Kappo Yu 割烹雄
Add: 33 Wuxing Lu, near Huaihai Lu / 吴兴路33号，近淮海路
Tel: 6466 7855
Hours: 6:00pm-11:00pm, closed on Sunday
Price: 690 RMB/person, drinks extra
Visited on: 2012-07
My first visit to Kappo Yu was not as stellar as expected, but after hearing a few more good words about it (some claiming it to be as good as or even better than my favorite Sushi Oyama), I came back again to give it another try.
The atmosphere at this tiny restaurant is toned down yet light-hearted, with soft jazz floating through air. Patrons sit across its beautiful lacquered red bar, which only accommodates around 14 people. A private room is available, but bar seats are of course the preferred choice.
Kappo Yu serves a 10-course seasonal menu (690 RMB/set) that changes monthly. Here’s this month’s menu, available in Japanese, English, and Chinese, and scrolls of drinks lists for guests to choose from (if you order sake, you will also have a chance to pick your own sake cup).
To my surprise, Terada Yohei – the man behind the bar – remembers me even though my last visit was over a year ago. What an amazing memory. He is a friendly guy who will happily engage you in conversations if he senses your interest, the only drawback is that he doesn’t speak English and Chinese as well as Oyama-san does.
Our choice of sake for the evening – Dassai ”50″ Junmai Ginjo (360 RMB), a premium sake fermented from a combination of Yamada Nishiki and Omachi rice polished to half its original size (generally speaking, the more the rice is milled, the better the sake). Clean, soft, very subtle, with balanced aromas and a mild sweetness.
Turban shell & tomatoes served with citrus vinegar jelly. A clean start, but not mind-blowing.
Grilled Japanese rockfish with wheat miso. The fish itself was fine if not memorable, but I loved the accompanying wheat miso-cucumber sauce for its intense flavor.
Rawr! Yes I feel your wrath.
Assorted seasonal sashimi and nigiri sushi, all of impeccable quality.
My favorite dish of the evening was this green soy bean mousse with sea urchin. Fluffy smooth edamame mousse, crunchy edamame beans, intensely flavorful sea urchin, with a dash of dashi sauce at the bottom. Perfect!
Next came a trio of seasonal assorted tempura, served with green tea salt.
Anago (sea eel) with a hint of wasabi.
Okra with mountain yam.
Small shrimps with mitsuba (Japanese wild parsley). This one I particularly enjoyed, the rich flavors of the tiny crunchy shrimps beautifully complemented by refreshing mitsuba.
Spaghetti squash with water shield to cleanse the palate.
Stewed black abalone & vegetable in seaweed liver sauce was a fairly intense dish, the seaweed liver sauce so rich that I couldn’t finish it even though the flavor was lovely.
We then had two choices for the teppanyaki dish, the first one being Canadian lobster served with homemade yuzu sauce.
The other choice was a Kagoshima beef rolled with cabbage served with homemade sesame sauce. Both the lobster and the beef were excellent in quality, but nothing surprising.
The last of the savory dishes was temaki (hand roll) sushi. Terada-san laid out his set in front of us and asked what we preferred – salmon, salmon roe, sea eel, etc. – to which I just replied “omakase onegaishimasu” and left the choice in his hands.
So first he gave me a salmon temaki sushi. The perfectly-cooked rice had a bit of shiso leaves mixed in, which was a very nice touch in my opinion though I know some people don’t really enjoy the somewhat peculiar flavor of shiso.
And followed that with a sea eel temaki sushi.
Before desserts, we were served a cup of hot hojicha (roasted tea).
Desserts of the evening were a trio of passion fruit ice-cream, panna cotta with peach puree, and red bean soup with rice ball. The zesty passion fruit ice-cream and creamy panna cotta were a hit for me, but the red bean soup was rather forgettable.
So what’s the verdict? Dinner at Kappo Yu sure was satisfying, though I still wasn’t blown away. However, a friend who went both this month and last month said that out of 100 points, he would only give this month’s menu a 70, but would give last month’s menu a terrific 95. I suppose Kappo Yu has the potential to be amazing, but the variation from month to month can be pretty big. Would this be a good excuse to go again next month…?