A recent look at the blog, Gentle Reader, led one observer to comment that I seemed to be "stuck" in my ways. Same old restaurants, same old comments... Little did he know that I had already booked the Child Bride and I into Hiroo 148 for the Singapore night.
I have known Chef Marcus Yip for many years, and have followed his food adventures from Colors at Tsukiji to event catering to his current home in Hiroo. Marcus has followed an adventurous and flavor-filled road to success in Japan, and now with a second restaurant to open in Hokkaido seems busier than ever. Marcus comes from a "food" family with literally tons of experience and his ability to access people and ingredients seems to be a little unfair to other Australians trying to break into the outstanding Tokyo food scene (Marcus is promising new (old?) pleasures now that he has his hands on his great-grandmother's recipe book from Jogja days).
The Singapore event promised much, and as gluttons for Singaporean punishment (no, not the rattan!), we trekked off to 1-4-8 Hiroo. Marcus served us some chilli shrimp to start, followed by an Asiatic Salad. The shredded tortilla which "filled out" the salad was a detour, and this dish could have benefitted by a generous slash of chilli sauce.
Marcus needed to up the ante, and powered through with a Chinese Pork on Greens that seemed to vanish out of the "table" dish, unfortunately placed way too far away from me. I seemed to only get about a one-sixth portion, which seems dreadfully unfair given that there were 6 people at the table gathered from China, Japan, USA and Australia.
We had broken into a 2005 Bay of Fires Pinot Noir by now, sharing this good Tasmanian light red with our companions (competitors?) at the free-seating tables. The wine matched the food and the company perfectly, and nearly justifies the steep Y9,500 price.
The Hainan Chicken which followed was serviceable, although fairness dictates that I note that I was getting tired after a long day on the golf course with the Headhunter. I liked the Garlic Rice accompaniment, and the second Bay of Fires was working its evil magic on the multi-cultural table. All in all, Marcus had delivered a variety of well-prepared dishes in serious quantities with all of his customary cheer and bonhomie.
Try Hiroo 148 with friends and family, and ask Marcus about the "other" wines he has hidden all about the place. If you're a merchant-banker or from a cadet branch of a European royal family, ask about the great wine series he has put together which allow vertical comparison of some great Australian wines - and helps you get horizontal!
Rating: Food: 7/10; Service: 7/10 ; Wine: 7/10; Ambiance: 7/10; Price: 7/10; Total 35/50 (3 Forks)
Hiroo 148, Hiroo 1-4-8, tel: 03-3440-1482 Map