Guided by discipline, traditions and technique, the Japanese culinary arts are not easy to master. And to put your own imprint on a cuisine so well loved, is just another example of culinary maestro Chef Kenjiro "Hatch"?Hashida’s brilliance.
Having just celebrated the 10th anniversary?of his Singapore outpost in 2023, this year Chef Hatch has revealed his latest venture, Abura Kappo, offering a gastronomic journey like no other. Nestled within the Hashida Singapore realm, this unique restaurant-in-restaurant concept is a sweet escape into the mind of its creator and his creativity and personality.
Much like Hashida, Chef Hatch’s culinary philosophy, rooted in principles like shu ha ri, sho?mi hakkei, and ryuu ryuu shin ku, is extended at Abura Kappo.?The inaugural 13-course menu, Abura Kappo Vol. 1 ($200++ per pax) , seamlessly blends global inspirations with a creative Japanese lens.
This is evident by the cheeky menu, hand designed and drawn by Chef Hatch himself. Here, Abura?or oil in English, also lays as the foundation —?an ode to the fundamental element of cooking which is worked into the various dishes. Here’s a look on what you can tuck into at Abura Kappo, served by Chef Hatch’s attentive team:
The Journey Through Abura Kappo Vol. 1
The dining experience commences with the Monaka, a delicate fusion of crunchy wafers embracing creamy egg custard, blue cheese, Comte? cheese, an earthy mushroom sauce, and roasted beetroot pearls. The Lamb x Squid follows, boasting a harmonious blend of raw lamb and squid, accented by the smokiness of a unique gin salt.
The gin salt is made in collaboration with Tanglin Gin and also adds to the dish featuring hints of salted sakura and savoury kombu kelp.
The Camembert Cheese is one for the cheese lovers, served with a? herbaceous tongue numbing? powder of sansho leaf and sansho pepper on the side. This dish features a Kinome leaf sandwiched between a creamy camembert cheese, and completed with a crunch of a deep-fried batter.
The menu progresses with the ethereal Tuna Consomme?. Though served in a wine glass, you may find this liquid a tad bit more umami than your favourite red or white. Made with simmered down Japanese bluefin tuna into a broth of mirepoix of carrots, onions, celery, leek, and mushrooms for four hours, the dish is served cold with drops of sweet spring onion oil.
The?Managatsuo showcases a tempura batter fried Japanese silver pomfret. However the stars here are the dipping sauces including the sweet and savoury ouse-made onion sauce and a tangy tempura sauce with miso, and radish.?
The decedent well-balanced Ebi Toast, inspired by the Hong Kong Prawn Toast, is not to be missed. Expect a sweet pillowy egg base, laden with prawn paste, and topped with a sprinkle of panko breadcrumbs for touch of texture and saltiness.
Next, the Tebagyo and?Blue Fin Tempura (usually a wagyu tempura) dishes offered a delightful interplay of textures and flavours, with the former featuring an addictive chicken wing stuffed with glutinous rice, and hard-boiled quail egg.
The dish is also served with freshly grated wasabi and shichimi togarashi powder for folks who love the heat, whilst the oyako sauce is bound to impress everyone with its sweet contrast against the savoury chicken. The Duck Salad was a refreshing bite mid-meal offering a clean, sweet and zingy flavours of shoyu marinated duck breast, along with pickled turnip, and picked persimmon.
The Soft Soba Taco, also presented as a creative twist on the traditional taco with sukiyaki-inspired components like katsu (usually beef), tofu emulsion, shungiku sauce, and raw egg yolk.
The Oden was the true star of the course meal for us. Alike the tuna consommé, the liquid soup dish that we know was served as two different bites instead —?Daikon and Tomato.?
The former easily became our favourite of the night with the solid radish dashi encased in within a tempura for a savoury melt-in-the mouth experience. The latter on the other hand was where the chef showed his cooking skills by encasing? juicy, sweet and unbelievably delicate Amela tomato and dashi into a tempura shell. The kinome salt also added a touch of salt to balance the flavours.
The Donabe promises to fill you up, accompanied by a plethora of sides. The Nanatsuboshi rice is paired with seasonal fish grilled with butter shoyu, Hokkaido scallops, and dashi.
The dish is served with soup and pickles like Hakusai (cabbage), yellow onions that are marinated with vinegar sauce, and shio kombu, mixed with gochujang. For folks who like a crunchy bite with their rice, the dish also comes with a prawn tempura. In true DIY style yo can also create your own maki by wraping ingredients like the rice, miso marinated pickled daikon, burdock root, carrots and more, in seasonal Korean seaweed.?
Lastly, the Dessert featured the Mushroom Chocolate & Ice Cream, with never before seen?shiitake mushrooms and Valrhona chocolate shavings, with house-made vanilla ice cream and chilli oil. Alternatively, on the other side of the dish you’ll find Japanese dried persimmon with house-made matcha ice cream for an earthy, and tart palate cleanser at the end of the meal.?
If you’ve still got room and are craving for more, you can opt for a la carte indulgences, like Uni & Caviar Tempura (S$24), Ika & Caviar Tempura (S$24), the seasonal Kani Snow Crab Tempura (S$12), and the Golden Mochi, providing a perfect sweet note to end the meal.