Monday 2 April 2012

Spices: Kai

When it comes to food, I can be considered a 'purist', I'm not a fan of fusion cooking. Some would consider it as being snobbish but sometimes I feel that the true flavors from its origin gets lost with fusion cooking. I'm particularly very picky about Japanese Restaurants. When I heard great things about Kai, a Japanese resto who does fusion cooking, I dined there and tried to have an open mind.


During that weekend, there was an on going wine dinner organized by Wine Depot. There was a four course dinner with two kinds of wine that goes with the dishes. Since I went with a vegetarian friend, we asked the resto to substitute some of the dishes to make it vegetarian friendly. The meal costed less than Php1,500 per person.

Kai Wine Dinner Menu

The meal started with the Roasted Grapes and Tomato Salad. Sweet plump grapes lays on the side of a pile of lettuce leaves with a Sweet Spicy Sesame Dressing and the incredibly delicious Shitake Bacon. The thick slices of mushroom was delectably crunchy and it tasted like real bacon.

Roasted Grape and Tomato Salad

The starter was an Asian Scallop Tempura, I really got excited with the dish because on the menu the phrase 'red pepper dynamite' was printed below the starter. I love spicy food, the spicier it is, the better. Though the Scallop Tempura didn't provide enough heat to satisfy my craving, the crunchy battered perfectly cooked juicy scallops doused with red pepper sauce was astounding.

Asian Scallops Tempura

For the vegetarian starter, we requested for the Cucumber Portobello Mushroom Sushi. The Sushi tasted ok, I felt that the Nori and Sushi Rice overwhelmed the delicate flavor of the Portobello Mushroom

Cucumber Portobello Mushroom
The resto uses Real Wasabi and not the powder with water mixture.


When I saw 'Inaniwa Sichimi Pasta, Mushroom, Asparagus Infused in Truffle Oil' on the menu, I raised my eyebrows. The words Pasta and Truffle doesn't seem to have a right place in a Japanese Restaurant. I was doubtful of the dish until I had a whiff of Truffle Oil on the bowl of what looked like Yakisoba. The Yakisoba or fried noodles was divine, it was perfectly seasoned with the Truffle Oil.

Inaniwa Sichimi Pasta, Mushroom, Asparagus, Infused in Truffle Oil

For those who love the aromatic earthy flavor of Truffle Oil, this is a must try. 

'Truffle Japanese Pasta'

The Vegetable Teppanyaki consisted of slices of carrot, squash, eggplant, potatoes and corn on the center topped with string beans. It tasted really simple and how its supposed to be, grilled vegetables.

Vegetable Teppanyaki

The fruity Reisling went well with both the Salad and Starter. The fruity semi-sweet flavor of the wine complimented the grape salad and it brought out the sweetness of the scallops in the tempura dish. 

Petaluma Hanlin Hill Riesling Pairing

The main course was the Wagyu Kalbi Ishiyaki. Cook your own thin slices of Wagyu Beef on top of a huge hot stone. The marbled slivers of beef looked really pretty and yummy.

U.S. Wagyu Kalbi Ishiyaki

With this kind of quality, I liked my meat with just salt and pepper on it. But upon tasting the three sauces that came with it, I was blown away on how good the sauces where. From what it tastes like,  the sauces were Ponzu, Pepper and a Sesame based sauce. The sauces was so good that I found myself slurping spoonfuls of it with and without the beef.

Ponzu, Pepper and Sesame Oil Sauces

Beef dishes would usually go well with Shiraz but picking the Australian Cab Sauv was the right choice since the subtle flavor of it matched the thin slices of Wagyu Beef.

The Hundred Line Cabernet Sauvignon Pairing

I was really curious on how the Tofu Cheesecake would taste like, the inclusion of Tofu in the cake makes good sense. It turned out OK, the Tofu added a rougher grainier texture but it didn't add to the sourness of the cake as I expected.

Tofu Cheesecake

Kai exceeded my expectations, the food was prepared really well and most importantly the dishes didn't lost its identity on being Japanese. The restaurant is definitely worth another visit.

Address: Unit I-112 Greenbelt 5, Ayala Center, Makati City
Tel No: 757 - 5209

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