One of the most incredible aspects of Japanese cuisine is its astute treatment of individual components, creating dishes that are always greater than the sum of their parts. I was reminded of it again at Kuuraku, a chain of Japanese grill restaurants with outposts in Japan, India, Canada and Indonesia. They specialise in Yakitori which quite literally means 'Grilled Chicken'; and when I say specialise, I mean it with a degree of surgical seriousness. At Kuuraku, the bird is broken down one nugget at a time. Each nugget, however, is separated anatomically. So you have a chicken gizzard, heart, skin, liver, tail, thighs etc skewered and grilled only with their own kind. This degree of segregation makes immediate sense as you bite into a plump, almost vegetal, gizzard followed by a meltingly chicken-ey thigh nugget. Each skewer is grilled and seasoned (sparingly, with Taro sauce) to get the best texture and flavour out of that part of the chicken.They are so obsessed about perfectly grilling chickens, that all of it is only done by a certified Chef! A shadow of the same dainty obsession turned up in my Onigiri (grilled Japanese sticky rice lump) and flavourful (but texturally coarse) Grape Sorbet. I can not say I enjoyed Almond jelly with what seemed like Frooti though.
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