Phuket restaurant - Kabuki, JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spai
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Kabuki at JW Marriott Resort and Spa

Kabuki at JW Marriott Resort and Spa
 Dramatic, colorful and very well travelled!

By Marie Moon

It is common practice for a chef to seek the freshest, most tender meats and seafood for their creations. At the Kabuki Sushi Bar Chef Suwat has gone a little further not only to procure products that are fresh and succulent but also to search the globe for the ultimate ingredients. Salmon and mackerel from Norway, tuna from Indonesia, octopus from Africa, Taiwanese eel and Korean ark shell, the list goes on to include some very well travelled constituents.

So, I challenged, why have you gone to all the trouble of importing these ingredients when fresh local produce is available? Modest Chef Suwat appeared perplexed but answered simply, "They are the best products in the world. I wouldn't use anything but the best!"

The best. From a resort, which is hailed as perhaps the best on the island of Phuket, it is fitting that the Japanese outlet of the JW Marriott Resort and Spa supports this benchmark.

Kabuki is a form of traditional Japanese drama performed by men, with highly stylized song, mime and dance. Founded in the early 17th century, this sophisticated discipline is colourful and dramatic, steeped in tradition and revered by the Japanese people. The concept of Kabuki Sushi Bar is to reflect the same spirit and enthusiasm that inspired the ancient kabuki actors.

The menu is basic, including all the favourite sushi dishes that the world has come to appreciate so much over recent years. Sashimi, traditional and specialty rolls, udon, ramen and soba noodle dishes, tempura and the meat dishes called yakimono are all present. While the menu is not elaborate, the quality of the meats, seafood and vegetables used is second to none and for this reason, the many Japanese guests who frequent the restaurant are wholly satisfied with their orders. One Japanese customer actually invited Chef Suwat to accompany him back to Japan to be his personal chef; a compliment that makes him blush with pride. Known for their dogmatic expectations of their own specialized cuisine, such a tribute from a Japanese man to a non-Japanese chef is rare and speaks as a recommendation in itself.

Upon my visit to Kabuki, Chef Suwat prepared his signature dish, tempura roll, with simple elegance. Thin crispy batter covers a king prawn which is then grouped with sliced avocado and rolled in nori seaweed, cut into chopstick friendly pieces and topped with salmon roe and a drizzle of mayonnaise. The creamy avocado mixed with a tender bite of prawn, slides down like silk, the salmon roe adding a pop of flavour.

The sushi moriawase is a large plate of mixed sushi including slivers of fresh tuna, salmon, mackerel and other fish, prawns, egg and salmon roe neatly cut and laid over rice. Accompanying the sushi were some wonderful California rolls that had been rolled in bright orange caviar adding a zesty colour to the spread. The tempura moriawase is a plate of mixed battered prawns and vegetables. The art of good tempura is in creating a batter that is neither greasy nor dry. A Japanese meal usually comprises a selection of different dishes and over the course of the meal, the tempura items inevitably lose their heat. Good tempura will remain crispy and is delightful even when cold. Chef Suwat certainly has the tempura batter well rehearsed as after a lengthy interview, when we finally sat down to indulge, the tempura was delicious.

Chef Suwat was trained by venerable Japanese Chef Yamada-san at the Bangkok Hilton International Hotel. Here he learned all aspects of Japanese cuisine including how to make all the sauces and condiments from scratch. The lift and dip philosophy of Japanese dining uses a number of tasty dipping sauces that have been perfectly matched to each dish over thousands of years of practice. Nowadays you can buy these sauces in bottles at almost any supermarket but they often lack the authenticity that home made versions have.

The setting of Kabuki Sushi Bar does not openly resemble a Japanese restaurant for it is located adjacent to the open bar area and is quite small having only counter seats and six tables, seating a total of 20 people. The preparation area is decorated with sleek, stylish Japanese elements and while there are no geisha to be seen nor shamisen tunes to be heard, there is an extraordinary view to behold. The tables run along a large reflection pool which cools the breezes racing in from the sea and underlines the gorgeous view out to the ocean.

The restaurant is open daily from 2:00pm to 11:00pm and due to its small seating capacity, reservations for Kabuki Sushi Bar are recommended.

Click here for more information about JW Marriott Phuket Resort

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- Febuary 2003, Volume 6 Issue 2

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