Katana Shabu & Japanese Dining is not an ordinary shabu restaurant, though the word ‘shabu’ in the name may suggest otherwise. Katana Shabu & Japanese Diningoffers all their guests a gastronomic journey of Japanese history, culture, and hospitality. We have been there and experienced an unparallel dining experience for genuine Japanese cuisine delicately crafted by their Head Chef Tetsuya Fukuda. To us, Katana Shabu & Japanese Diningcan definitely be crowned as a Japanese fine-dining restaurant.
Katana Shabu & Japanese Dining – Japanese Fine Dining
Katana Shabu & Japanese Dining exemplifies what Japanese fine dining is all about. From the décor down to the details of service; and from how each dish is prepared to how it is served to diners; it is a flawless Japanese fine dining experience.
(1) Katana Shabu & Japanese Dining – Décor
A unique Japanese dining experience starts from the very moment I see Katana in front of me. Simple but classic, the exterior of Katana reminds me of a machiya (townhouse) during Edo period. On the right side of the entrance, there is a secret by-passage to a private dining room carefully decorated with an elegant taste of bushido.
The decoration of the restaurant strongly suggests the spirit of bushido and samurai. Diners are greeted by a red Samurai statue at the main entrance of the reception area of Katana. In the main dining area, traditional seating styles are witnessed. There are a kaunta seki (counter seating) with red as the theme colour and a tatami table seating set in a pale wooden Japanese gazebo decorated with a golden samurai statue. Following the traditions of Japanese architecture and designs, the use of space has been thoroughly calculated. The two functionally distinct seating areas further complemented the sense of Japaneseness of the restaurant.
(2) Katana Shabu & Japanese Dining – Concept
The background of the restaurant is closely linked with ancient Japanese history. In a conversation we had with Head Chef Tetsuya Fukuda, the owner of the restaurant is the descendant of a prestigious warlord, Takeda Shingen, a.k.a. Tiger of Kai, during the Sengoku period. The choice of red colour in the restaurant is because of Shingen’s most famous red armour that he wore for all the well-known battles he fought in. The owner’s ancestral connection with ancient bushido and samurai has founded the decoration of the establishment, a significance of his family emblem.
The name of the restaurant ‘Katana’ carries another layer of meaning. The Japanese word ‘Katana’ means honourable sword. This sword is a symbol of unification as Japan strived for civil peace during the Sengoku Era (1467-1603), a time of turmoil marked by social upheaval, political intrigue and military conflict. Naming the restaurant as ‘Katana’ is the wish of the owner to celebrate the golden era brought by the unification of Japan, turning the nation into a peaceful and thriving country. It was also when traditional Japanese cuisine was conceived.
(3) Katana Shabu & Japanese Dining – Omotenashi
Omotenashi defines Japanese hospitality. This kind of incomparable hospitality goes beyond our norm and definition. The core idea of omotenashi is to anticipate the needs of your guests and to serve them with the best service without the expectation of a reward. Katana has especially hired from Japan two Japanese ladies to maintain the standard of omotenashi at Katana.
As an Asian, I was totally impressed by the omatenashi brought by Ms Tsukasa Nakajima. Honestly, the hospitality at Katana is far better than many other high-class fine dining restaurants in countries packed with Michelin-starred restaurants.
(4) Katana Shabu & Japanese Dining – Cuisine
Based on the seasonal produce and harvests in Japan, the set menu of Katana is crafted by Head Chef Tetsu Fukuda every month. The best ingredients are freshly imported from Japan. Earlier in August, we have experienced Katana’s 8-course nouveau Japanese cuisine featuring A5 Matsuzaka Beef in the sixth course – Shabu-Shabu.
8-Course Set Menu – August 2017 (nouveau Japanese cuisine and shabu-shabu)
This set menu is a delight to the palate. I enjoyed the excitement of looking forward to each upcoming dish! One after another, I experienced an delicate taste of Japanese cuisine.
(1) Appetizer: cream cheese tofu water shield/ green soybeans/ Japanese citron/ Japanese soup stock
How was the cream cheese wrapped so impeccably inside the tofu? It may require a thorough study in Chef Tetsu Fukuda‘s kitchen. What I know for sure is that it is a nice appetizer to start a Japanese gourmet journey.
(2) Sashimi: Flesh Japanese spiny lobster and thin-sliced flatfish sashimi matsutake mushroom/ spike/ citrus sudachi/ matsutake mushroom soy sauce
To genuinely enjoy this dish, I would recommend you not to put the whole piece wasabi in the soy sauce. Instead, put a very tiny amount of it on the lobster sashimi. Slightly dip it in the matsutake mushroom soy sauce. Breathe while a piece of lobster is in your mouth and feel the aroma and a mild taste of sake from the lobster. Once the aroma of sake subsides, enjoy the pleasure when the matsutake mushroom soy sauce and freshness of lobster are dancing on your palate!
This dish put me in awe. The Japanese abalone was cooked just right to keep its juice and tenderness. Abalone, whether it is dried or fresh, is never easy to handle. Chef Tetsuya Fukuda‘s culinary skill is exemplified in this dish! The egg custard below the abalone was smooth with its taste enhanced by the Japanese-styled oyster sauce!
The magic wand of Chef Tetsuya Fukuda has made this dish sexilicious. Black truffle and fresh sea urchin with chopped wasabi enhanced the taste and freshness of the rosy seabass, which was grilled perfectly to keep its moisture. The best way to enjoy every bite of the seabass is to eat it with some bechamel sauce, a piece of truffle, some sea urchin with a tiny amount of chopped wasabi. The mixture of flavours forms a unique excitement to the palate!
(5) Arranged small ball: European pear tempura egg white/ sesame miso parmigiana cheese/ prosciutto/ chervil
This is an East-meets-West dish, a salty and thinly-sliced Italian dry-cured ham (Prosciutto) wraps the pear tempura inside. The pear tempura was perfectly done without any hint of oily mouthfeel. As the batter was made of egg white and starch powder, so its texture was light and tasted clean enough to not overpower the mild sweetness of the pear. The sesame miso gave a Japanese touch to the dish, though I would prefer some hints of citrus in the sauce to give a slightly contrasting flavour to the palate.
(6) Shabu-Shabu: Premium A5 Matsuzaka Beef Shabu Shabu Japanese soup stock/ lettuce/ white scallion/ tofu/ kudzu starch noodles/ enoki mushroom/ mochi/ shiitaake mushroom/ carrot/ ponzu sauce/ sesame sauce/ condiments (grated radish with red pepper, garlic, scallion)
The star of this course is the A5 Matsuzaka Beef! Every piece just melted in my mouth with pleasing flavours of the meat and melting fat! Cooked right in front of you by Ms Tsukasa, I enjoyed this course like a queen in the palace.
(7) Soup: Kishimen Udon noodles Salt and pepper/ a scallion
The soup, after absorbing the essence of vegetables and A5 Matsuzaka Beef, was very flavoursome. The udon was different from what we could normally find in the market, it was thin and flat. When cooking the flat udon in the hot soup, the flavour of the soup was absorbed more quickly. Yummy!
(8) Dessert: Raindrop cake Brown sugar syrup/ kinako (soybean flour)/ sweetened black soybeans
It is the best raindrop cake I have ever had. The dessert was served on a chilled plate to keep the raindrop cake fresh and cold. As clear as a drop of rain, the cake tasted perfect with the yellow roasted soybean flour and brown sugar syrup. It’s a dessert that was light enough to enjoy after a feast of seven courses while sweet enough to satisfy my sweet tooth.
Who in Gourmet Bangkok team reviewed Katana Shabu & Japanese Dining?
Chelsea Chan ~ A food lover, golfer, fun lover, and adventurer Chelsea was born in Hong Kong and is a genuine food lover. Her palate is especially sharp on Cantonese food, delicacies from Hong Kong and meat (especially beef, chicken and lamb). She is able to taste how the food is cooked and prepared. Besides, she is also a pro buffet gourmet because of her unlimited appetite. When she says ‘too sweet’, it may not be sweet for you as her preference for chocolate is 72++ dark chocolate.
Neng Srichaisak ~ A pro golfer, travel lover and photographer Neng was born in Bangkok and is an enthusiastic photographer. Ever since joining the Gourmet Bangkok Team, he has developed an intense interest in food and food photography. He is good at searching the best angle for a dish. He likes spicy food and is able to tell the exotic spices used in Asian cuisine. He also acts as the Thai-Cantonese interpreter for Chelsea when reviewing restaurants in Bangkok. As he is a pro golfer, he reviews all golf courses for Gourmet International Team.
Will Gourmet Bangkok recommend Katana Shabu & Japanese Dining?
Katana Shabu & Japanese Dining is highly recommended to you all. No need to buy tickets to Japan, you can experience the best cuisine and service right in the heart of Bangkok at Katana.
A genuine Japanese fine dining restaurant where incomparable Japanese hospitality can be experienced! ~ Chelsea