Rakushokushu Maru 楽食酒 圓
Near Omotesando 表参道 station
Lined along the classy streets outside Omotesando station, we could easily spot huge brands and sleek restaurants, and though Rakushokushu Maru 楽食酒 圓 is just a hole in a wall, this hole opens up to a 2 storey-deep restaurant, with a stylish counter bar and some private rooms. Having a pretty huge ala carte menu, going for the Kaiseki made things easier as we did not need to rack our brains over the less familiar items. We got to choose from 3 menus, a 4800, 5500 and 7000 yen menu and being a kaiseki fan, I went straight for the 7000.
The first appetiser, salad of amanatsu orange and gluten bread served with white tofu cream, has assured us already that it will be a up-to-standard kaiseki meal. With an addictive chewy texture, the greenish gluten bread actually felt like a hybrid of konyaku and Mochi; definitely very refreshing when eaten together with the tofu cream.
From left to right: Simmered vegetables, Japanese Ratatouille (stewed vegetable dish); Fried Shrimps with asparagus and daikon; Simmered octopus with a mashy taro and pumpkin (served cold). All the different dishes on this long wooden rack were spot on, with all the different tastes and textures that you could have imagined well-represented in this course. My favourite lies with the well simmered octopus with its springiness while the stewed pumpkin was aptly represented by its natural sweetness.
The grilled, juicy, succulent wagyu beef, well-marbled with fats around the reddish meat together a crispy brown outer layer, was cooked to perfection as its melt-in-your-mouth sensation is one that you really could not have missed!
And the penultimate course as presented by our super smiley waiter, was a huge claypot of squid rice, simmered with nori and spring onions. A strong aroma gushing up into our noses, we could wait no longer to get them into our stomachs. Though it has a very slight miss, that is the rice was not totally infused with the seafoody squid taste (the kind of rice a Michelin starred place would serve – Esaki, Ren), and tasted slightly separated from the ingredient, which was luckily compensated by the creaminess of the squid. Filled with loads of roe, the heavy tasting squid blended in beautifully with the rice with its creaminess. A delicious course indeed.
And if you scrutinise well enough, this steamed custard pudding picture was only taken after the first bite. Plain and boring it may seem, the first mouthful calls for a photo as its adequately aromatic sweetness, together with its smooth silky texture impressed us greatly.
Rakushokushu Maru 楽食酒 圓, would be one of the recommended Kaiseki places to go to if you are on a slightly tighter budget, and would still want to immerse yourself in a more personal and energetic dining experience. Everything here was good, though not as exceptional as some of the Michelin Kaiseki that I’ve been to, but we really couldn’t have asked for more with its very wallet-friendly price tag. Get the counter seats like what we did to witness the energy of the crew!