Decided to do a degustation last minute on Friday. Saw Kappo opening up during the week and the concept sounded pretty exciting. Simon Denton opened Verge years ago, and then converted to a day time Japanese eatery Nama Nama. Also opened the Hihou Bar upstairs in 2012. Also has his famous Izakaya Den nearby which is over popular on the weekends. I’ve been to all of these places named above and I can tell you Kappo was the most interesting and fulfilling experience I had.
Called up around lunch time to ask for a table for 2, you have to fill in this form they send you about dietary requirements and many courses you want. Its an omakase menu (meaning leave it to them) of 5, 7 or 9 courses. ($80, $110, $140 respectively). So booked for a 6:00pm booking, but we rang and said we were running late and they were still happy to cater for us. The entrance is no longer in the Spring St entrance even though its very confusing for many people. Its the same hidden entrance as Hihou where you have to press the door bell before heading in. You are greeted in the corridor and they take you in. The capacity is only 25 and most of the seats are over the counter 10 of them, a few high tables and a few behind screens. Kappo is basically over the counter dining which is meant to be an interaction between the chef and the customer. Love the idea.
Before even ordering or seeing the menu, you are welcomed with a warm towel and this marinated Tofu dish wrapped in daikon and lemon rind. Love the Japanese tojiki. This dish was refreshing and unbelievably tasty.
Here comes the menu now. As I mentioned, its only an omakase menu. They tell you all the ingredients they will use (25-30 of them) and you can tell them whether you dont want anything or really want something. Otherwise, its the choice of 5 or 7 or 9 courses and a choice of matched wines/sake starting from $50. I asked to have a mix of wines and sake. We also opted for the NINE course menu as I thought it might be a once off dining experience for us. (Think that might not happen now!)
Menu is printed on nice almost transparent paper. Very Japanesy. Forgot to mention, they also came with a welcoming Sake. (Didn’t ask the name, but it was light and easy to drink)
Plate of Lilies. No, not meant to eat this, for decoration obviously but it was right next to me, so i was obliged to take a photo of these pretty flowers.
Reminds me of Izakaya Chuji where you can choose your own cup. Never had to choose your own chopsticks! Brought in this huge wooden box with these chopsticks. I chose a dark coloured one and IK chose a darker wooden colour one. The others were much the same colour.
Kentaro Usami (formerly sushi chef at Kenzan) doing his thing. All the ingredients he gets out are carefully taken out from a wooden box with a lid on it. None of the plastic tupperware with crappy labels on it, its all meticulously taken out, lid put back on, back in the fridge etc.
I decided to do the matched wines and IK just a lemon lime and bitters. Its a champagne from yarra valley. Sorry I’ve tried writing notes on my iphone so apologise if I dont get the names of the wines/sake right. The Sommelier did describe how it was made and what was special about each drink. By the 8th glass/cup of alcohol, I really had no clue or remember what I had!
Course 1. dish of tempura fried abalone, New Zealand Potato with miso and marinated squid. Need to work on my depth of field with my camera! The choice of ingredients must be well thought out. Not an easy task to do.
The concept of the omakase is lots of fresh and raw ingredients and not alot of meat. Definitely quite a Japanese appetite. This vegetable came with asparagus, corn, long radish, cauliflower and walnut and miso puree. The vegetables go well with the walnut and miso sauce.
Sake no 2! Kameizumi Ginjyo from Kochi Prefecture brewed from rice. Amazing Sake.
This was a sesame tofu soup with Shiitake Mushroom with watercress on top. The sesame flavour was rich indeed.
A German wine! Fancy that! Shows they outsource different wines from different regions to suit the food. This was a Zilliken Reisling from Germany. More info here. Now he did mention about the slope when growing the grapes. Don’t know but it was definitely something different. Not as sweet as the Reislings you get here.
Seafood Tartare. Again the presentation was wonderful. Little individual plates for various ingredients, mix everything in a glass bowl, splash of line and salt and walaah. From right to left you have salmon roe, prawn, sea urchin, squid and hmmm was this bacon? and on top cucumber, seaweed and wakame.
End product. What do you think for a DIY job?
Now, almost forgot what wine I was up to now. Next is a Rob Dolan savagnin from the Yarra Valley. Quite a fruity taste on the palate.
Next up to complement it is zucchini flower tempura and corn wrapped in seaweed with a bit of yuzu salt. amazing…
Bit more normal Japanese food. Some sashimi! Salmon, john dory i think.
Sorry I am getting lost in grog now. This is Sake Zaku from the mie prefecture.
Hold on … wheres the other dish! I must be getting lost in grog now..
Ahhh Junmai Ginjyo Saika Twelve. As the name suggests… Think this is a local one.
Next sake (How many did I have?!) is Gangi Junmai from the Kuramoto Prefecture.
A Fish dish next. Sea Perch, yuzu and cucumber.
Sea Perch, yuzu and cucumber
Finally a meet dish is grade EIGHT, Wagyu Rump cap. I’m pretty damn full at this stage, but we’ll soldier away. Has a bit of pickled daikon and Black sesame salt or something.
Came with rice with a bit of dill and pea on top.
A Dessert wine next. Its French and I’m struggling to read the label.
bit of a palate cleanser before the real dessert. A yamamomo granita (or otherwise known as myrica ruba)
Now what do we have here…. I’m quite pissed, and I’m on the verge of puking up now. but i still go to fight on, which enabled me to hold back until i walk out the door. I have to consult IK before i write what it is!
However, this i couldn’t forget. I thought this was the last dish, but NO, you see the size of the box above? Simon Denton came along with the same size with a green tea tiramisu soaked in Japanese Whisky. We were like oh no……… He said you guys seem very scared! Don’t worry, you’ll finish it! This was an amazing dessert with a bit of crumble on top. I wished i was a bit more sober and had another stomach.
I really had my quota for grog. Yume shu is one of my favourite Japanese liqueurs around. Too bad I was only able to taste a bit.
My god what a long review. Overall we were very pleased with our dishes. It was complex, fun and an amazing night. Topped off with a hangover. Thanks Kappo.
Rating : 17/20
Dish of the day : Lots! but Green tea tiramisu or the marinated tofu was to die for.
Tips : Go for the Omakase 7 or 9 courses and of course with the pair wines…
Open Mon to Sat evenings and Friday Lunch.