Nov 7 2012



Chrysan is such an interesting/ slightly weird place and I don’t think I truly understand it. Chrysan is owned by the same people that own Hakkasan and is a newly opened Japanese restaurant close to Bishopsgate. But it is so different to Hakassan. Whilst Hakassan is buzzing and has table turning, Chrysan was almost empty when we arrived and the bar had no people and only 1/10 of the restaurant was occupied, which meant I was not kicked out after 2 hours of eating and also had a lot of attention from the waitresses. Also whilst Hakassan serves very mainstream Chinese food, the kind of food when you look at the menu, you know, totally understand and feel comfortable to choose, Chrysan is totally different, and when I looked at the menu I had trouble recognizing any of the dishes and I had not seen almost any of these anywhere else. Chrysan is headed by  the Japanese chef Yoshihiro Murata, one of Japan's most celebrated chefs, and he is supposed to be the master of umami, which is a savory taste, one of the five basic tastes, together with sweet, sour, bitter and salty, which is fundamental to Japanese cooking. And Chef Murata “wants to establish a fresh and innovative approach to Japanese cuisine, whilst sourcing British and European produce”. Chrysan also serves the very traditional kaiseki set menu, a traditional multi course Japanese dinner which I had when I was in Japan 2 years ago, and even though I am open to any sort of food and will eat anything, I did not particularly like kaiseki and I am just not used to these type of traditional Japanese dishes. I understand sushi and the Japanese dishes in Zuma and Roka, but these are just strange and I think I need to educate myself more. So I think I just can’t yet understand this type of food, and I maybe I need to go back to fully appreciate it. I tried to order the things from the menu that seemed to me the most recognizable and as a starter I ordered for the 2 of us to share the “dried tomato and parmesan marinated sea bream salad with kumquat, garden vegetables and ponzu jelly” , and when this arrived there were all sorts of things on the plate that confused me, a grape, a raspberry, a carrot with the leaves attached to it and the sea bream. I did think the sea bream was ok, but I can’t see how any of the things on the plate went with it. We also had the “grilled “Kuwayaki” quail from Landes that was served with tamari soy and sake marinade, spicy sansho peppercorns and paper thin apples”, that the waitress recommended and said it was one of their signature dishes. The quail was nice, I did not try the apples, as I always think it is a bit strange to mix fruit into meat courses and I don’t like it. But note the description of the dish on the menu was definitely more impressive than the actual dish we got. The other starter that we also had wad the “chrysantheum leaf and flower salad served with leaf yuzu and orange oil” and believe me despite this interesting salad, I thought this was the most edible and normal salad (at least for me) on the menu. The leaves were nice, but it did seem like quite a plain salad, and once again the name was just much more impressive than what you got on the plate. I liked it and ate it thought. After the starters we decided to have a sushi platter as a middle course and you could order a “colourful sushu plate” of 8 pieces, and this was my favorite dish of the whole meal. The sushi plate was topped with a vegetable attached to its leaves just like the sea bream dish (seems to be the norm here), but each piece of sushi was amazingly decorated and also very interesting, for example you had a piece of sushi that was wrapped in a beetroot, instead of the traditional Japanese seaweed, and the forms of each sushi were interesting and each piece had about 6 different things in there, and whilst you could think it was weird, it was actually amazingly delicious and I really enjoyed it. The dish was also served with a brush with which you could apply your own soy sauce, and this is was cool and this is exactly how the Japanese chefs apply soy sauce to sushi. For the main course the waitress recommended we have the “Chrysan style Suki yaki clouds and crystal”, which consisted of 35 day dry-aged Angus beef rib eye, seasonal mushrooms, Mongolian soy sauce and yuzu egg yolk dipping. This dish was quite interesting as the waitress brought out this big bowl of beef on a candle heated heater and it had something that looked like candy floss on top of it, and the waitress mixed the candy floss into the beef with the help of the heat. In the end this dish seemed a bit to me like a version of the Korean traditional dish Bibimap just without the rice. I did enjoy this and thought the beef was nice (my dinner buddy Mark also liked the beef), but I could not really taste the candy floss in there. The other dish we had was the “chicken stew, “volcano” with a leg of free range chicken and mochi rice with chestnuts, edamame and piping hot tomato dashi stock”, and once again despite the amazing name, I just saw a chicken with a bit of sauce on the plate, and it was not that amazing (Mark agreed, he did not really like the chicken). It was also not a very impressive dish to look at. To go with our main courses we also ordered some steamed rice as well as some yoghurt marinated “Tsukemono” vegetables, and I did like the vegetables, which were slightly pickled, and thought the yoghurt sauce was delicious. For the desert we shared the “soy caramel apple tatin served with cinnamon ice cream and “Yatsuhashi” biscuit”. And for those of you that don’t know (like me, before I googled it), Yatsuhashi is a Japanese confectionery sold mainly as a souvenir sweet. But note there was very little of this biscuit on the plate. I did like the apple tatin, not sure if this is traditional Japanese, but I thought they had made it extremely well and delicious. If you are very experimental and like new cool things Chrysan is definitely the place for you, but if you like Hakassan don’t expect Chrysan to be similar.


Location: Bishopsgate

Date: 07/11/12

Price for 2 with alcohol and service charge: £235.83


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1 Snowden Street EC2A 2DQ
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Chrysan Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 3