Seisouka (青草窠) or sometimes spelt as Seisoka is a two Michelin Star traditional Japanese restaurant in Tokyo. It is located in a small house that was not easy to find, even for the taxi driver. It is a totally zen, minimalist type of restaurant. Nothing is there without a purpose.
We were the earliest diners at Seisoka and so were able to wander about before we were led to a small room for two persons. There was a counter that seats six people and a large room with conventional table seating. We were seated in a room that was small and cosy with tatami mat seating for up to three people. We like the minimalist clean look of Japanese restaurants but some parts of Seisouka looked a bit tired. We made our reservation in advance through the hotel concierge. For dinner there was only one dinner course available priced at 20,000 yen.
This will be an easy review to write as all the dishes turned out to be exquisite. The most important things we liked about Japanese cuisine were all present – top rate ingredients, creative interpretations by the chef and beautiful presentation. I shall just briefly describe the dishes and let the pictures do the talking.
The first course of Hokkaido crab started our meal on a happy note. This was a generous serving of Hokkaido crab with minimal garnishing.
The second course of fish (tai) soup with some chewy beancurd. You can see the freshness of the fish from the picture!
The next item was a large prawn served sashimi style with some herbs and flowers.
Chestnuts were in season. This was a dish of tempura mushroom with chestnuts in glutinous rice.
This mixed platter contained quite a few wonderful things. Grape with tofu sauce, salmon eggs on chopped raw squid, a slice of abalone, a piece of “mountain potato” and the thing in the middle is a bunch of sea cucumber eggs. Everything was good but the sea cucumber eggs had a depth of taste that was distinctively memorable.
The small Seisouka restaurant is run by a nice gentleman who is the manager and who explained the dishes to us. When words failed us, we communicated with a mix of sign language. We sometimes felt that we were playing a game of charades. It was amusing and fun and it all worked well until this dish. We established that this was a dish of “premium fish” with a side of young gobo root. What is clear is that this premium fish had a really rich and unusual (in a good way) flavour. The gobo root also had a strong flavour (almost ginseng like) and taste. This was one of the most memorable dishes of the evening.
The next course – fig (skin removed) with sesame sauce and ginkgo nut provided a sweet contrast to the previous serious tasting dish.
Unagi on a lotus root cake (made by grinding the root into paste) was the next dish.
The serving of the rice dish signalled the impending end to the meal. But this was no ordinary rice. The rice was prepared with tiny but flavourful shrimps.
There were two desserts. The first is a chewy cake made with chestnuts.
The second dessert was an orange jelly each. What makes this spectacular is the concentration and quality of the orange jelly. Each scoop was like eating a slice of orange.
Finally, a bowl of matcha or “Japanese cappuccino” as our restaurant manager calls it, to go with the desserts and to bring our meal to an end.
Overall Rating: 4 TOPs