Fusion Cuisine. A term that we are hearing more and more of these days. Is if for real? Is it here to stay or just a passing fad. Is it a ploy to pass of mediocre food with no specific style of cooking by classifying it under this broad and trendy eclectic term. Is it a mediocre cook’s way of throwing different items into the pot and hoping out pops a fantastic creation that resembles something exotic called ‘fusion’. It is controversial and some people think that ingredients from different parts of the world, should not meet on the same plate.
Lightly seared tuna with Foie Gras
Nowadays, diner’s palates and taste-buds are changing rapidly. People get out more, travel more and as a result, there is no going back to the hum-drum of old, boring foods. There is now the exotic, the weird, the unimaginable. What is taboo in one person’s country for example, is regular fodder in another. Globally, there are still many food experts who are divided over fusion food, though it is getting more acceptable these days. There is a segment that totally shuns it. These are the purists.
What is your stand on fusion food? Do you love it , or do you not believe in it at all?
I for one, love fusion food. If it tickles my taste-buds and excited my 5 senses then why not? What’s the harm? Just to give you a simple illustration, just the other day, I went to a fantastic Japanese restaurant that specializes in Fusion.
Aoyama, The Green Room in Desa Sri Hartamas is the place that offers fantastic fusion cuisine. The “Chef’s Special” if you chose to order it, is a surprise menu of Japanese fusion, created by the chef himself. All you need to do is call up and say you want the Chef’s Special and quote the price range you want. Prices start from RM80 upwards but if you want a really good value for money set, ask for the RM100 – 150 range. Inevitable, you will be charged less than your desired price. For example, this time round we asked for the RM150 per head set (USD43), but our total bill for two came up to RM260.
Zensai Starter - textures and tastes that were brilliantly executed
Special starter called the Zensai, consisting of seared tuna(with a slice of foie gras on top), semi-cooked scallop on a fork with green peas, a prawn fishcake, japanese vinegar seaweed as the center piece and battered unagi (eel). As you can see, we had elements of Japanese , French, European and Chinese on this platter. The experience of so many different elements and sensations really delights the palate and boggles the mind. It’s great that they happen to be bite size servings so they do not completely saturate or overwhelm your taste-buds.
Next came the yellow-tail carpaccio salad. The super fresh, thinly sliced, raw Hamachi and crispy salad leaves in a light dressing was sublime. Actually, just eating a large bowl of this on its own would be the ideal lunch for me. It’s healthy, light and packed with all the nutrition and vitamins you need really!
Special garden sushi
The special garden sushi was actually a riceless maki of sushi sea-bass that wrapped around cubes of lobster, and topped with a salad dressing and slices of fresh mango. Oh, I forgot the caviar. How could I? Topped with a delicious dollop of caviar. If there was one word to describe this dish. Magnifique.
The Imo Manju is in fact, a deep fried yam and potato croquette, which was then stuffed with scallop, unagi and prawn and the re-steamed in a broth. The soup was sweet and delicious and tasted like a light chicken stock. The croquette was crispy on the outer layer and breaking into it, revealed the soft and fluffy potato yam centre. The seafood was fresh and complemented the soup well.
Just when you think that they’ve pulled out all the stops, surely, they wheel in the wagyu beef wrapped enoki and foie gras. Hmm, two of the most delicious prized cuts – one from the cow and one from the goose. What can I say? A bit indulgent? .. Yes, probably. Biting into the roll, the soft texture of the wagyu beef gives way to the more chewy texture of the mushroom. As you hit the center , your tastebuds are assailed by the gamy aroma of the foie gras. Very good. Excellent in fact.
Hotatei Shoyu Yaki
After the wagyu was the rather anticlimatic Hotatei Shoyu Yaki and mini pizza (below). The oyster was a little overcooked and the flavour was over powered by the seaweed. The Pizza which was mushroom baked on rice paper with a generous amount of wafu sauce was just too salty. Perhaps too generous with the Wafu dressing.
The special soup of the day, was indeed special. If you dig into this bowl of steaming goodness you will find, the salmon belly.
Not one, not two, but five or six segments of the fatty succulent salmon belly, cooked medium and still juicy with flavour. Gorgeous.
That concluded our meal at Aoyama, The Green Room. This restaurant will cease operations from next week onwards. They will be relocating to a different part of town which will be revealed in the middle of the year. If you ever visit Malaysia, I hope the restaurant will be in full swing again so that you can try their amazing Japanese Fusion Cuisine!
Books on Fusion:
Add: Aoyama, The Green Room, 10 Grd Flr, Jln 27/70A, Desa Sri Hartamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur (closed as of next week for a relocation)