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While reading about Nogawa-san's plan to retire from Akane, all I could sense was an excuse to pay one last homage to the restaurant.

The dinner on that second last night where he still held realm saw the restaurant packed with regulars that were greeted by name, so much so I felt a little out of place. I was hoping for Nogawa-san's attention but oh well, Kondo-san was unofficially assigned to serve my omakase. He started me off with an appetizer of sweet corn off the cob. Deceitfully simple, it was precisely that unadorned taste of simple sugar that cleansed the palate and got the stomach juices flowing.
This was followed by a sashimi platter thoughtfully arranged and presented. It was such a pretty sight I hestitated that one short moment before proceeding to destroy the work of art. Out of the whole lot, the smoked bonito was most interesting as it was my first time trying it. Luckily, it was quite delicious.

As I was finishing up the raw spread, Kondo-san caught the attention of the kimono-clad waitress and gestured for her to bring me this:

I thought it was some sort of chawanmushi but look, it was soup! Kondo-san explained that tuna cheeks were used. But if you ask me, give me those cheeks raw as they were tough when cooked. But the soup was very sweet and flavourful from the leeks and mushrooms, and extremely satisfying.That was followed by a cute little Japanese pumpkin. I tried a bit of the pumpkin neat; rather tasteless. But mash the bland stuff with some bacon bits and seafood, before topping off with crab roe and then baked til hot, you get something quite delicious. After the empty pumpkin shell was taken away, a beautiful piece of tachiuno, or leather beltfish, pre-fried then braised in a light soy sauce, was presented together with onions, mushroom and Japanese peppers. Oh, I must not forget the fried roe on the side too. It was really delicious although the entire dish was slightly oily for my liking but the lemon slice helped to cut a bit of the slicky mouthfeel.

By now, I was already full. But I pressed on for the sushi was nowhere in sight. Finally, Kondo-san gave the signal for sushi to begin. I was surprised that he started me off on the extreme end - the otoro. Look at the multi-tier effect caused by the fatty layers. A light drizzle of ponzu with grated ginger helped to cut the fattiness but while this was good, I still prefer my toro neat. I find it amusing that the sushi was presented in a separate vessel instead of the sushi plate.

Kanpachi belly followed shortly. Again, a sauce was drizzled over. Maybe Kondo-san is going through an experimental phase? In any case, the belly meat was slightly crunchy and fresh.

"Uni, ok?" Kondo-san asked.

I thought, "Ha! More than ok!" I had my eyes on that box of uni in front of me since I sat down. Hahaha. It was good - custardy in texture and no bad fishy smell or taste.
The anago sushi with a light touch of sweet sauce was delicious as well and I became more appreciative of Chef Thomas' generousity with an entire fillet.

Kondo-san at this point looked at me to see if I was done. But greedy me wanted one last piece and I got the ikura but alas, it was just decent.

My stomach could not take it anymore and I nodded to Kondo-san as a signal to end. Then he asked me if I wanted dessert. I think he must be thinking "I don't think she can take anymore food."

But my gluttony prevailed as I knew there was a special dessert, the momo, on the menu.

I simply love peach!

One half of a huge Japanese peach had been poached lightly so it had a slightly soft texture. The mint added a nice tingling effect and enhanced the flavour of the peach.

Rounding off the meal with a cup of warm tea, I sat back with a tummy almost bursting but I asked for it. In an odd sort of way, the slightly austere style was what made the dining experience at Akane so memorable. I will definitely miss it.


Camemberu said…
Oh no! Nogawa-san is retiring!? What a pity! But will he resurface somewhere else?
mia said…
oh no, Nogawa-san is not retiring but he is trying to cut back on his committment. He will still be running his 2 other restaurants at Sentosa and Le Meridien Hotel :)
Marvin said…
to put it simply...he just wants to play more golf.=p

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