eat: chrysan

CHRYSAN

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What he thinks…

Chrysan is a newcomer to the Japanese food scene in London. This is a fresh take on Japanese food and it is unique to the abundance of sushi and yakitori restaurants that are already here. I thought this restaurant would be a fancy restaurant that served miniature sushi, so I almost cancelled my booking here because I was not in the mood for that type of food. It was pelting with rain in London on the night we dined and I was waiting outside for my other half to arrive for her birthday dinner. The staff of the restaurant kindly opened the door and asked if I would like to come in. Friendly staff, check.

The food: before we even ordered our waiter came by to offer a free aperitif drink of sake and lychee. It was served in a little red dish.

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Glancing through the wine list and drinks menu they had a good selection of wines from various regions and various prices from £36 to beyond for a bottle of wine and a good selection of Japanese whiskey (I had Yamazaki 12 year old while waiting at the bar for her). The Kaiseki set menu for £85pp had a lot of items in it and you could choose between 3 items for the main.  As tempting as it sounded, we opted for the a la carte menu to share a greater variety of food. We decided on 3 starters…

-  Dried Tomato and Parmesan Marinated Sea Bream Salad Kumquat, garden vegetables, ponzu jelly
–  Grilled “Kuwayaki” Quail From Landes Tamari soy and sake marinade, spicy sansho peppercorns, paper thin apples
–  Chrysanthemum Leaf and Flower Salad, Yuzu and orange oil

… and 3 mains…
– “Scotland Meets Kyoto” Native Scottish lobster “Saikyo nabe” pot with scallops, mussels and yellowtail cooked in dashi broth of Saikyo miso from Kyoto
– Chrysan Style Sukiyaki “Clouds and Crystal”  35 Day dry-aged Angus beef rib eye, Mongolian soy sauce yuzu egg yolk dipping
- Chicken Stew “Volcano”  Leg of free range chicken and mochi rice with chestnuts, edamame and piping hot tomato dashi stock

For the 3rd main of Chicken Stew “Volcano”, our waiter, Jason, sold it to us “served table side with the sauce poured on top of the chicken which creates a volcano effect”. I have seen sizzling meat platters from Chinese restaurants before, but sizzling on crystal ware is something new to us so we had to try it.

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What was savoured: To kick off the meal they brought us a prawn infused cappuccino. Savoury coffee is something that is popping up around even with bacon.  But can this prawn cappuccino be part of the London coffee scene?

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My favourite dish was the Chrysan Style Sukiyaki “Clouds and Crystal”, comprised of 35 Day dry-aged Angus beef rib eye served with a Mongolian soy sauce and yuzu egg yolk for dipping the meat. It seems like this will be the restaurant’s signature dish. The idea of using cotton candy (aka fairy floss) as the clouds was accompanied by the earth, composed of beef and onions. As the flame furiously ignited from under the crystal bowl, the server poured the soya sauce on top of the clouds and this slowly incorporated itself as a sweet note in the sauce, which is usually how sukiyaki sauces taste. Everything harmonised while in the bowl and the steak was tender. Watching the meal transform and the taste of the succulent beef really makes coming to this restaurant worthwhile, it lives up to it’s name.

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The dessert of the apple tartin with soya caramel was a well executed apple tartin with a nice spin on the current fad of “sea salt caramel” flavours popping up all over the place.

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The verdict: Good for birthday dinners, a business suit affair or simply celebrating a special event or milestone. At 160 pounds for 2 people including 3 starters, 3 mains, 1 dessert and a bottle of white, food does not come cheap but it’s a nice change from the run of the mill Japanese restaurant with some creativity and thought added. We’ve read some recent reviews where food critics were not satisfied with what was served. But we were inspired by another food critic AA Gill giving Chrystan glowing reviews. I think this is one of those places where you’ll either love it or hate it. We choose to love and we heard several other diners eating nearby to us echo our thoughts. Thank you Mr. Yoshihiro Murata for bringing this type of Japanese food to London.

Address: Broadgate West, 1 Snowden St, London EC2A
Phone: 02036574777
Website: http://www.chrysan.co.uk/

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