Thursday, August 07, 2014

Magari by Chef Miyashita

It was drizzling again on Sunday morning....so nice to sleep in. But we have mission(s) to accomplish, hurried out and got some wine glasses, had coffee and congregated at the hotel lobby for Gourmet Club peeps. We were all ready by 11.30am...however I must say everyone's tummy was even more ready. Hahahahaha.

Mission today: to visit a new un-opened yet Italian restaurant in between the 2 mountains - Moiwayama and Maruyama. As usual our 4 taxis conveyed together to this destination. The blind leading the blind and first cabbie was lost....until the one we were seated in followed his ever reliable GPS and arrived at a building.

The beauty about their GPS is...u just key in the restaurant's phone number and it will lead u straight to its door!!!!

When we arrived, nobody got down from the taxi. It was a 3 storeys flat/apartment along a tiny single lane road.

Everyone: "are u sure? this is someone's house!!!!"
Rouxin: "I think this could be it, there's a vending machine outside."

Huh? Is that like a sign/pre-equisite for vending machine placements in Japan? We have no idea but in the end Rouxin was pretty accurate about this. Talk about women's instinct.

Taxi driver continued to kli-klu-kli-klu politely in Japanese and pointed to the tiny Magari signage the size of my YSL sling bag. Yeah it's that small!!! just look at it on its red bricked walls.

our leader Chef Takashi has not been here but managed to convinced everyone to remove their asses outta the comfortable taxis and head up to this building.

Everyone was curious and waited in a long line for the lift, for it can only fits in 4 adults at a time. This building reminded me of the apartment that I stayed in Switzerland. Small tiny, low rise with small lifts. Sometimes with no lifts at all and tiny me had to lug my 30kg luggage up to the top floor.

Surprise awaits us at the top floor.


The moment the lift opened, the sudden bright light dilated our pupils....the white washed walls and high ceiling gave us comfort and space. There's even a garden up here??????

One cannot help but asked...what is this place? This is so so so beautiful!!!!! Without even tasting the food, we already love this place :))))))))))

Soon everyone was again lining up to snap pic at its beautiful entrance + corridor. Lily and her daughters got the head waiter to be their photog :)))))
Sharon, Lorraine, Lily and her lovely daughters.
This corridor leads to the main dining hall...and as u walked past the whiff of wat's cooking in the kitchen right next to the corridor just makes u so so so hungry.


The corridor isn't that long but it lets in so much of natural lights. I am glad we came during the day for lunch to admire its "wabi sabi" beauty. Wabi sabi is something of an imperfection, but you find aesthetic perfection innit. Prollie u can't even use the word perfect. A good and simple example would be a japanese tea bowl/cup. Its lips aren't perfectly round and symmetry, its shape is irregular and yet the clay bowl/cup is so beautiful that it brings out its expression and sense in us.

There was a lil herb garden at Magari's zen garden. We can't help it but trying to identify wat's in those pots. :))))


Its compact and yet organised opened kitchen.

While the ladies were either bz cam-whoring or admiring the zen garden, JS was really busy admiring this industrial kitchen.

JS: "I.Want. This."
Monkey: "U've already got a similar kitchen."
JS: "I want this kitchen with a connecting dining hall, which faces 2 gardens and a wine cellar."
Monkey: "U've already got an industrial kitchen, with a dining hall which is like walking distance away from ur dry kitchen....and a wine cellar which is connected to your dining hall."

JS -_-"
Okie maybe I'll hang some paintings of garden to complement what's lacking. At the end of the day, I guess wat he really meant/needed at home was a sous-chef. Oh well u know me, I will never ever be his sous-chef. More like his SOUR Chef. :P pffffttttt


Fresh Italian Flat Leaf Parsley. Its aroma is so delicate, Italian cooking isn't complete without it :))))

Tomatoes from Hokkaido. Skins peeled and all ready to be made into pasta sauce later. Chef Miyashita uses a lot of fresh local produce, of which he's very proud of. I would be too when vegetables here are of a different level, taste and dimension.

Baby Zucchinis with their yellow flowers still intact. Sweet baby brinjals and finally the beautiful purplish Cauliflower. Such a bouquet on a frying pan!!!!



Then we spotted his cellar.....
WOW!!!! all the stunning Italian Reds.



Hello hello there...all the Gaja....they have everything from Gaja from Barolo, Babaresco, Sperss and finally the seldom seen Darmagi. Darmagi means wat a shame!!! but I think sometimes one need to be outta the box in wine viniculture.

*some throwbacks on our visit to Gaja back in 2009 - click here*


Ellen and Dr. Epicurean. Both bz browsing through the wines list left to right, top to bottom...just like doin an annual stock take.


Dr. Epicurean and Captain Chris deciding if we were to buy any bottles from this cellar, since we also brought a few bottles here on our own including our very own glasses. In fact Magari has got very good glasswares. We were just being very kiasu :P


If u gentlemen can't decide, maybe we can start with that bottle of Salon Champagne? :P hehehehehe nyek nyek nyek. Since we are traveling in a group we can't just simply pop open any bottles we want....needed to get an unanimous decision.

oh well.....hello there :))) didn't expect to see you here? Hmmmmm good things must wait. I'll have you again in Paris this October :))) *if we were lucky*


Soon everyone were asked to settle down.....we are indeed a very noisy group. Either crowding around the kitchen, the wine cellar or the washrooms :P


The only obedient one was Papa Bear. Smiling happily and ready to be fed some drinks first....hahahahaha.





Soon everyone was FINALLY seated....except one man standing....still selecting his wines, to be ta-pao home -_-"




Homemade bread with semolina flour, fragrant, fluffy and chewy with good texture



Toast to good health and more amazing travels!!!



The kitchen was in full force!!!! Chef Miyashita is the one in black with his sous-chef.


Carpaccio of Herring Fish with local fresh uncooked but extremely sweet eggplants, topped with dills, micro herbs, vinaigrette ginger flowers. Simple and yet refreshing. The eggplants has got such good bite and flavour.



After each course, we were a bit "kepoh" and alwiz went back to the kitchen to snoop around wat's cooking. Hehehehehehe...



Kaleidoscope of different colors and shape. Summer vegetables grilled, boiled and in raw form, served with anchovies and olive oil sauce. Such beautiful and yummy interpretation. Chef Miyashita carefully selected the best and work with his ingredients to enhance the flavours.

Radish, cucumber and tomatoes were presented raw on its own. Some were charred, while some were flash boiled.


purple cauliflower was so yummy and sweet. It's almost like sweetcorns.


the beans and zucchinis were flash boiled really quickly to maintain its crisp texture and natural sweetness. Somehow the savoury anchovies sauce paired really well. Such a simple dish but so outstanding and clean.




We have bottle variation of this Batard Montrachet. The first bottle was so aged and oxidised? Second one was much better to our relief. Anyway it really depends, some ppl like it more aged instead of the fresh pinot.


No...these are not pinot grapes...hahahaha. It's local Brinjals!!! so pretty and perfectly round aren't they?





Chefs were busy moving around the kitchen but in a very organised manner.

Fancy some truffles?

Hokkaido Sweet Corn scrambled eggs with shaved black truffles. Ultimate breakfast!!!

super yums~~~~~~~


by now the reds were ready to be presented. I guess the sommelier here must have felt he's inadequate bcoz Dr. Epicurean took over his task :P



the sights....the smell....aaAAAAaaa
my dear readers, how I wished all of you were here with us :))))))))


Fresh Sardine pasta with japanese Ginkgo. The sardines were so full of flavour esp with the ocassional bites of sun dried tomatoes, fresh parsley and the sourness from capers and finally some tartness from the olives. Nope those green beautiful globes were not olives but japanese ginkgos. This was a very balanced flavour packed pasta. If only now JS can emulate this at home.

huge pot of stock being reduced, that's like the base stock for almost everything. Secrets~~~~~


remember the earlier pic of beautifully peeled fresh tomatoes? They now have already being smashed to a different form to make sauces.


You just kenot imagine how could some simple spaghetti like this be so so so yummy. The tomatoes were so so sweet with a subtle hint of garlic. Not to mention the al-dente-ness of the pasta was extremely superb!!!!


Chef Takashi looked like he truly enjoyed himself :))) yea coz he's not the one cooking this time :P Hahahahahahaha.


Our main course - fish. Chef carefully slid them down the sizzling pan. The fish is called Kimpo, a deep sea fish hence its fatty meat.



the skin!!! the SKIN!!!!! was wafer thin with a loud precise crisp when u sink into it. While the white meat was velvety soft and fat. The prize was underneath its meat, a huge dollop of sea urchin on a bed of vegetable salsa, finely chopped to the millimetres.






Happy diners, Happy Chef Miyashita
:))))))))))))
I guess he did justice to all of his ingredients :)))

Yubari Melon :))))))))


WUAHAHAHAHA I am a happy gal
Yubari Melon presented in 3 forms - sorbet, foam and original with a small dollop of hokkaido mascarpone cheese.


as usual our lunch usually lasted 3 hours in Hokkaido :)))))


The building next door....see I wasn't exaggerating when I said we were at residential area with a really tiny road. The sky was still so gloomy but the rain has stopped when we almost finished our lunch.


the rain has left the zen garden even more beautiful with its greenery. 


the men oso went snooping around the restaurant, at those tatami mat private rooms.


Such awesome and yummy and healthy lunch esp with great wines and good company.
Will definitely return again for more creation from Chef Miyashita. Thank you to Chef Takeshi Kimura for introducing us to this private place :)))) It will not remain private for long when Magari will be open for reservation really soon :)))

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