The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Sushi lunch @ Tsukiji Sushi-sei (JR Kyoto Isetan Department Store), Japan

Sushi is one of my favourite food, and it makes me happy whenever we come across good sushi. It was easy to get good quality sushi when we were living in Japan, but in Hong Kong, the mid-priced sushi are honestly not that great. So sushi has become more of an indulgent treat since moving to HK - quite a big downgrade from sushi being a regular meal during our four years in the land of sushi. When we were in Japan a few months ago - our first time back there in almost four years - a sushi meal was inevitable. It was the first thing we ate shortly after getting off the shinkansen at Kyoto. There are a lot of good food to be found in the Kyoto Station Building, and Isetan Department Store is one such instance. In addition to the Food Floors that occupy the two basement levels, there are five floors of restaurants! We headed to the 11th floor, dubbed "Eat Paradise", and found long lines outside the two restaurants that interested us the most. We decided to put our names down at Tsukiji Sushi-sei and waited about 30 minutes in the queue. The sushi was worth the wait, and we enjoyed good quality Edomae-style sushi for lunch. Tsukiji Sushi-sei is a chain restaurant with its original shop in the midst of Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo (only a few minutes' walk from our old apartment!). We could choose counter seat or table, and service was typically Japanese: polite and efficient. The menu had nine or ten different sushi sets of varying costs depending on the items, and a-la-carte sushi was also possible.

The dining room with tables; counter seats with the sushi chefs were outside that doorway. The interior was simple but clean:

Hubby chose the Omakase set (3465 yen), or the Chef's Choice - chuu-toro (medium fatty tuna belly), tai (sea bream), akami (tuna), iwashi (sardine), tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette), kani (crab), uni (sea urchin), ikura (salmon roe) and kazunoko (herring roe on kelp). This set also included miso soup, anago (saltwater eel) sushi and three mini tuna makizushi (sushi rolls) served on a separate plate which I neglected to take a photo of, and dessert (picture below):

Hubby ordered an extra serving of chuu-toro (medium fatty tuna belly) sushi:

I got the March seasonal lunch special (1680 yen) which included seven nigirizushi, gobo maki (burdock root rolls), a mini rice bowl with fish topping, chawanmushi (steamed egg custard) and dessert. This was a good choice, and I enjoyed every single part of the plate, especially the shirasu (whitebait/baby anchovy) topping, which was quite different to the dried version I'm used to:

Good chawanmushi (egg custard), with such silky smooth texture and delicious savoury flavour:

The boy got the Regular Sushi Set (998 yen) which he chose mostly for the tamagozushi (egg sushi), but he enjoyed the anago, salmon and squid too:

Warabimochi dipped in matcha (green tea) powder and served with green tea ice cream. This was the dessert that came with hubby's Omakase Set, and it was so good. The dessert included in my set was similar, but without the ice cream:

That was a good sushi meal. Now I've got a hankering for sushi!

Tsukiji Sushi-sei (Isetan Department Store)
11th Floor
Isetan Department Store
JR Kyoto Station Building
Higashi-Shiokoji Shiokoji-Sagaru
Shimogyou-ku, Kyoto
Japan 600-8555
Tel. +81 75 (352) 6223

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