I reach for the glistening morsel with my chopsticks, and place it on my tongue, I makes sure that it’s fish-side down. It feels like silk on my mouth, the fish supremely silky, the rice delicate and subtle with a suggestion of vinegar and a hint of soy. Ah yes, I have been back to Matsuya, several times now, and the experience is always the same.
pick your cut..
At Matsuya, the parade of sushi begins, each piece with an individual touch. A bit of coarse salt with buttery sea scallop, a smattering of irregularly diced o-toro, a few tiny leaves of cress with mackerel, a dollop of sweet soy on tender eel, sea urchin so intense, complex, subtle and soulful it sends shivers down my spine. With each piece, I close my eyes as I eat, concentrating on the exquisite flavor sensations. My shoulders relax. For a moment nothing exists but me and the sushi. Between courses at Matsuya, I overhear the couple next to me starting to bicker.. “I ordered two portions”.. “No, I heard you order one!”
and un-ending selection of highly delectable sushi..
I retreat to my cocoon. A cooked dish arrives, as beautiful in presentation as it is in taste – the grilled gindara, wrapped in ohba leaf to add that irresistible smoky flavour – I eat in quiet reverence and savor each sweet, flaky mouthful of fish. More cooked dishes arrive at Matsuya – a nice plump slab of oceanic foie gras on garlic rice. Then, to break the monotony, a fresh unagi maki roll, makes a change – a rather loud and ostentatiously decorated dish but really rather good.
foie gras garlic rice
Pick up a california roll and already you can smell the intoxicating scent of nori. The tail end of the nori isn’t rolled tight but instead juts out like the short length of film that you used to feed into cameras. It unwraps itself inside your mouth. You have just enough time to notice how each grain of rice stands out from the rest, to enjoy how boldly the rice has been seasoned with vinegar and salt, before the mouth-filling taste of the exploding tobiko, crab meat and avocado takes over.
this is how we roll.. or rather, unroll – california roll
Now here in front of you is toro in a milky shade of pink. God how I love great Sashimi. It will melt on your tongue; it is nearly melting already anyway so you best be quick about eating it. Here is some marvelous sashimi of orange clam, expertly sliced for maximum tenderness. And now a piece of super taut, hamachi under a frizz of white radish, daikon, shredded into long thin strands, accompanied by one green perilla leaf per slice. Oh.. words cannot express the shear pleasure that only the freshest of raw fish can impart.
If your heart does not dance to the rhythms of mushroom, tofu and clams, then by all means proceed directly to the teppanyaki dishes. But if it does, stop to linger over these succulent clams, served to a level of freshness that should keep this dish in your mind for a very long time. The beef teppanyaki is good but pales in comparison to all the fabulous dishes we have had so far. Well no place is perfect, but Matsuya already raises the bar.. so they are good in my books.
mushroom, tofu and clams
beef tenderloin teppanyaki
And finally, sukiyaki, both smoky and sweet, the perfect final flavor for a meal that was beautiful to observe, both in preparation and result, that stretched the boundaries of deliciousness and that offered a rewarding, contemplative journey. And if asked, about the food during my dinner at Matsuya, by a sensitive waiter, the answer will always the same, whether the question concerns the sushi, the sashimi or almost anything else… very much, thank you. I enjoyed it very much.
I would highly recommend Matsuya to sushi and sahimi aficionados, anytime.
Add: Matsuya Japanese Cuisine No. 19, Jalan Telawi 2
Tel: 03-2202 2618