I bet you can’t stop looking at this picture. I know. Wow! Right?!
Normally this would appear as my Outstanding Dish of The Month, but as I began writing this, I realised it deserves its own feature.
The astonishing presentation is mind-blowing. At one of the most unique restaurants I’ve ever dined in, seated around a long, grained ginkgo counter, live fish swim all below you in huge “Ikesu” tanks and are caught and prepared to order. This takes freshness to another level.
May I present to you:
Tai Ikizukuri (Sea Bream)
Chikae Hakata Restaurant
Here then, is Tai “Ikizukuri” (lively construction), a whole, just caught Sea Bream sliced and presented with utmost skill at table in its original form. The different cuts of prime sashimi are placed around the body and is aesthetically pleasing, as well as off-the-wall delicious!
The meal doesn’t end there, however, what follows is an unexpected delight. Once the sashimi is consumed, the fish is taken back to the kitchen and reappears as “Atozukuri” (After), firstly as “Nitsuke” (Boiled), where the remaining meat from the head and tail has been removed from the fish and simmered in a rich sugar, soy and sake mix that intensifies the flavour of some of these stronger flavoured and different textured parts of the fish.
Then, the finale, a concerto of incredible flavour. “Misoshuru” – yep, Miso Soup, but unlike any I’ve ever had before. The bones of the fish and fragments of what remained, every single last bit, are added into the delicate miso, blending and creating the richest, most spectacular version of this classic end to traditional Japanese meals.
It’s rare that you have a meal that is so superbly presented and delicious but so clever in its conception of using every part of the fish. Nose to tail, baby. This is the real deal. An unforgettable meal and a highlight to remain at the forefront of my memory, forever.
CHIKAE (Fukuoka Store)
2-2-17, Daimyo, Chuo-ku Fukuoka-shi, Fukuoka, Japan