SAVOUR JA­PAN’S FINEST

Wine & Dine - - BEHIND THE SCENES: FEATURE -

But the jew­els in the crown have to be Ja­panese restau­rant Mizumi at Wynn Palace and its Forbes five-star Sushi Mizumi.

An in­ti­mate space with just 14 seats around the sushi counter helmed by four mas­ter sushi chefs, Sushi Mizumi is mod­elled af­ter Tokyo’s top sushi bars. The omakase menu is de­signed by chef Tsu­tomu Shi­mamiya of two-Miche­lin-starred Sushi Zen in Hokkaido, Ja­pan and pur­veys the fresh­est seafood from Ja­pan.

Mizumi at Wynn Palace, mean­while, com­prises a tep­pa­nyaki counter for an up close glimpse of culi­nary fire­works, three pri­vate rooms for a more in­ti­mate ex­pe­ri­ence, as well as a sleek, modern din­ing room in rich hues of reds and browns lightly ac­cented with gold. The lat­ter is an­chored by a stun­ning gilded cherry tree sculp­ture that cy­cles through the four sea­sons in a dra­matic dis­play of light and colour, trans­form­ing the din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence into a multi-sen­sory one.

Mizumi at Wynn Palace is helmed by ex­ec­u­tive chef Min Kim, who grew up in a fam­ily-run restau­rant and cut his teeth at some of Ja­pan’s finest restau­rants in­clud­ing two-Miche­lin-starred restau­rant Les Créa­tions de Nari­sawa and three-Miche­lin-starred restau­rant Ryu­gin. Along with his team of seven Ja­panese mas­ter chefs, chef Kim cu­rates and serves an exquisitely pre­sented menu, all built on care­fully sourced ar­ti­sanal in­gre­di­ents that are air-flown from Ja­pan five times a week.

“Al­most all of our in­gre­di­ents are sourced from Ja­pan,” says chef Kim. Pi­geon and duck breast, for in­stance, are sourced from France. Caviar is, of course, Ira­nian, while truf­fles, de­pend­ing on sea­son, come from Aus­tralia, Italy or France. “The key to Ja­panese cui­sine is the ex­cel­lent pro­duce,” he shares. “And that is the ba­sis of our food at Mizumi and my own culi­nary phi­los­o­phy. Pro­duce is every­thing. So I just want to get good pro­duce, prep it per­fectly, cook it per­fectly, and then present it to the cus­tomers per­fectly, just the way it should be.”

To achieve this, chef Kim ded­i­cates con­sid­er­able time to sourc­ing the best in­gre­di­ents for his restau­rants. His at­ten­tion to de­tail is im­pec­ca­ble, and it shows in the in­gre­di­ents show­cased on the menu. Sus­tain­ably fished tuna is sourced whole from a spe­cial­ist in Tokyo’s Tsuk­iji fish mar­ket,

air-flown to Ma­cau, then cut ac­cord­ing to the kitchen’s re­quire­ments. De­pend­ing on the fish and sea­son, it is aged in ice. “Some­times the fish’s a lit­tle bit too young, the flesh is a bit too firm, and the flavour hasn’t ma­tured yet, so I age it, up to 18 days.” In fact, apart from shell­fish, chef Kim ages most of his fish, whether for just a day or up to two weeks.

In the sum­mer, chef Kim im­ports gi­ant eels from Ky­oto that weigh up to 3kg each (reg­u­lar eels typ­i­cally weigh in at about 600g). The eels are air-flown in live and kept in tanks un­til they are ready to be cooked. To en­sure a smooth bite, chef Kim cuts through ev­ery sin­gle bone in the body. He then cooks it over very low heat on bin­chotan for a very crispy skin, and fin­ishes with a gen­tle glaze of sweet soy sauce and a sprin­kle of san­sho pep­per.

Fruit and veg­eta­bles, too, are sourced from small spe­cial­ist pro­duc­ers in Ja­pan. Chef Kim re­counts how he once trav­elled to Shi­moda, not far from Mount Fuji, in search of the per­fect toma­toes. He found them in a tiny fam­ily-run farm just out­side of the town, and now has an ex­clu­sive con­tract to their en­tire har­vest. He blanches the toma­toes for a few sec­onds, re­moves the skin, then serves them chilled with a kiss of cit­rusy su­dachi juice. “It’s one of the best dishes I have,” he de­clares. “The tomato is so tasty, you don’t have to do any­thing.”

In­deed, the devil’s in the de­tails at Mizumi—from red vine­gar for sushi rice to en­sure max­i­mum fra­grance and flavour, to the 20-year-old aged black mirin for added depth in the sauces. It is hard work to main­tain such stan­dards, the chef ad­mits, but the ef­fort shows in sig­na­tures such as Shiso Tem­pura with Hokkaido Sea Urchin, which was cre­ated by Miche­lin­starred chef Mo­toyoshi Kazuhiro of Tem­pura Mo­toyoshi in Tokyo for Mizumi when the restau­rant was first opened. The shiso leaf is deep-fried till golden in a crisp, del­i­cate tem­pura bat­ter, then topped with chilled Hokkaido ba­fun uni and a pinch of Ok­i­nawa sea salt.

There is also the steamed abalone sushi, fea­tur­ing Ja­panese abalone slow-cooked for about 10 hours, then marinated in a spe­cial soy sauce for an­other six. For its sea urchin sushi, Mizumi only uses ha­date uni, the crème de la crème of Ja­panese uni.

An­other sig­na­ture not to be missed is the Char-grilled Yaeyama A5 wagyu steak. Yaeyama-ky­ori is a spe­cial species of veal that is bred only in the Yaeyama is­lands in the most south­west­ern part of Ja­pan. Each calf is part of a state-of-the-art trace­abil­ity sys­tem to en­sure the most gen­uine blood­lines and premium qual­ity.

Chef Kim cooks the meat over bin­chotan sourced from Wakayama for a per­fect smoky sear and a medium rare done­ness, then pairs it with sea­sonal veg­eta­bles and mush­rooms, along­side an egg deep-fried in bread­crumbs till crispy and golden on the out­side, and still runny on the in­side. The in­spi­ra­tion comes from sukiyaki, where egg yolk is used as a dip­ping sauce. “I like beef cooked over char­coal like a steak, not like sukiyaki, but I also like the idea of dip­ping into egg yolk, so I put the two to­gether,” the chef shares.

But it is not just the food that makes an evening at Mizumi mem­o­rable. The restau­rant also boasts one of the most im­pres­sive sake lists in Ma­cau, spe­cially cu­rated by its in­house sake som­me­lier with some as­sis­tance from the only Mas­ter of Wine in Ja­pan. As a re­sult, guests can kan­pai to many rare sakes ex­clu­sive to Wynn Palace, along­side small batch Ja­panese whiskies, craft beers and be­spoke cock­tails. And to pair with the fine food and drink, ser­vice—as to be ex­pected— is im­pec­ca­ble.

As chef Kim points out. “The restau­rant is not just about the food, it’s about the ser­vice and the am­bi­ence. It’s about the ex­pe­ri­ence. I try to make sure that the whole pack­age comes to­gether as one piece, to give that mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ence to ev­ery sin­gle cus­tomer that comes into Mizumi.”

A STAY TO RE­MEM­BER

In­deed, ex­pect ser­vice with a smile and an ex­pe­ri­ence to re­mem­ber not just at Mizumi, but through­out all of Wynn Palace’s 14 restau­rants and eater­ies. Be­yond its F&B of­fer­ings, guests can also in­dulge in the finest ther­apy re­tail can of­fer with over 50 de­signer brands un­der one roof; or pam­per them­selves with a re­lax­ing ses­sion at the spa, the largest in Ma­cau.

In short, Wynn Palace Co­tai of­fers the com­plete lux­ury pack­age, and for gour­mands, it proves a most en­tic­ing one at that.

MIZUMI AT WYNN PALACE G/F, Wynn Palace, Avenida da Nave De­s­portiva, Co­tai, Ma­cau Tel: +853 8889 3663 wyn­npalace.com

Open­ing hours Sat to Sun: 11:30am to 3:00pm (Lunch) Thu to Tue: 5:30pm to 11:00pm (Din­ner)

Ex­ec­u­tive Chef Min Kim of Mizumi, Sushi Mizumi and Hanami at Wynn Palace

Steamed Abalone & Sea Urchin at Mizumi, Wynn Palace

Sig­na­ture Sushi from Sushi Mizumi, Wynn Palace

Shiso Tem­pura with Hokkaido Uni Sashimi

Char-grilled Yaeyama A5 Wagyu Steak

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