Sunday, February 21, 2016

Kikunoi Kyoto Kaiseki on Singapore Airlines

I used to think that airplane meals are unpalatable or even tasteless but I now take my words back after having a delicious Kaiseki dining experience on-board the Singapore airlines business class flight from Narita (Tokyo) back to Singapore. In fact, I recalled that having similar in-flight kaiseki meal back in 2012 and looks like improvements have been made to the meals.

Kaiseki or any Michelin-star restaurant, is not a top priority for me when I travel in Japan. And thus, I have never been to any of the highly rated expensive spots like Nihonryouri Ryujin or Kikunoi, of course not even Sushi Jiro. I think I’ll be happier with a convenience store onigiri or excellent cakes from talented patissiers. That said, I won't say no if I have the opportunity to try a full Kaiseki course.

Hence, it only took me less than one second to decide between the Japanese or the International selection this time round as the Japanese selection, Hanakoireki, was created by Yoshihiro Murata of Kikunoi Kyoto. I'm a fan of Kikunoi after learning so much of his food philosophy and passion towards preserving the traditional Japanese cuisine. Being an on-board meal, the Kaiseki course is served as two main parts rather than one dish at a time.
The first box contained the following: Sakizuke (persimmons and vegetables tossed with sesame seed ginger); Shiizakana (egg omelette, seasoned chrysanthemum flower leaf and flower); Cold Somen; Hasun (crab meat rolled in turnip, stuffed lotus root with karashi mustard, skewered Fishball with shishito pepper and yam with minced quail miso sauce) 
The second box consisted of the warm and main dishes, though Sunomono (vinegared dish of Spanish mackerel and ginger) should be theoretically served in the first box. Takiawase (simmered duck, duck dumpling, marinated spinach with yuzu zest); Kuchitori (Cod Roe and black bean cake, toasted chestnut mash with candied walnut, smoked salmon rolled in turnip); Yakimono(grilled yellowtail with Sansho flavor, turnip, chrysanthemum leaf); Gohan (flavored rice with chicken). Dessert of Pumpkin mousse with Green Tea Chantily and Raspberry was the best mousse cake I've ever eaten on a flight.

In-flight entertainment controller has become touch screen! Yay! It's touch small screen and not touch big screen
While this on-board Kaiseki experience is probably not as authentic as a real visit to the restaurant, I enjoyed it tremendously as there isn't a need to be concern about any manners or rituals. Afterall, how many chances can one feast on Kaiseki while watching movies at the same time? 

Meanwhile, the international section that started with canapé of Singapore chicken and beef satay. In fact, this was available to guests who chose the Japanese selection as well. Next, the appetizer was Foie Gras Duck Confit with Balsamic Apple Dressing on Asparagus and Mizuna Salad. Main course was a choice between Red wine roasted beef, Teriyaki chicken roll and steamed rice with mushrooms (pic below) or Baked Fillet of Cod in Sambal Sauce

To end of the meal on a sweet note, there was not only chestnut ice cream in chocolate sauce but also cheese platter (Bleu des neiges, pepper jack and mimolette cheese with grapes and nuts) as well as my favourite chocolate pralines
The best way to try both kinds is to travel with a companion and select a different meal. I am glad to have tried both and completed my travel journey with a truly unique dining experience. 

Available for Narita Tokyo-Singapore day flight on Singapore Airlines 

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