KISSO

KISSO

By : KEN BARRETT

24 January 2019

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summary : Long-established restaurant in the Westin Grande, offering a full-spectrum Japanese dining experience.

About: Kisso, which is a Japanese term meaning “good news”, has been around for as long as the Westin Grande, which is at least twenty years. During that time it has gone through a couple of style changes, and the recent renovations that were undertaken as the restaurant entered its third decade represent its third incarnation. Kisso presents a broad spectrum of Japanese dining in a setting that appeals both to local Thai tastes and to international travellers.

Decor: Whereas Japanese restaurants are traditionally on an intimate scale, Kisso has a large area that including the main dining room, sushi bar and four private rooms can seat 110 diners. The design renders this large space snug and friendly by placing some of the tables behind screens upon a slightly elevated platform, and lowering the lighting to a warm copper glow. Wabi-sabi, the design concept that recognises beauty in imperfection and transience, has been employed in weathered leather and worn wood, while sake barrels lining the walls and hanging above the sushi bar evoke convivial times.

Menu: A browse through the menu reveals it to be pretty comprehensive, for along with a very extensive list of sashimi and sushi there are cold and hot appetisers, an impressive collection of salads, steamed and simmered dishes, hot pots, charcoal grills, fried items, noodles, rice in flavoured broth with a choice of toppings, and onigiri, the exquisite little rice balls. Our sake, a clear, smooth MasumiJunmai Daiginjo Karakuchi, was served in a glass carafe, at 580 baht for 160ml. The sashimi course, with seven kinds (1,900 baht) set the pattern for the remainder of the meal, because the slices were huge: a wonderful raw-fish binge. Our crabmeat and avocado salad (590 baht) was a substantial-sized patty topped with a crab claw and dressed with a tangy sauce of onion and tomato. Despite the sashimi it was hard to resist sampling the extensive listing of sushi rolls (thin and thick available), and our salmon roll (320 baht) was packed with salmon sashimi and avocado, and topped with a generous bobbling of salmon roe. Our grilled eel was served with generous slabs of foie gras, with a dressing of teriyaki sauce (920 baht). A dessert of umeshu plum wine jelly (200 baht) was a pleasantly light end to the meal.

Evaluation: The size of the portions easily justifies the prices, which in Japanese restaurant terms are not that high anyway. The restaurant clearly caters for Western tastes, both in food and decor, and Thai too, for Kisso has in its previous versions always understood the local market. Along with the a la carte, the restaurant serves a kaiseki menu and regular seasonal menus. There is a lunch menu, and bento and sushi lunch sets. An unlimited a la carte Sunday lunch is priced at 1,850 baht and includes a glass of sparkling wine. Two of the private rooms have Western seating, while the other two are tatami style; all the rooms have a capacity for up to 10 guests, and two of the rooms can be combined to sit 24 guests.