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Hello! Why Cliff(y), you ask? Well, a lot of people I've met since primary school till now have always called me Cliffy! Unless specifically mentioned, I personally paid for whatever chargeable stuff featured in my blogs. Anyway, for every 50 posts I come up with, and every 25,000 pageviews, I'm donating a sum of money to the World Food Programme. Your support is greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

JPN: Hyousetsu no Mon (氷雪の門)

Elaborate crab course meals in Sapporo, Hokkaido!

Translated as 'the Gate of Ice and Snow', Hyousetsu no Mon is one of the well-known restaurants serving crab course meals. My BFFs and I ordered a total of three course meals which didn't do too much damage on our pockets:

- Gate of Ice (氷の門): 10 items, ¥3,850 (~S$46.75)
- Delicious Crab Lunch (デリシャス蟹ランチ): 9 items,¥4,800 (~S$58.30)
Delicious Crab Shabu-Shabu Lunch (デリシャス蟹しゃぶランチ): 7 items,
   ¥4,500 (~S$54.65)

There were some dishes which overlapped, but anyway, let's start with the Gate of Ice (氷の門) course meal!

Gate of Ice #1 (Set Menu)
Taste: 9/10

The first item that came to the table was the taraba gani (lit. king crab) and seasonal fish sashimi (Japanese raw sliced seafood). I'm not exactly aware of the fish used, but it was fresh. Equally fresh was the crab which had a wonderfully sweet flesh.

Gate of Ice #2 (Set Menu)
Taste: 8/10

Marinated jellyfish came along with the first item. They were enjoyably chewy and somewhat sweet.

Gate of Ice #3 (Set Menu)
Taste: 8.5/10

A small pot of shabu-shabu (Japanese dish featuring items boiled in water). Instead of beef slices, there were taraba gani and zuwai kani (lit. snow crab), along with beancurd cuvbes and enoki mushrooms. It was a heart-warming dish with a pretty light broth.

Gate of Ice #4 (Set Menu)
Taste: 9/10

Steak of taraba gani was served with green pepper and caramelised onion. The sweet crab was well-balanced by the generous amount of aromatic butter used to pan-fry it.

Gate of Ice #5 (Set Menu)
Taste: 8.5/10

Mebaru (lit. black $rockfish) was placed on top of a truly sweet radish, served in a light broth with broccoli and shredded radishes. The fish was soft on the tongue.

Gate of Ice #6 (Set Menu)
Taste: 8.5/10

Wakasagi (lit. pond smelt) was paired with sour and refreshing pickled items, such as red pepper. The fish tasted a bit like shishamo, which is also a species of smelt.

Gate of Ice #7 (Set Menu)
Taste: 9/10

The crab cream croquette is said to be one of their specialties. True enough, the highly crispy coating revealed the addictive savoury filling inside upon one bite. In my opinion, the tomato sauce could be slightly sweeter.

Gate of Ice #8 (Set Menu)
Taste: 8.5/10

It has just come to my realisation that, after reading the menu in detail, I've actually eaten fugu (lit. blowfish)! The rice gruel seasoned with soy sauce came with a type of fugu called shirosabafugu (白鯖河豚), eggs and chopped spring onions. The fish was tender, while the broth was quite rich in the tang of the sea.

Gate of Ice #9 (Set Menu)
Taste: 8/10

Three pickled items were served together with the rice. I have to mention that the cucumbers were superbly crunchy, while the other two items were average.

Gate of Ice #10 (Set Menu)
Taste: 9/10

To end the meal, yuzu (a species of aromatic Asiatic citron) sorbet was served. It was really cold and had a good blend of sweet and sour to wash down the sumptuous meal earlier.

Let's move on to the Delicious Crab Lunch (デリシャス蟹ランチ) course meal.

Delicious Crab Lunch #1 (Set Menu)
Taste: 9/10

Just like Gate of Ice #1taraba gani was also featured in this sashimi dish. However, the seasonal fish was replaced by the claw of zuwai kani, which was dreamily sweet and gelatinous.

Delicious Crab Lunch #2 (Set Menu)
Taste: 9/10

Charcoal-grilled taraba gani was next on the list. It had a heady smoky aroma, and the juicy meat was made even more luscious by squirting lemon juice on it.

Delicious Crab Lunch #3 (Set Menu)
Taste: 8/10

A Chinese inspired dish, the two dumplings of zuwai kani were good, but not as delicious as I thought they'd be. Somehow the degree of sweetness of the crab meat wasn't comparable to those of the other dishes.

Delicious Crab Lunch #4 (Set Menu)
Taste: 9/10

The dish was similar to Gate of Ice #4, although plated differently.

Delicious Crab Lunch #5 (Set Menu)
Taste: 9/10

It was definitely one of the best salad dishes I've ever eaten in my life. Not only were the vegetables fresh, but the presence of taraba gani mixed with creamy mayonnaise also added colours to the crisp green (and well, red) produce.

Delicious Crab Lunch #6 (Set Menu)
Taste: 9/10

The dish was similar to Gate of Ice #7, although, again, plated differently.

Delicious Crab Lunch #7 (Set Menu)
Taste: 9/10

As a source of carbohydrate, three pieces of zuwai kani sushi were delivered with a little bit of not-overly-stinging wasabi (Japanese horseradish) on top of each. Torch-burned before served, the smoky aroma complemented the luscious crab meat.

Delicious Crab Lunch #8 (Set Menu)
Taste: 8/10

A quintessentially Japanese broth to sip, the miso (Japanese fermented rice, barley and/or soybean) soup came with hairy crab. While the soup was heart-warming, it wasn't as good as the one I had in Daiwa Zushi in Tokyo. Besides that, the crab didn't have a lot of meat.

Delicious Crab Lunch #9 (Set Menu)
Taste: 9/10

The dessert was exactly the same as Gate of Ice #10.

Finally, we're going to the last one, which is Delicious Crab Shabu-Shabu Lunch (デリシャス蟹しゃぶランチ) course meal. At this point, I've taken about one hour to write this review.

Delicious Crab Shabu-Shabu Lunch #1 (Set Menu)
Taste: 9/10

The dish was exactly the same as Delicious Crab Lunch #2.

Delicious Crab Shabu-Shabu Lunch #2 (Set Menu)
Taste: 9/10

The D.I.Y. shabu-shabu dish was more interesting than the one in Gate of Ice (氷の門) course meal. I truly enjoyed the zuwai kani legs in the broth which was somewhat richer and a little bit sour.

Delicious Crab Shabu-Shabu Lunch #3 (Set Menu)
Taste: 9/10

The dish was exactly the same in terms of taste and plating to Delicious Crab Lunch #6, but I uploaded the picture of the one that had been cut open. Extremely mouth-watering, right?

Delicious Crab Shabu-Shabu Lunch #4 (Set Menu)
Taste: 9/10

The dish was exactly the same as Delicious Crab Lunch #5.

Delicious Crab Shabu-Shabu Lunch #5 (Set Menu)
Taste: 7.5/10

The rice gruel in this particular set was less inspiring than Gate of Ice #8 despite the more appetising colour. Without the presence of any seafood, it was less flavourful, but still good nonetheless.

Delicious Crab Shabu-Shabu Lunch #6 (Set Menu)
Taste: 8/10

The dish was exactly the same as Gate of Ice #9.

Delicious Crab Shabu-Shabu Lunch #7 (Set Menu)
Taste: 9/10

The dessert was exactly the same as Gate of Ice #10 and Delicious Crab Lunch #9.

Green Tea

Unlike in Singapore where a lot restaurants charge you for tea (or even tap water), the green tea came for free. Who doesn't like to have a warm cup of green tea, especially in winter?

Melon's Rating
Taste: 8.5/10
Ambience: 9/10
Service: 9/10
Overall: 9/10

Dining in a quiet Japanese style room with a relaxed atmosphere was truly memorable. Service was impeccable and pretty fast. Even though initially they forgot to serve us the dessert, after telling one of the servers, "あのう、すみませんが、デザートはまだ頂いていませんが。。。" (lit. "Uhm, sorry, but we haven't had our dessert yet..."), she was truly sorry about it and immediately brought us the yuzu sorbet. Overall, it was a truly satisfying meal I've had in ages, and I'd definitely love to come back. Pika's advice: If you're willing to splurge, try the most extravagant (and expensive) Hokkaido Satisfaction Course (北海道堪能コース) priced at ¥16,500 (~S$200.10) which comes with wine and melon!

As usual, I love to include a bonus picture. Here's one with Pikachu and the Sapporo TV Tower on the background, added with a special effect!

Hyousetsu no Mon

2 Minami 5 Jo-nishi
Chuo, Sapporo
(Daily: 11.00am - 11.00pm)

*Prices quoted are nett prices.

Have a nice meal,


Life is beautiful said...

thank you for sharing!

Cliff Anderson said...

No problem at all! Thanks for dropping by! How I've missed that restaurant and Hokkaido in general!