Mikuni Special: Guest Chef Lawrence Mok of I M Teppanyaki & Wine, Hong Kong

The meal unravels like a heated dance battle, with the warmth licking off the blazing hot teppanyaki grill, acting as the melody. Every dish executed by guest Chef Lawrence Mok Of I M Teppanyaki pitted against the theatrics exhibited by resident Chef and Comedian Moon Kyung Soo of Mikuni. Known to its fans, Mikuni has never rest on its laurels even after half of decade of lurking around in the chilly shadows of Fairmont Hotel; churning out special promotions and honoring age old festivals such as the recent Hina Matsuri (dolls festivals).

This time round, a random acquaintance made via instagram sparked off a friendly banter between the two chefs and a collaboration was put in order. For 2 days only, the 26th and 27th May, a special guest chef lunch and dinner menu will be available; highlighting the prowess of Chef Lawrence Mok behind the teppan grill. We would urge you to request for counter seats for a front row experience to the heated combat; and for other reasons such as eye-candy in the form of dashing Chef Lawrence who exudes a smoldering Ken Watanabe impression.

We were given sneak previews to the 10 course Dinner menu complete with Premium Sake Pairing ($258 ; additional 100 for sake pairing) last week when Chef Mok spontaneously flew over to Singapore just for 2 days to do his prep. The meal was a natural success, with Chef Moon charming the audience with his playful antics and Chef Mok bedazzling us diners with his expert show on the grill.

What we love; the Welcome drink by Bannie Kang of Anti:Dote who recently represented Singapore in the Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition in San Francisco - a sprightly mix of bacardi rum, sake and pineapple which helped the open the palate for the greasy affair to ensue. A small morsel of uni and prawn encapsulated in a jelly like membrane dissolves quickly in the mouth. Filling all the cracks and crevices with a gentle wave of umami flavor.

The next dish delivered by Chef Mok was amazing in every instance. Foie Gras, Terriyaki sauce and Seasonal fruits. The nuances of color and acidity provided by Japanese Mandarin and blueberries; while the accompanying alien vessel of barafu leaf provides a rare pop of texture in the rich round-up. Needless to say, the foie gras was a work of art, and in no need for company; however, the flawless merger will make even the toughest gym rat ditch his diet plans.

Live to fight another day folks. Such an indulgent meal is made to be enjoyed and not worried about. That's just my two cents worth as I slurped up the remainder of the Seasonal "Hamo" Fish clear soup with plum that followed. An unassuming pedestal of charcoal grilled eggplant imparting an exquisite smokiness to the gentle concoction. The fragrance of plum and yuzu flower penetrating your taste buds.

Chef Mok continues his stalwart work with the next dish of Kyushu Abalone, seaweed sauce.What you would expect to have to chew on, yielded to the knife like butter; the molluscs inheriting rich flavors from the wakame butter sauce poured over. 

Yet again, Chef Moon's answers to his contender's aggressive flavor profiling are always placid, tranquil moves, perfumed with a spectacle of theatrics and persuasive plating techniques. The Hokkaido Snow Crab, Aomori Apple, yuzu jelly charms with finely diced amori apple and tangy yuzu jelly that didn't overpower the delicate flesh of the Hokkaido snow crab.

Seafood lovers will fall in love with the Crispy Sweet Sea Bream " Ama-Tai" Fish, with sea urchin cream. The ideal fattiness of the fish's flesh offset by the shatteringly-crispy fried scales in full view. And while it may seem quite daring to pair the buttery fish with sea urchin cream, the combination is diabolic and you'll wish you had a spoon to mop up the remnant sauce of the ornate plates.

The dish that blew it out of the water for me, was the Hokkaido Scallop with Summer Black Truffle, Lime and Crunchy Hasu-Imo. Eat this in one swooping mouthful to get all the lingering components in one bite. The delicate chanwanmushi closely guarded by perfectly seared scallops, apple blossom (WHAT?!), lime and pickled lotus root will bring you so much joy that you'll be staring through eye whites for a substantial period of time. I can vouch for that.

The meal reaches a peak and diminuendo to a careless whisper; even with Chef Mok's expertise of gorgeously marbled Miyazaki A5 wagyu tenderloin on the table. The technique to eating this is pivotal to enjoying the beef - first, smear a little of freshly grated wasabi on the cube's corner, then proceed to place a slice of deep fried Kyushu garlic chip over its head. Now revel in the exquisite little morsel that proceeds to melt like butter washed with flecks of aromatic garlic at the tip of your tongue.

The final course before dessert is the mandatory carbohydrate varietal; Hiyashi Plum Somen Noodles, Shrimp, Egg and Shitake mushrooms brings to mind - romance blossoming in spring time. Young love, equally sweet as it is exuberant; the 65 degree celsius sous-vide egg enrobing the pink strands with a luscious coat. 

Desserts at Mikuni have always been fascinating affairs of minuscule portions with larger-than-life ambitions to capture its diners undying attention. Impressed by the Musk Melon and Salted ice cream I had previously, I awaited a converging miracle; and I got one in the form of Chef Moon's Japanese Shiso leaf sorbet, yogurt mousse and strawberries. The main component being ever so slightly herbaceous, worked as a perfect companion to the tangy yogurt cloud above head.

As anticipated, the collaboration between Chef Mok and Chef Moon was so immaculate, each singing a different tune albeit in sweet harmony. And despite the impediment of the language barrier between the two chefs, the dedication to the pursuit of their art together with their indisputable respect for ingredients saw them working in perfect tandem. 

Only on the 26th and 27th May, the 5 course lunch set starts at $168 while the 10-course dinner is $258 with an additional $100 for premium sake pairing. Do call ahead to make your reservations.

Level 3, Fairmont Singapore
80 Bras Basah Road
t: 6431 6156

Operating Hours:
Lunch: 12pm - 2 30pm
Dinner: 6 30pm - 10 30pm

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