Incredible Japanese lunch with Koshu wines

Superb lunch today, at Yashin Sushi and Bar (‘without soy sauce’) in Kensington (see the Square Meal review). The occasion was the 2011 installment of the Koshu producers tour. [I wrote up last year’s lunch at Umu here.] As many will already know, Koshu is a grape variety that’s unique to Japan, and which makes really attractive crisp, fresh white wines. We tasted 14 of them today, and they were consistently delicious in an understated, fresh, pure sort of way (write up will follow). There was a strong turnout, including luminaries Hugh Johnson, Michael Broadbent and Jancis Robinson.

The food? Sensationally good. So good, I’m going to have to do the food blogger thing and show you pictures. Above is the appetiser: a marinated tomato, Nanohana Brassicaceae (the broccoli sprig) and a jelly of seedless grapes with Tosazu (vinegar and dried bonito dashi). This was incredibly good. Tangy, exotic with lovely umami flavours from the tomato.

This was a highlight: oyster with celery leaf and Ponzu; scallop with jalapeno salsa and Yuzu juice; gorgonzola-marinated tuna with myoga (ginger) and yuzu kosho. All were thrilling.

Japanese vegetables with umami dashi (taro, burdock, kyoto carrot, lotus root)

Grilled yellow tail with chestnut miso

Fantastic sushi: yellow tail with sake paste; sea bass with konubu kelp and kinome (Japanese pepper); red wine marinated tuna with myoga and miso

These were interesting: the first two were finished with a blow torch! Botan shrimp with foie gras; waygu beef with apple and yuzu salsa; salmon with tosazu jelly.

Vegetables: myoga-marinated konubu kelp; white turnip marinated with vinegar and plum paste; mizuna with umami dashi. Below are the head chefs: Shinya Ikeda and Yasuhiro Mineno. A memorable meal.

8 comments to Incredible Japanese lunch with Koshu wines

  • wow! amazing looking meal!
    I’m very curious about your Koshu notes. The few that I’ve tried in Japan were pleasant at best, and rather bitter at worst. Although I did very much enjoy a surprising koshu rosé once (apparently the grape skin is slightly colored, like a gewurz).

  • Skippy

    Who is the UK importer Jamie?

  • Food looks brilliant. I could live on sushi…but then I wouldn’t be able to afford anything else in life! Great photographs!

  • Irving So

    Being living in Tokyo for over 10 years and myself a big lover of Japanese food (especially recettes traditionelle), I found these dishes here and ingredients and sauce combinations incredibly innovative. If one plays more of a traditionalist, they would be on the verge of “fusion” rather than Japanese, just like NW OW wine comparisons. Really wish I had a chance to try some of them too. You are lucky, Jamie!

  • Wow! The food looks too gorgeous to eat! What an amazing experience.

  • Vinocchio

    I am curious about your Koshu notes, too. Which food did they go the best?

  • Hey Wine Fan,

    Great Blog !!!! A lot of info and I am curious about Koshu Wines……………as I am still learning about wines and discovering Indian wines !!! But as you inform there are still many discoveries to be done!!!

    Will look deeply through your website !!!!

    Have Fun !!!


    PS : see my indian wine posts……..a must to discover !!

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