Showing posts with label coconut mousse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label coconut mousse. Show all posts

Minami (Vancouver)

Prior to my meal at Minami, I did realize it was the sister restaurant of Miku. What I discovered that evening was that the restaurants were named after the daughters of the owner – is he the father-of-the-year or what?

While Miku is known for their flame-licking aburi creations, Minami’s inventiveness goes beyond the blowtorch and into how dishes are visually presented. We decided to see the restaurant in action with their Minami Shokai tasting menu ($150) and a premium sake flight ($35), which we hoped would sip well with all the food.

Slices of miso duck arrive laid on a slightly stale and hard puff pastry, which does little to add to the dish other than make it look more substantial. The duck breast, just cooked through, was a lovely balance of meat & fat and the miso just enough to give it flavour. It’s an interesting choice to start with such a strong protein, yet when paired with fruits helps lighten the dish.

Traditions are certainly thrown out the window as sushi comes before sashimi, six eye-catching pieces of it. The lovely creations take time to prepare, so the rice arrives too cold (and could benefit from more vinegar). I guess you don’t go to Minami for the rice, instead the gold leaf that caps the chu toro, a delicious and lovely show piece.

Personally, I prefer the simpler sushi: the bit of yuzu jelly and wasabi used with the kani helped bring out the crab’s natural flavours without too much fuss; and while the kinmedai was a bit chewy the fish was nonetheless refreshing against some of the heavier pieces.

Minami should consider blowtorching the wagyu tableside as it’s not the greatest cold and I’d skip the uni unless it’s a great quality as it added a slight metallic taste to the sushi. While sampling the surf and turf roll, all I could taste was orange and seaweed so sadly neither of the main elements really shone. Luckily, the bite of salmon maki helped end the dish on a higher note.

Their saikyo-miso sakekasu (try saying that three times fast) marinated sablefish was divine and I liked that other than a dollop of caviar they left the fish sauceless. I’d suggest having the fish first and leaving the “sides” until the end - the honey glazed endive goes nicely with the dish, while the way too oily shiso tempura does not.

You must love the presentation of the sashimi as the billowing dry ice flows around all the fish. Luckily, the seafood was fresh as well and the tuna always a lovely treat. Minami ever so briefly chars the cuttlefish before adding the pops of juicy roe and while this goes fine with soy sauce it would excel with a thicker sauce. Finally, I liked the fresh sweet spot prawn and their use of the entire shrimp as the deep-fried head was crispy as heck and the perfect nibble to end.

The A5 Japanese wagyu stole the show! While it could have been seasoned a little less, the wagyu was so buttery and decadent that I didn’t want the bites to end. Luckily, Minami isn’t stingy with the prized beef, you receive a decent quantity of steak and quite a few sides as well - a lovely crispy potato pave (layers of potato baked) and roasted heirloom carrots.

As a palate cleanser we are brought a plum sorbet popsicle with tart sparkling water… I had the sorbet but skipped the much too fizzy water, give me sake any day.

Despite detesting Bounty bars, the coconut mousse with chocolate was a lot better than I expected. Placed into an impossibly thin chocolate shell, the dessert certainly looked like a coconut and the light mouse and dark chocolate went rather nicely together.

Interesting elements like the house-made coconut noodles were delicious and I could see them using them in a dessert ramen, which could tie-in the Japanese tradition of ending tasting menus with a bowl of noodles. Note to chef: feel free to borrow this idea!

Another reason to visit Minami is their awesome location in Yaletown. What an ideal street to be on with the all the bars and patios, a great way to start and/or end the meal. Whatever happens, when you’re going for the shokai experience, go big or go home. 

Overall mark - 7 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Vancouver, Canada
 Address: 1118 Mainland Street

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

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