RyuGin 龍吟, (2015.12)
Nihonryori Ryugin is one of the most famous Japanese restaurant in Tokyo. The name of the restaurant 'Ryu-Gin' is derived from the Japanese word 'the singing dragon', which means to pursue evil and bring good fortune. Here at RyuGin, Chef-owner Seiji Yamamoto-san wish to convey the richness of Japan’s natural produce with the changing season.
Revisited: Dec.2015 (Dinner) [Last visit 2014]
Address: Side Roppongi Bldg, Ground Floor 7-17-24 Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo, 106-0032
Hours: 6pm to 1am
Reservation Details: By call / Hotel concierge / Pocket Concierge
Note: The lastest camera policy is NO DSLR, but taking pictures with handphones is allowed. The first few shot in this post were taken with DSLR, after being told the new policy, all the pictures were taken with iPhone.
There is only one Omakase menu priced at 27000++, plating the prodigality of Japanese nature. One thing that chef emphazies the most is 'aroma', and the aroma changes with the season. It was yuzu flavor during this visit. Oh, and guests are not allowed to wear perfumes.
As mentioned, the flavor of this menu is yuzu. We were firstly served with a shot of warm yuzu tea, aromatic and refreshing.
When i visited RyuGin two years ago for the first time, i was pretty impressed by the beautiful sake glasses they use, and guests can pick anyone they like for their sake.
Beginning with a variety of sensations: seasonality, aroma, temperature, texture and assemblage.
RyuGin's chawanmushi was one of my favorite in town, very silky and delcious. The topping changes with season, last time i had firefly squid in spring, sea urchin in summer and now it is the best season to have shirako. Pretty loved the crispy skin of grilled shirako, while inside was still creamy.
On the left side was a shot of crab soup cooked with crab shell, a little bit bitter but keeps the 'craby' flavor. On the right hand side was crab meat, crab roes and pickles.
The philosophy of Owan (soup) was from Ichiban Dashi, which featured the taste of the wind that captures a moment. Underneath was scallop dumpling, topped with Kuruma prawn and baby spinach.
Sashimi gives a messgae from the coast of Japan that showcases the richness of the sea and tidal current.
I was surprised that the server told us to have the Katsuo first, which is possibley the most flavorful one among the three. Loved the texture of crispy skin and the juicy texture underneath, while the seasoning on the skin was quite salty. As the bonito fish itself was deep in flavor, the overwheming salt and pepper made it a bit over.
Moved on to the Tai, simple and clean flavor. Interestingly served with salt and lime. Lastly, two sliced of clean but creamy Ika (squid) served with wasabi and cucumber. It is not hard to tell that the sashimi was not served in a very traditional way, not too bad.
Another part i really loved about RyuGin is all the servingware they used to served the dish, sometimes simple but unique, sometimes very luxerisou, but always match with the food. The grilled dish, came with a lovely chargrilled smell. It is quite interesting that they stuffed eggplant into the kinki fish, and beded with some crumbled chestnuts.
The texture of Kinki fish was perfect - crispy skin and the oil coming out of the skin once I split the fish skin with my chopsticks, the flesh was tender and umami. While the eggplant didn't help much on the taste but loveed the juicy texture. Pickles as well as apple-cidered green apple were served on the side to cleanse the palate.
Next was a hot pot of seasonal vegetables and chicken soup. Nothing really impressed us - just begetables in a clean chicken soup. Interesting part was the olive oil to serve with the dish, which was produced in Japan. I tried a little bit but still feel weired to have Japanese food with olive olive, although it was pretty light. In comparison, the homemade seasame sauce was very unique and delicious.
I am a pescetairan thus the chef changed my beef course to chicken. I forgot the flavor already.
My friend enjoyed her Sanuki olive beef very much, she said it was really succulent and flavorful. I once had the beef course years ago at RyuGin, it was topped with a deep-fried egg with a runny yolk, the combination was simply amazing.
Have been living in Singapore for almost three years, and i was surprised when i saw 'chicken rice' on the menu. Of course i know its not the Singaporean chicken rice haha. Different from the traditonal kaiseki restauarant in Japan, the rice comes in a bowl for each guest but not an individual hot pot for the table. On the side was a soup of egg tofu, shaped in the national flower of Japan 'chrysanthemum'. The messgae chef want to delivery by this course is ''the land of rice plants', and pleasure of eating off the same trencher new harvest rice.
To be honest, the rice was really really disappointing. When i was told 'new rice', i certainly expected chewy and soft texture with a sweet flavor, while the grains was chewy and tasteless. The chicken cubes were just diced chicken, probably the same as what i had for the main dish. Topped with egg flakes and sesame. A very boring rice dish. I feel lucky it was not served in an entire rice pot.
I had the famous straberry dessert two years sgo at Ryugin Tokyo, and the apple one in Hong Kong Ryugin, loved both a lot. But the seasonal new dessert was a combination of coolness, warmth, playful spirits, nostalgia and temptation - mandarin and sanshou sauce, topped with black tea ice cream. Both my partner and i were very disappointing on this dish, the mandrin tastes like canned, the balck tea ice cream was the best part of the dish.
What i came back for is actually the sake souffle, which was my favorite souffle (and the chocolate souffle from Vue de Monde, Melbourne). It is a combinateion of cold and hot sake, the cold and hot, sweet and bitter flavor were right to point. The only part i was not very satisfied with was the texture, which was a bit dry. Otherwise it would be perfect.
In my memeory, RyuGin's matcha was the best among all the starred restaurants i have been to. When i went to RyuGin Hong Kong, the tea was bland like water. Hopefully the one we had this time at Tokyo was much better. But i still prefer L'effervescence's hot matcha.
Ryugin is one of my favorite restaurant in my memory, possibley because i expected too much, the food was not really impressive this time. The dishes i liked the most is chawanmushi, and souffle, my friend feel the same and she said the beef was also good. Apart from the food, i don't really like the ambiance. There are serveal cameras on the ceiling, which made us feel unforcomtable. The bill came around 30k per head, although much cheaper than the most disappointing Hong Kong branch, i still don't think i will come back in at least one year.