Three top Japanese chefs join forces to bring traditional flavours to this revamped Macau restaurant.
*Featured in Crave’s March 2016 issue
Text by Cherrie Yu, photos by Samantha Sin
After being renamed Mizumi in 2013, Wynn Macau’s one-Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant has been revamped with a fresh look and whole new concept. Three top chefs specialising in different culinary traditions have been drafted in as consulting chefs from Michelin-starred Japanese restaurants: sushi chef Tsutomu Shimamiya from two-starred Sushi Zen; tempura chef Kazuhito Motoyoshi from one-star Tempura Motoyoshi; and teppanyaki chef Junichi Yoshida from one-star Ishigaki Yoshida.
The original wooden interior has been replaced with a kimono-inspired space in bold and cheerful red and gold. The 4,812 sq ft space comprises two private rooms and a large dining room with three wrap- around hinoki counters each seating six to 14 people. We fitted between the sushi, tempura and teppanyaki counters.
First up, the sushi station. Ingredients are sourced from Shimamiya’s Hokkaido flagship restaurant and served edomae style, including tuna from Aomori and sea urchin from Hokkaido. As he deftly shapes the sushi rice, the veteran chef reveals that being a sushi chef wasn’t his childhood dream.
“Growing up in a fishmonger family, my life revolved too much around seafood. It wasn’t until I had a chance to try the city’s sushi chains that I realised seafood could be sold at such a high mark-up price. So sushi it was,” he says.
At the tempura counter, Motoyoshi turns out perfectly crispy deep-fried vegetables. “Notice how dry the absorbent tempura paper is after the seasonal fried vegetables are placed on it,” he says proudly. “The secret comes from the use of 30 per cent of two types of sesame oil.”
And so to teppanyaki, which has its own room presided over by Yoshida. We take a seat as he gets to work, quickly reheating slow-cooked sirloin and tenderloin wagyu steak. After three hours of slow cooking and a final searing on the hotplate the result is tender, juicy meat balanced with a crispy exterior. It’s a fitting finale of a rare chance to indulge in the dishes prepared by three master chefs.
1. Sushi Set
We sampled the toro, sea urchin and Japanese hairy crab nigiri sushi. Tendon- free and smooth, the toro from Aomori prefecture melted in the mouth. The sea urchin had a strict ratio of 3:1 between sea urchin and rice, and we were urged to eat it quickly before the seaweed wilted. Fresh from Hokkaido, it was meltingly soft with an incredible lingering flavour that heightened the appetite. In comparison, the Japanese hairy crab was mild in flavour.
2. Japanese Yaeyama Wagyu Beef Teppanyaki
Natural-fed 29-month-old Ishigaki beef from Okinawa Yaeyama is slow-cooked for three hours, then quickly heated on the teppan. Glistening and visibly crisp on the outside, it has a tender and juicy interior and the mouthfeel is divine. A pinch of Okinawa sea salt and aromatic Shizuoka wasabi further unfolds the beef flavour. Don’t neglect the humble tomato sitting discreetly on the corner of the plate, it is slow-cooked to perfection and is a marvelous finish.
3. Sea Urchin Tempura
This was the highlight of our meal and was recommended to be eaten within 30 seconds. The soft urchin was cradled in two shiso leaves from Aichi, the bottom half of each leaf had been deep-fried until crunchy, adding to the slew of textures in the dish. Each bite is a complexity of texture and temperature. Sea salt was a nice addition as it helped to intensify the flavour.
4. Fatty Tuna Sushi
Two pieces of sushi arrive side by side on a shiny black board, showcased by their own reflections. Each thin slice of toro is tendon-free and the organic Tsuyahime rice is cooked with Kanon spring water. We were told to add soy sauce only to the rice to taste the toro’s true avours. A dab of wasabi on each piece of sushi is fragrant and fine in texture, but the star is the toro that melts in the mouth.
5. Abalone Tempura
Abalone fans will enjoy the tempura’s chewy, meaty interior and contrasting coat of crispy batter. It’s served with a range of creative condiments that will surely satisfy discerning gourmands. Sides include abalone liver sauce, fresh limes with Okinawa snow salt,
home-made green tea salt and brewed prawn head. We especially liked the pairing with abalone liver sauce and Okinawa snow salt.
G/F Wynn Macau, Rua Cidade de Sintra, NAPE, Macau
Tel: +853 8986 3663