Gourmet Garden

Hunting For The Flavors & Texture Of Yesteryears'

Edo Ichi & Friends, A Salon of Artisans

Posted by Jason Wong On November - 4 - 2013 |

Edo Ichi Japanese Restaurant got its name from the period when Japan was under the rule of the Tokugawa Shogunate, Edo period 江戸時代, from 1603 to 1868. The Edo period was a period characterized with economic growth, strict social order, isolationist foreign policies, environmental protection policies and the exponential growth in the appreciation for the arts and culture. Edo literally means estuary or bay entrance and is the former name of Tokyo, which is also the seat of power for the Tokugawa shogunate.

Established in the year 2001, twelve years down, with 16 individual restaurants and 5 different brand names, the Edo Ichi group’s success owes much to their insistence on upholding traditional Japanese dining cultures developed since the Edo period, practicing old and new food preparation methods and using fresh and good quality ingredients for their dishes.

Having been involved in the restaurant business that highly emphasizes on the importance of traditional dining cultures and the appreciation of the art of dining, Edo Ichi had in July 2013 through a simple dinner cum media conference at their Island Plaza (Penang) outlet, launched their “Edo Ichi & Friends” campaign to bring together personalities and craftsmen that share the same aspirations and appreciations for culture and arts and innovative thinking. The campaign aims at inviting and bringing in people that still practices ancient traditional craftsmanship, artists, creative thinkers and innovative creators to share and impart their knowledge and experience through various activities and programmes.

The first craftsman to join the campaign or movement was Martin Pauli, a contemporary master in handcrafted watch making from Switzerland. Martin founded Angular Momentum of Switzerland in 1995 with the vision to create and manufacture beautiful handmade timepieces, manufactured under inclusion of old technologies and traditional craft with the premise that no single part is made by CNC machines, not depending to suppliers and all working steps done through his personal hands.

He developed a fundamentally new system of time display, Revolving Disk (RDS), which has successfully replaced the classic watches with three-hands. Martin Pauli’s specialty is in decorating his hand crafted watches with art, age old traditional craft infused with newly developed methods; reverse painting on glass, gilding on glass, engraving on silver, gold, pearl, porcelain, etc. He is a mechanic, artisan, miniaturist, engraver, goldsmith and enamellist.

After the scrumptious Japanese dinner, we had an after-dinner-session over a bottle of warm sake, and here is an abstract from the informal Q&A we had with Edo Ichi’s PR representative founder of La Bibliotheque Du Temps, Mr. T.F. Chong:

Jason: Why did you invite Martin Pauli to join the “Edo Ichi & Friends” campaign?
PR: It was the timing; coincidentally Martin and I are planning to set-up a “Salon Metiers d’Art – La Bibliotheque Du Temps” in Malaysia. It will be a library cum gathering point for watch enthusiasts that will showcase handcrafted watches and a whole load of information and history related to watch making.

Jason: Why did Martin agree to join the campaign or movement?
PR: He shares a similar appreciation and admiration for the meticulous methods of preparation, art and culture behind the Japanese cuisine as that of Edo Ichi’s.

Jason: What will be the form of collaboration between Martin and Edo Ichi?
PR: Martin will allow Edo Ichi to use his images/art work and philosophy in the campaign to cross promote each other’s ideas, concept and aspirations.

Jason: Would these craftsmen and friends impart or share their skills to create new dishes for Edo Ichi?
PR: Depending on the possibilities as not all will be skilled in the culinary arts, but they will be sharing their ideas, concepts, philosophy and work ethics with Edo Ichi to improve in other areas as well.

Jason: Would Edo Ichi create a special dish or menu to introduce and celebrate the joining of new “friends” to the campaign?
PR: May be yes for future collaborations, but definitely not for now as time does not allow us to do so.

Jason: Would Edo Ichi create a Master Class for the public or its loyal customers to attend if the “friends” are from the culinary industry?
PR: It would be a good idea if time permits it.

Here is a glimpse of the dishes that were served to the media representatives that showcased some of Edo Ichi’s hand picked favourites and signatures:

Clockwise from top left corner: Soft Kani Karaage To Shake Kawa Sarada, Sashimi Moriawase (Assorted Raw Fish Platter), Zenzai (Appertizer), Matsuzaka Gyu To Eriingi Butteryaki, and Kinmedai To Yasai Takiawase.

Clockwise from bottom left: Kaki Furai, Kurumaebi Ninniku Yaki, Kinoko Miso Shiru and Momo To Matcha Ice Cream.

 The Dinner Menu

Zenzai (Appertizer)
Hotate Aburiyaki (Seared Fresh Scallop)
Unagi Dashimaki Tamago (Japanese Omelette Stuffed With Grilled Eel)
Shake Mizuna Maki (Salmon Rolled With Japanese Watercress)

Sashimi Moriawase (Assorted Raw Fish Platter)
Mekajiki Toro (Swordfish Belly)
Botan Ebi (Humpback Shrimp)
Kanpachi (Greater Amberjack)
Uni (Sea Urchin)

Sarada
Soft Kani Karaage To Shake Kawa Sarada (Mini Salad Topped With Crispy Soft Shell Crab & Salmon Skin Served With Signature Sesame Dressing)

Age Mono
Kaki Furai (Deep Fried Breaded Oyster Served With Tonkatsu Sauce)

Nimono
Kinmedai To Yasai Takiawase (Braised Splendid Alfonsino Fish & Assorted Vegetables With Soy Sauce)

Yakimono
Matsuzaka Gyu To Eriingi Butteryaki (Panfried A5 Matsuzaka Beef & Apricot Mushroom With Special Garlic Butter Sauce)
Kurumaebi Ninniku Yaki (Grilled Tiger Prawn With Garlic Mayonnaise)

Shirumono
Kinoko Miso Shiru (Bean Paste Soup With Assorted Mushroom)

Dezaato
Momo To Matcha Ice Cream (Japanese Peach & Green Tea Ice Cream)

This interview/article was published in Vouch free magazine in November 2013.
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