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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 15, 2014

JPN: Yumoto Shirogane Onsen Hotel (湯元白金温泉ホテル) [Dinner]

The best fatty pork stew I've ever had in my life!

It was snowing heavily that day, but we managed to get to Yumoto Shirogane Onsen Hotel in one piece. Spending a night at a hotel with its own natural hot spring was a truly wonderful experience, away from the hustle and bustle of city life. However, instead of soaking ourselves first, we actually went to have our dinner after looking around the hotel.

The room rate that we got for 29 November 2013 was ¥7,500 (~S$91.25) per person, inclusive of dinner and buffet breakfast. It was cheap, wasn't it? Anyway, without further ado, let's dissect the set meal! Since the names of the dishes are in Japanese, I'll just provide the simple English equivalents.

Triple Appetiser
Taste: 8.5/10

Before reading the menu, I thought it was a dessert dish. I especially enjoyed the smoked fish infused with tea, which was complemented in flavours by a strip of melt-in-the-mouth, slightly salted butter. The braised squid wasn't as flavourful as I thought, but it was delightfully crunchy. The two jelly cubes at the other end of the plate tasted like shark fin soup which underwent gelatification.

Assorted Items
Chawanmushi - Taste: 8/10
Pickled fishTaste: 8.5/10
Pickled squid - Taste: 8.5/10
Pickled vegetables - Taste: 7.5/10

Served piping hot, the chawanmushi (Japanese egg custard) was velvety, but it could be more flavourful. The pickled fish was refreshingly sweet and sour, while the pickled squid was savoury enough for me to keep scooping it up. On the other hand, the pickled vegetables were pretty much average in terms of taste, but they were crunchy.

Clear Soup
Taste: 7.5/10

Instead of the ubiquitous miso (Japanese fermented rice, barley and/or soybean) soup, clear soup was provided. As it was only slightly seasoned, the main attraction was the soft and somewhat airy fish cake at the bottom of the bowl.

Assorted Tempura
Taste: 9/10

Fish, yam and mushrooms were thinly battered and deep-fried to perfection. The crispy coatings gave way to juicy ingredients inside, made tastier with the addition of a bit of pink salt which is known to be rich in minerals.

Grilled Cod
Taste: 9/10

The fish boasted its superbly tender and slightly oily flesh, being slightly crispy on the edges due to the light grilling process. Not only that, the clean sweetness of the fish was something I'd rave about time and again.

Fatty Pork Stew
Taste: 9.5/10

I hate to admit this, but this particularly fattening dish did send me to heaven. Words would never be enough to capture the goodness of it. Despite its average, or perhaps somewhat unappetising appearance, the pork meat had unparalleled tenderness, in addition to fat layers which truly tantalised my taste buds.

Ginseng Pot
Taste: 8.5/10

The soup brimming with an assortment of vegetables tasted more Korean than Japanese to me, especially due to the aroma of ginseng emanating from the pot. How I wished the carrots were sweeter.

Fruits & Red Tea
Taste: 8/10

While the blood orange could be juicier, I really liked the grapes which had a good sweet and sour balance. The meal ended with red tea which wasn't that strong, but ought to be enough to cleanse the digestive system a little. 

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

Apart from the awesome dinner, I really had a good time soaking myself in the hot spring, bathed in moonlight and falling snowflakes. It was surreal. Pika's advice: I'm pretty sure the dishes are rotated daily. Stay there for more than a night to discover the varieties of the dishes offered!

Yumoto Shirogane Onsen Hotel

Biei, Hokkaido
(Dinner time is to be decided at check-in)

*No separate price given as buffet breakfast is included in the room price.

Have a nice meal,

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