14th of February 2017, the day turned out to be unexpectedly very nice. My husband, Deniz, and I exchanged presents and he was supposed to book a restaurant. I was hesitant because we had some nice food left at home and I did`t want to go to a restaurant just because it was the 14th of February. Also, the idea of sitting in a beautiful restaurant and eating average food didn’t really appeal to me. Deniz had had the same thoughts which he told me later, but he became nostalgic about the asian food that we had eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner in Seattle and Portland and decided to book a table in an asian restaurant. Choosing between a Korean barbecue place and Sesame, which positioned itself as an asian fast food restaurant, he ended up going with Sesame.
We started with non alcoholic Clamato cocktails.
We are still getting used to the service culture here btw. Like in the US, they ask you to choose a drink before the meal. It does not make sense for me because I prefer to choose my food first to know what to pair with it.
Anyway, the cocktail turned out to be exquisite – a perfect blend of clamato, cucumber, ginger and several sauces. The edges of the glass were also dipped in “furiikake de shiso”, salty sour flakes made of dried fish and vegetables. I licked it all off – it was that good!
Then we had semi-fried dumplings with soy and sesame sauce which were fresh and savory – a fantastic combination, pure umami ( the rich 5th complicated sense which is sour, bitter, salty and sweet at the same time). Our initial delight was added to by a fluffy pork belly bun which was seasoned with an ideal amount of coriander. The dish surprised us with its juiciness and original taste.
For the main course I had the chicken curry and Deniz chose the octopus. The curry was flavourful, but to my surprise, not spicy at all. The mango chutney helped to add some taste. The octopus, as its turned out, was cooked ideally – soft on the inside and crispy on the outside, with silky mashed potato and succulent shiitake mushrooms – pure bliss.
We finished with mango and green tea mochi – not to sweet, but full of flavour and refreshing. We washed it down with a cold thai tea with its earthy scent that we fell in love with while in Portland.
The atmosphere is young, vibrant, bar like and casual. The music is energetic and it reminded me of places in Moscow with upbeat DJ sets. Our table was near the corridor and the waiters were passing by all the time, but it didn’t overshadow our meal. I should mention though that the portions are not that big, but on the plus side, that gives you the chance to sample a greater variety of the dishes.
Overall – happy, satisfied, excited and definitely coming back again.