KAPPO | 賛否両論 (Sanpi Ryoron)

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Went straight to try out this proclaimed to be ‘extremely difficult to book’ joint from Japan on its first pre-opening day in town, got lucky over a cold call to secure one of the limited counter seats (only) in the premises. The place got its fame back home pretty much thanks to its Kitcho-trained ‘celebrity’ owner-chef Kasahara-san (笠原将弘), as well as a rather provocative name basically meaning ‘mixed reviews’. Sent into town to spearhead its first overseas venture is Koyama-san (小山雄史) who horned his skills at the Shinjuku Isetan ‘Kitchen Stage’ and got the privilege to have a seat right in front of him to witness it all. Strategically labelling the place a ‘Kappou’ rather than ‘Kaiseki’, and in fact renowned for its value for money back home, it is actually more like a fancy izakaya that reminded LG of a similar joint in Osaka. Overall was a FAIR if yours truly have to be direct, as it was probably ‘too traditional to be creative yet too creative to be traditional’, if this is making sense at all. Will give it the benefits of the doubt for now as it just went into operation in town so probably time will tell if they can repeat the success here as in back home. The dish that stood out, and hopefully a representation of their potential, was a sweet potato croquette with a mashed ‘Kakinotane’ (柿の種) coating. Truly creative and yet stylishly Japanese, but most importantly, tasty. A good signature dish and concept to ride on for their ideal menu eventually.

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