Tucked away in a discreet basement corner of the forgotten mall that is The Forum is Kaiseki Yoshiyuki. Designed by award-winning local agency Asylum, the entrance pathway with its walls clad in traditional roof tiles is a nod to the origins of kaiseki from Kyoto temples, while a 13-seat kappo counter room bathed in warm light is a comfortable haven.
The same modern yet distinctly Japanese elegance comes through in the well-executed cuisine here. Heading the kitchen is chef Yoshiyuki Kashiwabara, who spent seven years as personal chef to Japanese ambassadors in San Francisco and Singapore. His clientele now is made up of well-heeled business types looking for a quiet spot to entertain and impress, and Kashiwabara is happy to lend a hand.
He shows off remarkable knife skills by swiftly shaving paper-thin slices of daikon. These, he carefully arranges on a plate of higedara sashimi, akami and ootoro, before putting on a soya espuma which he came up with to replace the traditional little dish of soya sauce. “The flavour is more intense. It’s easier for guests to put on the sashimi also,” says the chef.
But Kashiwabara knows when to return to simplicity, too. A bowl of clear soup, redolent of the natural sweetness of clams, is immensely comforting. And he is unabashed when insisting we take home what’s left of a tasty sakura ebi rice he doles out from a large clay pot. “For lunch tomorrow,” he quips, as his hands deftly pat and roll up the rice. A lovely gesture, and a smart way to leave you with something to remember him by.
#B1-39 Forum The Shopping Mall