some magical hoodoo at Fuku
Winter's here which means my birthday is rolling around soon mid-July. Thankfully for my actual birthday Jeremy and I are off to spend some time in the sun in Kuala Lumpur. But because my boy is extra sweet and waaaaaay too nice to me, he booked a surprise early birthday dinner for the two of us here in Perth before we leave.
Keeping in line with our love of discovering new places to dine at, he booked for Fuku in Mosman Park which I have been dying to try. I have to admit, I'm completely floored by the gesture and oh so excited as we press the bell at the entrance to this restaurant which sits next door to their sister venue, Tsunami.
Inside Fuku (with us grinning)
I love the set up of Fuku and the specialness that comes with having to press a bell to enter the venue. A sliding door pops open and we're welcomed by our host for the night, who promptly seats us at two of the sixteen seats inside. It's small, intimate and gorgeous. Low lighting, with a backlit wall full of 1.8L sake bottles. We sit down and are happy to meet the two chefs for the night, Gary and Jay who we will be facing for the course of our meal.
Our chef, Jay
Gary, the other chef
Jeremy has really gone all out tonight, having ordered the 'Best' menu for us on this occasion which is charged at $220 per person! There's two other menus available - 'Good' for $100 and 'Better' for $135. I hear they also have a $75 walk in menu if you arrive and manage to get a seat in this small venue. I'm sure that's hard to get seeing as they only seat sixteen diners each night.
Immediately our chef Jay presents us both with our first course for the evening, the Kawa Ebi. It's crispy fried whole shrimp with sundried nori sheets in a gorgeous mini bento box. These little shrimp are delicious and something I could happily eat all the time as a snack.
They're crunchy and flavoursome, the seasoning spot on. I love the combination of the crispy nori sheets which shatter in my mouth as I bite down and offer added texture. So far, so good!
To go with our dinner for the evening we decide on sharing some sake. I've actually never tried this drink before which is a mix between wine and spirits but I'm excited to try it - especially seeing as Fuku has the largest selection in Australia. Here you have the option of purchasing a small pot which will get you about 220mL or four pours (give or take), or a 1.8L bottle - to which you can take home if you don't finish it.
We decide on a pot, opting for the pricier of the three options - the Koshino Kantyubai Junmai Ginjo ($32). I love the presentation of the sake as it comes out to us, a scoop of ice in a separate segment keeps the alcohol cool without diluting it. Joe pours us our glasses and we clink to our night out. Immediately I note that it's not as intense in flavour as I'm expecting, rather smooth and actually quite enjoyable. I like it!
Four morsels - otsumami
Our second course is the Four Morsels - Otsumami. It comes out as four beautiful separate components on the one plate, all looking utterly fantastic.
We start off with thin slices of raw Fish and Wasabi Salsa. The fish is soft and fresh, the flesh tender. It soaks up the vibrant wasabi flavouring that leaves my nose cleared. For such a seemingly simple dish, this really has great impact.
Fish with wasabi salsa
Next up we tackle the beautiful Wagyu Tataki with White Sesame Dressing. One bite and I have to admit I'm in love! The beef is so ridiculously melt in your mouth tender; the dressing zingy and a perfect accompaniment to the meat.
The third morsel we try is the Octopus Salad. It's a pretty little spoonful of tomato, cucumber and slices of octopus which have been dressed in a lovely oniony sauce. It's cool but extremely delicious - the octopus is slightly chewy and flavoured just right. They really know how to showcase their seafood in a respectful but special manner.
The final morsel for this course is a Fried Oyster topped with Ginger Salsa. As I pick up the oyster with my chopsticks I notice straight away it's quite large so I'm expecting immense creaminess to fill my mouth as I bite down.
I'm not disappointed! The flavour is incredible - the ginger punchy and the oyster filling velvety. I love how there's all different textures from the creaminess, the crunchy outer and soft salsa. It's incredibly moorish.
Fried oyster with ginger salsa
Our third course, Sashimi, comes out quickly afterwards, a stunning selection of fresh Australian sourced seafood. I love how sitting in front of the chefs allows you to watch as they masterfully plate (and sometimes cook for the non-raw items) each dish in an organic, simplistic manner. By this time Jeremy and I have fallen in love with Chef Jay and his humble but entertaining personality. He was extremely entertaining with his teppanyaki skills! If you have a spare minute please watch his great work in the video above.
We start off on the left side of the plate, diving straight into the beautiful ruby coloured tuna sashimi. It's firm but soft at the same time and extremely (and I mean extremely!) fresh. The dob of wasabi on the side works well with the subtle sweetness of the fish and offers some heat to each bite.
Next to the tuna is the salmon, which is a lovely peachy orange colour and a tender bite. I know some people can't bring themselves to eat raw fish, but I do really recommend giving it a go because once you try it, hopefully you'll fall in love like I have. These days sashimi is a staple in my diet!
Tuna and salmon sashimi
At the end of the plate is the Gold Band Snapper wrapped around Japanese pickle and topped with a sweet prawn and salmon roe. I'm not a big pickle fan, but I do like this sashimi item. It's sweet and delicate, and the roe pops in my mouth with fanfare. The prawn on top is as sweet as our chef tells us it will be and I love the different texture between that and the fish.
The final sashimi item we have for this course is tuna belly and it is by far the best! It's so melt in your mouth; so fatty and decadent. I love, love, love it!
We get a nice break after our third course and enjoy some more teppanyaki entertainment. The chefs here really know how to work to the crowd and before our eyes they're juggling and spinning utensils and eggs. It's like dinner with a show!
Here's Chef Gary preparing the eggs for his diner's fried rice course:
The sake wall
When our fourth course, Sushi, comes out I have to admit I'm pretty excited! Straight away my eye goes to the left where there's two nigiri sushi blocks (one for each of us) topped with that phenomenal fatty tuna belly from the Sashimi course. With the soft rice, this feels like the ultimate sushi bite and once again I add some wasabi to lift the overall taste. How yummy!
Sitting next to the tuna belly is salmon belly which is something new for us to try. It's unsurprisingly delicious and fatty, though less so than the tuna. It holds so much flavour and is slightly firmer than the prior.
The final two items on the sushi board are the wagyu and the unagi. These two have the most incredible wow factor for something as pedestrian as sushi! The wagyu is tender and seasoned with an intense truffle salt that punches you in the face with absolute addictiveness. I want truffle salt on everything now!
The unagi (eel) is soft and flaky, coated with a light drizzle of teriyaki BBQ sauce that is sweet but savoury at the same time. It's so good, I actually don't think my words can do it justice. Definitely the best eel I've ever eaten - and I've eaten my fair share over the years!
Our next course is the Partridge which is prepared before us with the adorable little morsels of poultry sizzling on the hot grill beside slices of Japanese kent pumpkin and shimeji mushrooms. It takes some time to cook the birds properly but finally it's plated up and letting off the most incredible aromas.
The partridge is jam packed with flavour; the large slabs of butter used when cooking each item prevalent in the richness of each bite. The pumpkin is sweet and soft enough to eat through the skin as well, the dashi jelly cool and offering a pleasant tang with each mouthful. I love the mushrooms and the way the butter has brought out their natural earthiness. There's a generous drizzle of truffle oil over the top of each food pile which yes, is as good as it sounds!
Right about this stage I have to admit, I'm getting pretty damn full!
The next course is the Fish of the Day. It's red emperor on this night, line caught here in WA. It's cooked on the grill with a klosh covering it to allow the steam generated to cook the fish through to the centre.
It's served sitting on top of a crunchy edimame croquette and is dressed with miso sauce and a pickled vegetable which I can't quite figure out what it is. The fish is, as all the other seafood items we've had in our meal so far, as fresh as it gets. Soft, flaky and steaming hot. The miso is lightly salted and compliments each bite perfectly.
I love the edamame croquette underneath - it's such a clever and different way to present these little beans. It's crunchy and packed full of them. A nice textural offset to the fish and good use of a Japanese staple vegetable.
Fish of the day
Chef Jay preparing the next course
The next course that comes out is definitely the star of the evening in my eyes. Foie Gras & Scallops. Wow.
Two plump, perfectly seared scallops sitting atop a bed of sweet potato mash come out. They're topped with thick, decadently grilled slices of foie gras that are slightly melting. And then there's those dots of pomegranate sauce that decorate the plate.
Once again, let me say wow. I know foie gras isn't everyones cup of tea due to the nature it's prepared, but for those who do enjoy it - Fuku have done something great with it. Fatty and rich it coats the the scallops and counters their sweetness. The pomegranate sauce is just fantastic, fruity and worthy of a special mention as this really makes this dish even more amazing. I don't think I'll be forgetting this one any time soon!
Foie gras & scallops
Our second last dish for the night is the Isebi (crayfish). We've already eaten seven courses so far and my stomach is protesting! Well at least it was until I spied the generous serving of crayfish and I somehow managed to snap out of it. Don't judge me, but I am a seafood fiend!
The crayfish is cooked on the grill with the shell down and a klosh covering it. Once the shells are a vibrant orange, Chef Jay plates them for us and coats them in a miso infused creamy sauce. The segments of the crayfish pop out of the shell with ease and the sauce on top is white sauce like but with that nice Japanese flavour twist. I'm tempted to lick the plate that sauce is so enjoyable!
Our final savoury course for the night is the Wagyu Sirloin Steak with Truffles and Fried Rice. We ooh and aah as the lights are turned out while Chef Jay cooks the onion to accompany our steaks, setting them ablaze in a flamboyant fashion.
The fried rice is prepared with some egg juggling and then moulded into a love heart which is a sweet touch on the preparation.
Chef Jay divides up the servings and invites me to collect my bowl from his metal spatula. As I reach out to grab it he cheekily flips the bowl in the air and catches it with the spatula with ease. Not one grain of rice spills out!
He serves it with a plate of the medium-rare Wagyu Sirloin Steak, fried onion slices, dots of yuzu dressing and shaved black truffles. The wagyu is literally the best steak I've ever had, sourced from South Australia's Mayura Station. It's grade 9 which means it's an incredible quality with beautiful ribbons of marbled fat criss crossing each slice. It is heaven in a bite - I think that's the only way you can really describe meat of this quality. Succulent and moorish, my heart melts with each bite, especially with the topped truffle slices that adorn the meat.
The fried rice that accompanies it is full of egg, beef and spring onions. Like all other courses, it is perfectly seasoned and the rice is sticky but flavoursome. We make fried rice at home semi-frequently, so I'm interested to watch Chef Jay prepare it Japanese style - noting that he melts butter into the rice as he cooks. It draws out extra flavour and makes it even more delicious.
Unfortunately by this stage I am completely stuffed! Jeremy's just managed to finish his bowl but I barely make a dent, unable to stomach anymore savoury food. What a shame, because it really is tasty!
My birthday candle!
The night finished up with a dessert dish for the tenth course. It's Yuzu Cheesecake with Chocolate Drink and Mountain Peach. And because I'm a birthday girl I get a sparkler adorning it to celebrate the occasion - how fun!
I bake cheesecake quite often at home so I never ever order it when out. But this Japanese version was really different and lovely! Yuzu is a Japanese citrus which you can really taste in each bite. I love the accompanying wasabi infused cream which is light and only whispers of the promised wasabi taste. I like the mountain peach on the side which is a fruit I've never tried before. It's like a cross between a peach and a berry, but more of the stone fruit variety. I like it!
The chocolate drink on the side is thick and bitter, which is right up Jeremy's alley for chocolate. I'm not a dark chocolate fan myself so I find this too cocoa laden for my own personal tastes. But I'm not too phased because I am full to the brim!
I have to say, Fuku really impressed me and was worth the wait. The whole night was fun and full of the delicious course after course. I think I will need to check out Tsunami soon since I hear the two places share the same head chef. Another place ticked off my wish list but now another has been added!