I received an email the other day from the PR manager of the tsunami restaurants group inviting me to dine at fuku as a guest of theirs and maybe write a post. I hadn’t heard of lot about fuku but I have been a fan of tsunami for a long time so I went along on a chilly Tuesday night. Entering fuku is quite an experience, It is a small restaurant that is roughly one quarter the size of it’s neighboring tsunami and as you walk up you are greeted with a large opaque glass door. After pressing the intercom the glass door slowly slid open and revealed a small dining room that only seats roughly 14 people.
Before the meals arrived we were served a number of different sakes from regions in Japan. As I was driving I didn’t indulge in as many of them as I would have liked but what impressed me about this was the waiter that served the sake had an incredible knowledge of Japanese culture and sake regions, much like a sommelier would have a vast knowledge of french wine regions.
The first course that we had were the Kawa Ebi with sun dried crispy nori sheet. As it turns out kawa ebi are school prawns that have been seasoned and deep fried. I really enjoyed these, they were crispy on the outside but had a wonderful sweetness on the inside. I had a similar dish at el publico (link to post) but these were much more enjoyable.
After a lot of friendly chat with my fellow bloggers the second course arrived. This was a small tasting plate which consisted of the following;
- Smoked wagyu steak – This was really interesting, upon looking at it you would think that it’s just an piece of seared steak but upon tasting it there is an intense hit of smoke. This was really interesting but delicious at the same time.
- Deep fried oyster topped with a ginger sauce – I really enjoyed this, The oyster was still raw as the cooking process was there just to crisp up that tempura batter. Having the tenderness of a fresh oyster mixed with the crispy tempura coating made for a very interesting mix.
- Pan fried fish – The interesting thing about this was that the sauce tasted a lot like your local sweet and sour takeaway sauce while the fish was pretty well cooked. I didn’t mind this particular fish being well cooked as i found the chewiness to be quite pleasant.
The next course that was prepared for us was a selection of sashimi. At Tsunami/Fuku they never buy fillets, they always buy whole fish and break it down. this is because everything on the fish can be used, even the bones can be used to make stock. On this particular sashimi plate there was;
- Prawns – I have to say that I haven’t had prawns that were prepared like this before, they were incredibly sweet and delicious on their own.
- Tuna – You could tell that this tuna was of fantastic quality as the fish just melted in your mouth, Everyone at the table really enjoyed this.
- Salmon – I found while I enjoyed the salmon I found that the particular flavours that were going on were pretty subtle.
More sake drinking and more conversations about food followed the sashimi course and after a short wait we were greeted with the next course. This was the particular course that I was looking forward to the most of all the courses. I am a massive quail fan so I was interest to see what Fuku’s take on this would be. What I was presented with what a deboned quail from the hunter valley that had been grilled on the teppenyaki plate. Then it was wrapped in a buckwheat pancake with some vegetables and served with a miso barbeque sauce. While this was the course that I was looking forward to the most I found it was my least favourite. There was a comparatively large pancake to the ratio of quail that you received and upon reflection it isn’t something that makes me think “man that was a good dish.”
While I type this blog up thinking of this particular course makes me smile. It was listed on the menu as “Scallop, Prawn & Crispy Prawn Head”. Watching the chef prepare it I was amazed to see he took the extra large tiger prawn, shelled the prawn and then deftly used his knife to cleanly remove everything inside of the head. This prawn head was then placed on the teppanyaki grill and then pressed flat so it went really crispy. This crispy prawn head was also served with a grilled body of the prawn and a extremely fresh scallop that was only on the grill for maybe 30 seconds. When the chef was describing this dish he casually said “this dish is served with an uni (sea urchin) butter” This caused me to instantly say “I am so happy! Sea urchin is one of my favourite things in the world!” I have to say that every component was cooked to perfection but that butter just took things to another level. A world class dish.
Next up we received the fish of the day. This is based on whats fresh and that particular day the swordfish was particularly fresh. The swordfish was simply grilled, topped with a miso dressing and served with a braised lotus root and a baby eggplant. The eggplant received lots of giggles (some were from me) at the somewhat interesting shape of the eggplant. I will leave that one to your imagination. In terms of flavour I really liked the springy texture of the swordfish, It gave this a wonderful meaty flavour.
I was starting to feel pretty full at this point but I knew that we only had one savoury dish to go. This particular dish was a grade 9+ wagyu sirloin. Before cooking the chef asked us how we would each like our steak prepared, the chef recommended that as wagyu has a higher fat content than normal steaks that the preferential way of cooking is to medium. I decided to take him up on the recommendation and we watched him skillfully prepare this steak with lots of interesting knife work. The steak was served with an onion that had been cooked slowly on the grill and some fried rice. I really liked the fried rice as the chef had left it to rest on the grill for 20 minutes before serving so you go nice chunks of crispy rice and some nice chunks of soft and warm rice. As for the steak it was perfectly cooked much like the rest of this meal. I am a definite convert to cooking wagyu to medium now!
Finally we had one dessert course to go. I was really full by this stage but dessert smelled really good! This was a yuzu cheesecake that was served with a wasabi cream, mountain peach and chocolate drink. The chocolate drink was warm and comforting, it felt like it was pretty much just melted chocolate. The mountain peach was really interesting as the flavour was quite sour but the texture was kind of like broccoli. Yep really interesting. The most surprising thing on this dish was the wasabi cream, there was a definite hit of wasabi in this cream and I have to admit the heat from the wasabi went really well with the richness of the cream.
Upon reflection my meal at fuku was one of the best meals that I have had in a while. The thing that I liked about this meal that all the ingredients were of incredibly high quality and they were all cooked to perfection. I left feeling very full and very happy. What a fantastic meal.