Kaiseki dinner at Seisouka Tokyo (青草窠)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The first course of Hokkaido crab started our meal on a happy note. This was a generous serving of Hokkaido crab with minimal garnishing.

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The second course of fish (tai) soup with some chewy beancurd. You can see the freshness of the fish from the picture!

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The next item was a large prawn served sashimi style with some herbs and flowers.

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Chestnuts were in season. This was a dish of tempura mushroom with chestnuts in glutinous rice.

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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.

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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.

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The next course – fig (skin removed) with sesame sauce and ginkgo nut provided a sweet contrast to the previous serious tasting dish.

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Unagi on a lotus root cake (made by grinding the root into paste) was the next dish.

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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.

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There were two desserts. The first is a chewy cake made with chestnuts.

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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.

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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.

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Ratings:
Food: 5
Service: 5
Value: 3
Atmosphere: 3
Overall Rating: 4 TOPs 4 tops

Seisouka 青草窠
4-2-34 Minamiazabu
Minato-ku, Tokyo

Tel: +81-3-3473-3103

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