After a long quarantine, this was the first business lunch in Shanghai. Sushi Kakure came up top in the ranking for the best sushi in town.
Off the beaten track of the Gourmet Street of Yunnan South Road, Sushi Kakure is part of a restaurant group that grew out of this obscure location. Previously called Sushi Shogyo, this outlet has been renamed Kakure which literally stands for Secluded (and the other branch in Pudong is called Shizuka 静 or Quiet).
We were served by the Tenchō 店長, Chef Ruan Guoxin at the counter. A native of Anhui, he has spent many years in many sushi-ya here in Shanghai and Shenzhen before appointed the Itamae for this shop. Although he has not been formally trained in Ginza, his knowledge of the ingredients and techniques were all imparted from Japanese master itamae through years of apprenticeship.
The 12-pieces sushi omakase lunch set came with chawanmushi, two starters , miso soup and dessert for a whopping USD 200. All the fish used were air-flown from Toyosu market. Given the cost of logistics these days, most of the price were paid towards the freight.
The meal kicked off with the chawanmushi.
The kani miso カニ味噌 is made from the tomalley of the snow crab, which provided a lot of umami. The shredded snow crab provided the sweetness on the steamed custard.
While we enjoyed the chawanmushi, Chef Ruan prepared the next course of sashimi.
I don’t know when it became necessary to add some citrus zest onto sashimi, but I always frown when the itamae does that.
Buri 鰤 sashimi is in season in winter. The fish was fatty and melted in mouth. The orange zest was totally unnecessary.
I am not sure if this is monkfish or angler fish, but 鮟鱇の肝 (anko no kimo, usually known as ankimo) can be considered the foie gras from the deep sea. A perennial favourite of izakaya, fresh ankimo is only found during the winter months, when the angler fish is the fattiest. The little species of orange discolouration that oozes out overall is the fat of ankimo and gives it the fishiness taste. Here, the liver was lightly poached and served with a ponzu sake glaze with a touch of freshly grated wasabi.
The selection of fish for this omakase course was properly fresh and strictly appropriate to the season. All the ingredients came from Toyosu., except for the Kuruma ebi that is farmed in Ningbo and uni from Russia. The chef explained that these two ingredients needed to be alive when delivered and with the custom clearance delay these days, it would almost be impossible to get live prawns or sea urchins.
Tamagoyaki (卵焼き or 玉子焼き, literally “grilled egg”) is a type of Japanese omelette made by rolling together several layers of fried egg. It tastes a little bit sweet with soy sauce and mirin (sweet rice wine). The Suzuhiro tamagoyaki uses wild fish surimi as a base giving it a smooth texture like a castella cake and a richness of umami.
I was surprised by the amount of red miso soup that was presented. It was not even half a bowl, but I politely refrained from asking why.
The dessert was a slice of Fukuoka musk melon that was really ripe, juicy and unbelievable sweet. It was just one step away from fermenting into melon liquor though.
Overall the techniques, the presentation and choices of fish was above average, but underwhelming for the price paid. It was not the best sushi-ya in Shanghai even though it was definitely one of the priciest. Once again, the paid comments in the popular dining website in China have over exaggerated the standard of this place, and you paid the false advertising in the price.
Sushi Kakure 鮨隐·笑鱼
Tel : 021-53012637
Date visited : Dec 2021
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