Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Furano Furano Furano!

Most Aussies visit Hokkaido during ski season, but the northernmost island of Japan is equally lovely in summer.

Right now, I'm at Furano Hotel, and just enjoyed a lovely French degustation. So good, I couldn't wait until after the trip to do the write-up.

Aperitif: Champagne
Champagne to start, on the house. The elegant stemware and silverware were good indicators of the standard of food to follow.

Amuse bouche: trio of potato chip sandwiches, with broccoli, pork rillette,  caviar cream, on mashed Hokkaido potato
Potatoes is one of the many agricultural produce that Hokkaido is famous for. Sandwiched between two potato chips, this was a great starter for the meal. The pork rillette was flavoursome, slightly smoky, and melt in the mouth. The mash had probably the most intense potato flavour I had ever tasted.

Terrine of vegetables, Rillette of Hidaka "Tokishirazu" salmon, salad
Fresh, crunchy vegetables... really could do no wrong. The salmon rillette provided just the right flavour and seasoned the terrine well.

Takigawa "Snow White Cherry Barei" duck and Tokachi mushroom fricadelle, Ashiya vegetables ratatouille, house-made Italian parsley oil 
Tender, soft, melt in the mouth, the duck was sweet and packed with umami, and just the slightest gamey taste. Along with the earthiness of mushrooms, the acidity of the ratatouille balanced the entire dish perfectly.

Ashiya zucchini potage
Refreshing, creamy, with a hint of curry spices, this was a lovely soup to have in the warmth of the Hokkaido summer.

Shakotan "Hirame" Fluke fillet with vegetables, Akkeshi "Asari" clams and Hidaka Konbu Bouillon
Tender and moist, the fillet of Fluke was again, cooked to perfection. The Hidaka Konbu lent a pleasant slight smokiness to the bouillon. However, the vegetables were slightly tough to chew, and the zucchini on the wrong side of crunchy.

Main: Fillet of choice beef with Furano "Tsubaigerutorebe" red wine sauce
So soft and tender was the beef fillet, it could probably be cut with a butter knife. Cooked to medium rare, it was the right level of juiciness, with the right amount of smokiness from the grill. The red wine sauce was absolutely spot on, with the right amount of seasoning and acidity. So, so perfect.

Dessert: Yamabe Yamazaki Melon Farm "King Melty" Melon soup, Coconut blancmange
Slightly sweet, cool and refreshing, the coconut blancmange was creamy and smooth, and went down like velvet. Despite the craze for Hokkaido melons, personally I don't think they're that great. The fragrance of Chinese Xinjiang melons far surpass that of Hokkaido melons, and sweeter too. Still, a very nice dessert.

Petit fours: hazelnut panna cotta, chocolate fondant, strawberry fruit pate
Honestly, I thought the hazelnut panna cotta was far better than the melon and coconut dessert. Nutty and creamy, it went down a treat and everyone at the table relished every last bit.

After dinner, it was drinks at the bar. For some accommodation packages, a large portion of the bar menu is free. As in, have as many as you want, at no extra cost.


Furano Hotel original: Lavender Hill

Furano Hotel original: Asayake no Kumo (Clouds of sunrise)
When we got back to our rooms, a mystery box was set at the mini bar...

That's right, a supper of crab sushi with Japanese pickles. Don't know how I fitted this in after such a big dinner and drinks!

Furano Hotel

Reservations can be made on Jalan net.