Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Sushi Iwa, Tokyo - 1 Michelin Star Sushiya

I am a frequent visitor to Chowhound, that forum where foodies congregate - and one of the sushi-ya that frequently pops up is Sushi Iwa, where apparently a great deal is visiting at lunch as one can eat very well for much less money as compared to dinner. So I didn't hesitate to make a booking for Sushi Iwa's lunch this trip, and I was glad I did.

The place is located in Ginza - as most of the sushiya are - in a ground floor building located some 10 minutes' walk from Ginza station. As the photos show - this is the opening; and it's pretty easy to spot.

We were ushered in, with typical Japanese efficiency, at 12pm (the time of our booking), and led to a second "room" across the street (which is a new expansion). We sat at 6 - seat counter in front of the chef, awaiting for the magic to start.

Since sake is a traditional pairing with sushi, we left it to the restaurant to recommend us some sake. They recommended a sake ("Zuke") which was clean and balanced and very elegant.

The sushi course started shortly afterwards. Here are the pieces, with brief tasting notes of them. 

First up was a flounder. This was more for texture more than anything, as I couldn't taste anything particularly memorable about it. It could be my perpetually-stuffed nose, or perhaps there wasn't much flavour. 

Next up - a yellowtail, with typical yellowtail flavours, of pure fish oils. This one was noticeably delicate with a subtle floral flavour. I quite liked it.

We were next presented with kinmedai (splendid alfonso) - which was delicate in flavour.

Bonito came next, paired with green onions. That was pretty good, pure fish flavours without being fishy in a bad sense.

The obligatory "akamai" tuna - which was of good quality. It had the "metallic" tuna taste that I love and only found in blue fin tuna, somewhat subtle as well.

Then we had chutoro, which I thought had better flavour because the fats combined with the lean meat contribute to a stronger flavour. This had great "tuna" flavour, one of the highlights.

O-toro was next; full of fish oils, very yummy and melts on your tongue.

Another highlight was the mackerel. Fresh mackerel is a joy to eat - very pure flavour of mackerel without any hint of fishiness.

I wasn't too impressed with the squid - as it was a bit chewy.

Next up was some ikura seasoned with yuzu - an interesting combination.

I really really loved the shima aji, very complex flavours; very delicious.

Then a baby squid was served - with a light yuzu dressing bringing out the delicate flavours of the squid.

We had a tuna maki - which was nice as well; good ingredients in the maki.

And finally, we ended off with a grilled eel. Pretty good, good flavour.

Overall a great meal and certainly very reasonable considering we paid 27,000 Yen for 3 people (9,000 Yen each), including sake. By comparison, we paid close to 4,000 yen for Sushi Daiwa the next day, which wasn't even close to this.

So yes, visit Sushi Iwa for lunch; it's a great place and certainly if you were to eat it back in Singapore it'll cost you twice the price (not joking). 

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