Auckland: Ebisu

2013 has been a great year, so we decided to end our year with a BANG by celebrating New Years Eve with a degustation at Ebisu.

Our meal started with a serving of steamed Edamame, seasoned nicely with smoked sea salt. We nibbled on this while we waited for everyone to show up. The Spicy Prawn Miso was a nice change from the regular miso. This version had a fiery kick with thin juliennes of red chilli, bean spouts and big juicy prawns. The Hamachi Sashimi was refreshing and was perfectly paired with the pickled daikon which countered the richness of the fish. This was lightly seasoned with yuzu soy. The Hokkaido Scallop Sashimi were sweet and succulent; this was garnished with slices of cucumber and radish, seasoned with a tangy citrus vinegar.

Our meal then moved on to my favourite dish of the night. The Seared Beef Roll was utterly delightful. Thin strips of rare beef wrapped around sticky white rice, goats cheese and avocado. Topped off with a small dollop of black truffle and chives. I love the taste of truffles and this small garnish made all the difference. It intensified the flavours of the beef and we really enjoyed it! The Tempura Oyster was crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, delectable with the wasabi tartare sauce. The Seared Scallop were much-loved around the table. They were plump and perfectly cooked. It was garnished with oyster mushroom, pickles and a creamy yuzu hollandaise, which worked outstandingly well with the scallop. The Miso Glazed Black Cod served with Japanese eggplant and pickles could have done with less cooking. The texture of the fish was drier than what it should be, but the eggplant was sweet and moist.

As a palate cleanser, we enjoyed a refreshing and tart Yuzu Sorbet.

Our meal then moved on to the protein section which was complimented by grilled baby asparagus, mixed leaf salad and steamed rice. The Grilled Wakanui Scotch Fillet was a tad overcooked by my preference and this came with wasabi ponzu, sesame soy and wafu sauce. Slight tough to chew, the meat could have been better. The Teriyaki Chicken was the best meat dish out of the three, the meat was tender, flawlessly cooked and the combination of black vinegar, teriyaki sauce and truffle oil gave intense flavours and we happily soaked up the sauce with grilled rice rolls. By the time they served the Yakitori Lamb Fillet, we were stuffed. Although the taste and seasoning was good, we were too well fed to fully enjoy this dish.

Our last dish, the Buttermilk Panna Cotta with strawberry-sake granita, was thankfully small in portion. The panna cotta had a silky smooth consistency and with the diced strawberry and granita, it was an excellent way to end our meal.

What a lovely degustation meal! Despite being slightly expensive for Japanese food ($98 per person), we were all glad that we opted for this sixteen dish feast! We managed to try a bit of everything and it could have easily costed us much more if we were to order the items separately. We had attentive and friendly service despite it being New Years Eve and the kitchen was able to tailor the menu for my friend who does not eat meat.

Date: Tuesday 31 December, 2013 | Location: 120 Quay Street, Auckland | Food: Japanese

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