Review: YAMA's Dessert Course

"YAMA" is a dessert-inspired restaurant located in Ebisu, owned by Chef Katsumata who worked across multiple Michelin star restaurants, including Hostellerie Jerome and Sola in France.

They are renowned for their special dessert course, which features sweets made with seasonal fruits from start to finish, with a carefully curated herbal tea pairing. For the months of January and February 2021, the theme was “strawberries with a touch of apple”. The main ingredients were strawberries ("Tochiotome", "Amaou" and "Shirousagi") and apples (“Hatsukoi Green").

The course started with their signature handmade "guimauve" - its fluffy texture inspired the chef to name the dish "a cloud from this morning’s harvest". The French variation of a premium marshmallow melted the moment we placed it in our mouths, filling it with gracious scents of roses.

The meticulous and intricate detail of each dish is impressive - for example, an ensemble of spherical strawberry cutouts was carefully laid on top of a light blancmange, decorated with marigold and topped with a thin layer of noble rot wine and basil jelly.

Another particularly impressive dish was inspired by "Ichigogari", also known as strawberry picking - a popular outdoor activity in Japan, typically enjoyed during the early months of the year. With the current State of Emergency in Japan, we are encouraged to avoid travelling outside of our prefecture as much as possible, and as a result the Chef at “YAMA” decided to prepare his own variation of the annual harvest!

At first glance, it looked like a small mountain of strawberries, but look closely and 3 of the larger pieces are stuffed with homemade ice cream, which was stuffed just before serving. This was to prevent the strawberry shell from freezing, which would not only obstruct with the texture but also break down the cell structure and lose its natural umami flavours.

The accumulation of this kind of attention to detail was what made each of these dishes so memorable - I will most definitely be coming back for their peach feast in the summer, and the chestnut line-up in the autumn!

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