I’m excited to tell you about the dreamy meal I enjoyed at Sushi Ayumu just hours ago.
For The Love Of Japanese Food
There’s no doubt. I love Japanese food. When I’m in Japan, I eat non-stop. In fact, my Nozawa Dream Ski Adventure Gets Devoured without much skiing accomplished. Even when I’m not in Japan, I constantly seek out Japanese restaurants. Months after I still rave about The Exquisite ESORA Experience.
So my fellow foodies, Joy & Junie, suggest we check Sushi Ayumu out. I discover that Sushi Ayumu symbolises walking towards a fresh start with infinite possibilities. As we three friends are celebrating new directions with work or philanthropy, it seems rather apt.
Being seated at the counter brings us face-to-face with Chef Shintaro, previously with the Ritz-Carlton in Tokyo. As it turns out, Chef is the perfect man for the job of preparing our meal. Not only does he allow us to scrutinise his preparation, but he also answers my incessant questions. Truly, Chef Shintaro is a man of great patience.
Yume Omakase Menu
There are three Edomae-style omakase options on the dinner menu at Sushi Ayumu; we decide on Yume which means Dream.
As we enjoy the appetiser of mountain yam, we watch Chef prepare the stars of the show. There are a dozen items within our nigiri course. One by one, Chef pulls out various treasure chests and unboxes them, revealing fresh hunks of fresh produce.
The mound of sushi rice at the base of the nigiri at Sushi Ayumu is from Hokkaido. As the shari is seasoned with a vinegar blend, the umami flavours of the fish are accentuated. First, we have seabream with lime & salt, followed by marinated lean tuna with yuzu shavings. Chef then gently burns barracuda using binchotan, a special charcoal. As a finishing touch, he adds home-made uni salt. The result is phenomenal. I’m curious about this binchotan and read up about it here: https://knifewear.com/blogs/news/binchotan-charcoal-how-it-is-made-and-why-it-is-awesome.
Junie’s favourite is next: squid with a touch of seaweed. It certainly is a surprising departure from the clean flavours I usually encounter in squid sushi. We then enjoy amberjack followed by a bowl of salmon roe which explodes joyfully in our mouths. I cannot decide which of the next few is my favourite. The horse mackerel with a Genovese-style sauce, botan shrimp with roe, or grune heated with binchotan and finished with spice. All are painstakingly prepared and awaken the senses.
The remaining nigiri are the usual suspects: trout with roe, uni and fatty tuna. They live up to our expectations and Joy praises Chef on a calming, wonderful dinner. Indeed, I found dinner positively therapeutic.
Happy Memories From Happy Endings
At Sushi Ayumu, there is a signature roll full of rich flavours from fatty, colourful ingredients. The significance is to leave both Chef & customer with bright, happy memories as we end our meal. It does not disappoint. I’m particularly thrilled that it is topped off with uni. In fact, Joy is so full she declares she cannot eat anymore and gifts her portion to me. Double happiness for me!
A Sushi By Any Other Name Would Taste As Sweet
After this we finish up our miso soup with sweet clams and the best tamago I’ve ever had. Dessert is pleasant but my mind is still on the incredibly full-bodied tamago. I mean to ask Chef the secret behind this tamago but am distracted by a random thought. I cannot help but notice in conversation and indeed, this blogpost, that we refer to all the ingredients by their English names except for uni & tamago. My husband & I used to have a rule that our kids could order anything from the sushi chef. The caveat was that they had to refer to the dish by its Japanese name.
Dreaming Of Sushi Ayumu
When we leave the restaurant, it is as if we have just exited an exceptional dream. What I enjoyed wasn’t just the delightful food, but the beautiful cutlery and the calm ambience. Everything was perfect. Even the sake tasted more wonderful. We tried the Taiheikai Tokubetsu Junmai, the Kamonishiki Nifudasake Junmai Daiginjo & the Takizawa Junmai Ginjo. All three were lovely with the last being the fruitiest.
But what stood out the most was the thoughtful service that Chef and the waitresses rendered. I’m grateful to have shared this food dream with my buddies, Joy & Junie. For a long time after, we shall certainly reminisce fondly over last night’s meal.