Sunday, 10/03/2024 10:00

Kumihimo: a Japanese culinary journey

By Hamy Nguyễn

Over the decades, Japanese food has developed a stellar reputation, known for its delicate cooking, respect for natural ingredients, and preparation that retains original flavours. The numerous Japanese restaurants in Hà Nội attest to the fact that we Vietnamese have a deep affection for such food cuisine, possibly as a result of the many shared culinary ideas.

It is, however, quite difficult to discover a Japanese restaurant that is wholly unique and offers lots of variation from the standards.

The fusion of modern and Japanese design elements sets a sophisticated tone in Kumihimo, accented by a striking colour palette of black with bold red highlights. VNS Photo Hamy Nguyễn

I found what I was seeking at Kumihimo, previously Akira Back, at the plush JW Marriott Hotel Hanoi. As a fine dining establishment, I wanted to save it for a special occasion, even though I had heard of this restaurant's fusion Japanese style a long time ago.

Ultimately, for International Women's Day March 8 I decided on Kumihimo. This day is always thrilling to celebrate, especially with a team of up to 10 women. Thankfully, every member of the team adored Japanese food. 

Upon entering Kumihimo, the fusion of modern and Japanese design elements sets a sophisticated tone, accented by a striking colour palette of black with bold red highlights. The ambience, with its intimate lighting and private dining options, focuses on an enriching culinary journey.

After relaxing in this lovely room, the one thing that slightly disappointed me was that I had to select wine two or three times because the bottles I wanted were unavailable. 

Mushroom Crisp. — VNS Photo Hamy Nguyễn

Fortunately, I was able to sample over 10 different dishes here. I purposefully selected fusion dishes that differ from those seen in typical Japanese eateries.

While there will undoubtedly be many excellent dishes, there will also be a few that fall short of expectations. I will offer a few recommendations, though, that ought to be considered.

Here, the signature dish is Mushroom Crisp (VNĐ360,000). This 'tortilla pizza' is quite straightforward, with only three layers: crunchy corn tortilla, sweet Ponzu mayo sauce, and a main topping (either salmon, tuna or mushrooms).

Despite its simplicity, the dish has a very delicate balance. Mushroom is my favourite, and the combination of its slightly chewy juicy texture, a hint of aroma from perilla leaves, and a few drops of white truffle oil was interesting. 

Wagyu Crisp. — VNS Photo Hamy Nguyễn

Don’t forget to try the Wagyu Carpaccio Crisp (VNĐ480,000) which is made mainly from raw Wagyu Striploin MB3+. Even though MB3+ has a modest amount of marbling, it works well with this dish since the wasabi-anchovy sauce and parmesan cheese add a fatty flavour.

Potato Truffles. — VNS Photo Hamy Nguyễn

The potato truffles were a flavour bomb (VNĐ380,000). Have you ever had a dream about a hearty bite which contains the finest ingredients possible? This is it: a combination of caviar, sea urchin, sweet prawn, and tuna toro.

The use of deep-fried mashed potato balls and potato foam was merely an accompaniment to the dish, serving as a backdrop to the natural sweetness and freshness of the ocean's ingredients. It was truly a surprise to see all the cold main components turned into a hot dish.

Uni-Q. — VNS Photo Hamy Nguyễn

A high-end 'taco' where you can taste-the-technique is called Una-Q (VNĐ400,000). Using a standard knife technique, cucumbers are sliced and formed into round shapes to make a thin wrap. The rich taste of Kabayaki sauce on Unagi, along with the fatty taste of pan-fried foie gras was balanced by the refreshing taste of cucumber.

Volcano. — VNS Photo Hamy Nguyễn

The Volcano (VNĐ390,000) was a great way to end dinner. It provides a serving of saucy rice that tastes entirely different from the dishes I sampled earlier and has an explosive, spicy, creamy flavour, as the name implies. The taste of the mushroom dynamite sauce truly strikes me. This rice dish has many delicious ingredients, such as scallops, fish roe, and sea crab.

As a Japanese food enthusiast, I was quite pleased with the meal at Kumihimo and could write a ton more to convey my happiness. The price is perhaps the only thing preventing me from dining here too frequently. However, you get what you pay for.

Make a promise to yourself that you will at least try it at least once – it's well worth a shot.  VNS


Address: JW Marriott Hotel Hanoi, 8 Đỗ Đức Dục St, Nam Từ Liêm Dist, Hà Nội

Tel: 0903290998

Price: VNĐ120,000-4,000,000 

Comment: Fusion, modern, sophisticated, fresh, luxurious

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