soy and Sake first,  before being flash fried.  One of their Signature Tempura pieces here.  Liked the penetration of the cooking liquid flavour..  ~  8.5/10

Lily Bulb Tempura -
Interesting choice…   ~7/10



Wagyu Beef with Sea Urchin,  Wasabi and Ooba Tempura -
The beef is cooked to 30% only and the sea urchin  inside remains raw.   I need another piece!   To be honest a lot of places do Wagyu x Urchin these days raw,  but I personally think it’s odd.   However frying the beef slightly releases more oily flavour so finally it makes more sense to me.   ~ 8/10



Mehikari Fish Tempura - 
Already fileted and de-boned,  without their glowing eyes.   An interesting alternative to the Kisu (Whiting) Tempura once often sees.    ~ 8/10




Japanese ‘Broccolini’ Tempura -
These Japanese imports are similar to Hong Kong’s Kailan,  but more resembling Broccolini NA,  yet less leafier than Italian Rapini.  All part of the Broccoli DNA family but I like this version..




Oyster in Japanese ‘Pi-man’ Bell Pepper Tempura -
The Japanese pepper is slightly sweeter and milder than their cousins,  and the Chef explained this would pair better with the Oyster.  It certainly worked and notice how they didn’t separate after frying,   as there is a Japanese stuffing technique when making this and it’s similar to Hakka style Yong Tau Foo.    ~ 9/10




Ume Tempura -
Japanese apricot is fried and as I mentioned,  Chef Eric does have his own idea of tempura and this worked very well, almost like a palate cleanser with it’s sweet and sourness.   ~ 9/10



Avocado Tempura with Dark Miso sauce -
Interesting finish.   I am not totally sure I get this piece but since avocado is semi-sweet,  perhaps it is indeed an ideal transitional course before the rice and the dessert?



Prawn Tempura with Ochazuke Rice in Green Tea Broth -
The broth is not already salted deliberately,  so you depend on the submerged prawns which have been salted table-side by the Tempura Chef and asked to submerge into the soup to dissolve  ~ 7.5/10


Egg Tempura and Kakiage Don -
Another rice dish to finish the meal and this with that oozing egg was definitely and naturally more attractive,  and poured on top is a sweetish soy based sauce,  the same sauce seen in Tokyo style Tendon’s.   ~ 8/10



What Came next was a bit of a Surprise…
It’s Sweet Potato which has been fried for 40 minutes,  the external skin was super crispy thin but surprisingly not yet burnt.   The frying process for this long time thoroughly cooked imo potato was more about effort,  and it ended up being dipped into both the sugar and brandy to finish.   Very smart recipe and not sure I have tried this anywhere else before!  Strong alcohol but fun    ~ 10/10





Live Prawns and Anago Eel tank in the back -
Oden Counter at the front.  My last review of Ginsai can be found here:  Ginsai (I).  Although in total I have visited here over around 4 times already but most photos are locked up on my old Hard Drive.  Will update here if I manage to download them soon.   Comfortable Japanese Dining with a twist on both Tempura and the Japanese Kaiseki style dining..



Price:  $600-800 + 10% 
Food:   ♕♕♕♕ 1/2

Address:  灣仔交加里32-38號
32-38 Cross Lane,  Wanchai,  Hong Kong
Ph: 2574 1118

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