Named after Ca Sento in Valencia, Ca Sento in Kobe is no doubt the most famous restaurant in town. It is ranked at the top place on Tabelog among all the restaurants in Kobe.
Chef Shinya Fukumoto was trained in Ca Sento in Valencia as well as Mugaritz,Da Lorenzo, Martin Berasategui and few more famous restaurants before he opened Ca Sento in Kobe in 2008. In 2010, only two years after its opening, Ca Sento was honored three Michelin stars for the first time. The record has been kept till now.
Visited: Oct.24.2015 (Lunch)
Address:4-16-14, Nakayamatedori, Chuo-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo, 650-0004
Hours: Thursday – Sunday Lunch: 12:00 – 15:00; Tuesday – Sunday Dinner: 18:00 – 23:00
Damage: Lunch 8,600 (cash only) ; Dinner
For gourmet travellers, Ca Sento is certainly a MUST if you are going to Kobe. While the restaurant is quite small, only 5 tables and 1 semi-private room during my visit, the only serious isse here is to get a table. Ca Sento was on top of my to-go-list 2 years ago, but unfortunately it was always fully booked during the days i travel to Japan. I was not lucky enough to get a reservation for dinner, but i still feel lucky enough to be there.
I was looking for something interesting to drink besides wine, and the server recommended the peach juice. This was my first time having juice when i fine dine. OMG it is really good, the best peach juice by far. I didn’t note down the brand when i order because i never expected it is so delicious – aromatic, balanced sweet and sour flavor, the texture was a bit similar to glutinous rice wine, in general very refreshing. The glass featured house, tree and moon is so cute.
Although named ‘flan’, it is actually a Japanese chawamushi (steamed egg custard). The egg custard itself was smooth and a bit creamy in texture, the lily bulb gives some sweetness and the sesame powder brings more aroma and flavors. A very umami start.
Followed by a beautiful spread of tapas. I was told to have the Kare (かれい, Flounder) with green mojo, a kind of spanish sauce made of green corriander, garlic and parsley. It has a clean taste and balanced well with the bean puree on the bottom.
Tai was sourced from Akegara-shi (山形県長井市). The mojo sauce here was ‘red mojo’, infused by a pinch of spice, the entire dish has a stronger taste than the previous one.
This was a very interesting combination but really delicous. Used two different parts of tuna – chutoro on the bottom and otoro on the top. The rich texture and high flavors certainly don’t need too much caption. The creamy figs and yuzu sauce has a sync sweet and sour taste, which balanced well with the flavorful fish.
The skin of ikura in this season is turning thinner, those lovely pearls perfect bursted in my mouth with chock full of ocean flavors. The crepe roll itself was crispy and paired with the creamy potato puree inside.
Spanish anchovy was high in flavor, while the fresh sliced tomato and its juice pleasantly balanced out. Fresh cream cheesse with a pinch of Sansho powder nicely gives more texture and flavor to the bite.
I believe that most white people never had duck blood before. In China, there’s a traditional dish in Nanjing called ‘Duck blood and vermicelli soup ‘(鸭血粉丝汤) which uses duck blood cubes. I loved it when i was a child, but i never heard nor had duck blood sausage before. It was unexpectedly good, there was no bloody taste and was very aromatic. The texture was a bit dry, somehow like chicken liver, but was high in flavor.
The homemade focaccia was full of fragrance when it came to the table. It has a very crispy crust, the inside was soft and moist. The roasemary flavor with a bit scallion taste was really lovely, how i wish i can have this everyday.
Moved on to the first dish of the meal – unagi (from Fukui 福井市) sumiyaki, or char-grilled in English. As you can see from the picture, the skin of the unagi was slightly burnt to enhance its aroma and texture, while the flesh underneat was moist and rich in oils. The sourness of the onion sauce gives a hint of refreshness to the sweet unagi. The aftertaste was simply lovely.
The salad was made up of totally over 35 kinds of roasted vegeatables, fresh leaves, herbs and flowers. The vegetables in the center were roasted with burt butter to give more aroma and flavor. Finish with warm cheese sauce, this simple plate of vegetables was no more simple.
Although French dressing used for caesar salad is also made of cheese, of course you cannot judge it with Ca Sento’s. This cheese dressing is more liquefy and light, but it was very pure in cheese flavor.
Roasted vegetables includes: turnip, lotus root, carrot, gobo, cauliflower, purple and pink radish, potato, onion, peppers,yam, mushroom, spring onions, long beans, french beans, okra, purple sweet potatoes, eggplant, wintermelon, endamame…. After a while i found there was a layer of butter on the surface of cheese sauce, never imagine those two diarys can work so well on salads.
Before serving the main dish, i was asked about my preferrence of portion size. Sweet.
The main dish was challandais duck from France, it was wonderfully roasted. Its skin was crunchy and has a mouth-watering char-grilled smell, the meat was succulent and flavorful. Eggplant puree on the side was smooth and balance well with the high-flavor duck, the sourness of mustard gives a refreshing touch to the dish.
Caldoso,or Arroz Caldoso, is a dish which originated in Spain. It literally means “brothy rice” and consists of broth (bouillon) and rice with diverse flavourings and extra ingredients. This was probably the first time i have a rice (porridge) dish at a fine dining Western restaurant. The server showed me the piping hot Guison pot before serving it.
I am not a big fan of grain dishes, so i decided to go with smaller portion when i was aked about the serving size. The soup was rich and incredibly umami, the rice taste like mochi rice but not those super sticky type. Anyway, really delicious and i ended up with having 3 bowls.
A pre-dessert to clean the palates, the muscut was cooked to bring out its sourness. The warm soup cooked with ginger matches well with the sweetness and sourness of the muscut.
It was a week long before Halloween but the whole nation was ready few weeks ago. Chef Fukumoto also prepared pumpkin pie during my visit. Made of Japanese pumpkin, or Kabucha, the freshly roasted pumpki was very smooth and sweet. The tart base was buttery and slightly caramelized to give a more crispy texture, it matchaes very well with the pumpkin on the top. The warm pumpkin pie was side by a scope of Kabucha ice-cream, infused by vanilla seeds, its natually sweetness was nicely brings out.
Catergorized under innovative and Spanish restaurants, Ca Sento is a really awesome place to visit. Each dish was perfectly-done with a Japanese twist, and kept the traditon at the same time. There are also few ‘innovative’ restaurants in Tokyo, while in personaly prefers Ca Sento a lot. Have to go back for more….