18th July 2013
The blog is becoming idle again, and I thought I should restart it with a memorable meal I had in Osaka during my trip to Japan in July last year. It was at Fujiya 1935. Fujiya 1935 is a two-Michelin starred contemporary European-Japanese restaurant led by the passionate and soft-spoken Chef Tetsuya Fujiwara. Fujiya 1935 is not to be confused with the similarly named Fujiya restaurant located in the vicinity. The restaurant's "1935" refers to the start of "Gorohachiya", a dining hall under Fukumatsu Fujiwara, the first generation chef or great grandfather of Chef Tetsuya who is the 4th generation chef along the Fujiya line of chefs.
The Fujiya dining experience begun in a dark room with a minimalist art piece as the room’s centrepiece. It resembles a modern take of the traditional shishi-odoshi (which we would know as that Japanese bamboo fountain). It was like a setting taken out from a Hermes art exhibition, so surreal and timeless.
An apertif of ice tea was served along with the menu for the day.
After a short wait, I was ushered to my table upstairs, passing by the kitchen where one could catch a glimpse of the team behind today’s meal. Unlike the waiting area, the dining area was bright and airy with simple but elegant furnishing.
The first course was the amuse bouche which was a trio of petite bites: Pistachio Marshmallow, Snack of Carrot and Aerated Bread of Corn. All of which were phenomenal. The aerated bread of corn was light, fluffy sponge like bread and filled with the aroma of corn accentuated with a sprinkle of black pepper.
Next up was a Hamo (Pike Conger) served with tarragon sauce, pickled eggplant and wasabi from Hikimi (匹見) which is located in the Shimane Prefecture. Apparently the wasabi from Hikimi is one of the most prized in Japan along with Shizuoka’s. The hamo was sourced from Kyoto (the city even has a festival dedicated to this fish in summer) and it was exceptional. The fish was succulent and the light sear gave it a mild smoky flavour and a thin layer of crispy coating. In short, great textures and flavours.
The next item on the menu was a Confitted Sweet Fish (or ayu) with wild rocket sauce. The flavours get more and more intense and heavy as the menu progresses. The wild rocket sauce was expectedly earthy and herbal in flavour with a bitter aftertaste. It sort of balance off the mild sweetness of the ayu but I am not a fan of fish with lots of fine little bones hence I didn’t enjoy this dish.
Before the next main course was served, bread was served in a wooden box on top of a hot stone (which kept the bread warm throughout the meal). Along with the really good bread, there were two kinds of butter, a plain butter from the Hida Takayama region as well as unique sesame butter. The butter from Hida Takayama was more sour and savoury than the ordinary butter.
The next course was a Hand Stretched Pasta served with shrimp, green asparagus and condensed egg yolk. Unlike the usual pasta, this was more springy and chewy like a really good soba. This was easily one of my best pasta dishes that I had thus far (the other being at Okitchen)
The lunch climaxed with a Duck Breast served with Okra, New Ginger and Japanese Pepper (sansho). The duck breast, which was sourced from France was very tender and juicy. The sansho sauce’s tingling spiciness builds up as one savours the dish. The brown coloured sauce was made from black sugar.
In preparation for the dessert, a plate cleanser of Californian Grapefruit, grapefruit peel cream, honey granita and coconut ice cream. The mild sweetness from the honey granita, refreshing grapefruit and chilled coconut ice cream worked pretty well.
The dessert was Mango Mousse topped with coconut and basil sauce served with summer strawberries from Shiga Prefecture. If you have eaten Thai Mango Stick Rice before, you might find the taste quite similar except this was more refined and the use of basil gave it a kind of complexity. When I enquired Chef Tetsuya on the inspiration behind this dessert, he mentioned that it was the thought of how the flavours would complement each other that led to the dessert, the chef wasn’t aware of the Thai dessert and was quite amused by the similarity.
I hope to go back to Fujiya 1935 when I do visit Osaka again (and with sufficient budget), the lunch was an awesome finish for my 14 day trip to Japan. The meal was well-composed, meticulously thought through and very well-balanced. The 2-Michelin starred meal cost me about 6500 JPY, about 80 SGD (the last time I checked, it has gone up to 7500 JPY).
The nearest subway stations are Sakaisujihonmachi and Tanimachi Yonchome. The restaurant is just a short walk from both stations.
2-4-１４ Yariyamachi, Chuo Ward,
Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 540-0027, Japan