Kiko is in The Diamond Cliff Resort Phuket lobby
Open time: Daily 11am-11.30pm
Resevation: Tel: 0 7638 0050 ext 3204www.diamondcliff.com
Authentic Japanese food, including favourite and well-known items, made with the freshest ingredients from Japan. Dishes are colourful, beautifully presented and served in traditional Japanese surroundings.
Traditional Thai music is carried on the sea breeze from Diamond Hut as we arrive at our destination. A nice welcome. In fact, while Diamond Hut serves Seafood BBQ, Kiko, our chosen venue, specialises in Japanese cuisine. They are just two of five ethnic restaurants at Diamond Cliff, a resort perched – as the name implies – on a rocky outcrop at the north end of Patong Beach. Spectacular views of the ocean? Of course.
Everything about Kiko is Japanese: elegantly minimal wooden chairs and tables, bamboo screens, kimonoed waitresses, jasmine scented towels, a welcoming cup of iced green tea, dishes presented with an artist’s eye for colour and impact as well as taste.
As Executive Chef Yi-Fan Chu explains, everything is created in an authentic Japanese way. Most ingredients are sourced from Japan’s seas, a policy which entitles Kiko to aspire to the title of ‘premier’ as well as ‘longest-established’ Japanese restaurant in Phuket. Tempted to try the sake and maintain the Japanese theme, instead I choose a glass of house wine, a fruity South African white.
The Japanese influence is borne out by the food. Chef Yi-Fan Chu has dreamed up six dishes for us to share. All are accompanied by dipping sauces. The sashimi is both a visual delight and a feast for the taste buds. Traditionally the first dish to be served, sashimi is the most highly regarded of Japanese dishes, consisting of the purist raw fish and seafood. Artistically presented with sculptured flowers on a bed of ice and shredded white carrot, our version, (gosyu mori) features thick slices of two kinds of tender tuna, salmon, shrimp and chewy, sliced octopus.
The next dish consists of four fishy rolls made of sushi. They have been lightly flamed to bring out the intense flavours. Melt-in-the-mouth delicious! Next, we sample a slice of grilled black cod with soy sauce (miso). The delicate white flesh peels away in tender flakes. Then comes a chef’s special – a baked aubergine served with a sweet sauce, followed by succulent chunks of sirloin steak, accompanied by stir fried vegetables.
The meal is concluded with noodle soup (tempura soba) – a bowl of steaming clear broth laced with soy sauce, lashings of noodles, a slice of fish cake and tempura shrimp.
All in all, an appropriate climax to a Japanese repast fit for an emperor.