Super back-log post that should be posted 3 months ago! Yikes!
I must have passed the exteriors of the restaurant on a weekly basis when we lived in Tokyo for it was near my yoga school. When I found out what lies beneath, I wanted to go try out Ryugin before we left. But we never did quite got a chance. That was in 2007. 5 years on, I still wanted to make a trip down to Ryugin. The Man never quite understood my fascination with wanting to try the place until one of his friends raved about his dining experience there.
Thereafter, it was a scurry trying to secure the reservations at Ryugin which we eventually got. Woo hoo! Happiness!
It is rather impressive that Ryugin only opened its doors in 2003 and in just 10 years, owner and chef, Seiji Yamamoto has managed to secure 3 Michelin stars for his restaurant. Specialising in modern Japanese cuisine, chef Yamamoto use of fine Japanese ingredients in his cooking is beautifully plated and presented in each of his dishes.
That evening, we had the Early Spring Menu where the dishes signified the ending of Winter and the coming of Spring. Not quite knowing what to expect (I didn’t want to spoil the surprise by doing massive online research of the restaurant), all of us were definitely in for both a visual treat and feast.
Changing from Winter to Spring:
Seasonal vegetables with “Pine Nuts” dressing and sip of “Burdock Root” Soup
2 kinds of Calf Sweetbread – Sweetbread egg custard and deep-fried sweetbread
An interesting twist of the use of sweetbread. I especially enjoyed the deep-fried version which was crispy and somewhat crunchy.
We noticed that when the dishes are set in front of us, the serving-ware would somehow be a little moist. Puzzled as to why this was the case, I asked our server what the significance was. Turned out that in ancient times before serving the food to the royalty, the kitchen staff would need to spritz the serving-ware before serving it. If the serving-ware had been touched after the water has been spritzed, it would mean that the food had been tampered with. Interesting tit-bit learned that evening.
Ichiban Dashi Soup: Spring “Wakatake” with “Kuruma Shirimp” Ball
Beautiful bowl with intricate dragon artwork imprinted on it and when revealed, it housed this really fragrant soup with the shrimp ball.
Assortment of Sashimi Ryugin Style
Don’t expect to find the usual sashimi here at Rygugin. Sashimi is anything but usual and we all loved the twist that he did with the sashimi platter. The presentation, the seasonings, the textures were all beautifully done to show off his mastery.
“Kinki fish” from Hokkaido Grilled on Charcoal
Interesting side dishes that were served along with the kinki fish – grilled eggplant with stuffing, boiled daikon soup served like a drink and my fave of the trio was this pickled green apple with ginger flavour that was tangy and crunchy to the palette.
“Chicken wing tip” stuffed with sharksfin in rich chicken essence and chopped vegetables
Wagyu Beef fillet grilled on charcoal with assorted vegetables
My shot of the wagyu beef fillet sure didn’t do this dish any justice but this was sinfully good. Feeling stuffed by now, I could only manage 2 pieces and palmed the rest off to the guys on the table who happily ate the seconds without any form of protest.
Signature dish “Sanshoo pepper rice” with season vegetables in Spring presentation
Rice that looks almost too healthy and too good to be true. Managed just 2 bites and left the rest untouched simply because I was too full.
At this point, the server asked if we were all full and if we were like to have another special dish. I declined the offer but the rest of the table wanted to see what the chef would whip up for us so they nodded their head in joy. This special sakura ebi with rice was given to some of us and it turned out to be far more enjoyable that their signature rice dish (IMO).
Now, on to desserts.
When cracked open, our served dished out the candied tangerine to be place on the nitrogen ice-cream. A huge fan of all things citrus, this was clearly a winner for me. Baked Ginjou Sake “Oyaki Souffle” with feathery “salted” soft served ice-cream
And what do I make of this sake souffle? Honestly, it was one of THE best desserts I’ve had in a loooong time. Love that the souffle had a hearty dose of alcohol in it (yes, one could get sufficiently intoxicated if you are allergic to alcohol) that was well-balanced with the right amount of salt in that feathery soft-serve ice-cream. I wish we had seconds of this dessert instead.
Overall, a wonderful time spent at Ryugin and I’m giving it a two thumbs up for this three Michelin star dining experience.龍吟, Ryugin Address: Side Roppongi Bldg, 1st Floor, 7-17-24 Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo 106-0032 Reservation available time : 11:30am-6:00pm
Tel:+81-3-3423-8006 Michelin: ***