Hinoki Japanese Dining @ China Square Central

Japanese fine dining takes on a whole new meaning at Hinoki Japanese Dining- a neat little restaurant tucked away discreetly in a conservation pre-war shop house along Nankin Row in China Square. Serving up ‘Kappo Ryori’, a style of Omakase that is lifted to the highest degree, this creative aspect of Japanese cuisine can only be conquered by experts and masters- who in this case, is Chef Santaro Li, the culinary maestro who has been honing his skills for the past 40 years.

Here at Hinoki, freshness of produce, showmanship and presentation are all key elements that Li-san take very seriously and you can expect a gastronomical experience when your meal is left in the creative hands of Li-san’s exquisite and refined palate. With the best seasonal ingredients air-flown directly from Tokyo’s renowned Tsukiji Market twice a week, premium and quality are only what you get with each course.


Every experience of ‘Kappo Ryori’ seeks to be different as it is an extremely fluid and customizable process, subject to your taste preferences together with Li-san’s inspirations and intuition.

We started with a trio of Zensai $15 and Li-san will advice you to start from the right to the left- where the light sweetness of the Shiraou (silver fish sashimi) bathed in Shoyu sauce delights and refreshes your palate with the first bite. Move on next to the Oyster with Mentaiko rustically presented in its shell and marvel when you taste the richness of the torched roe. I especially enjoyed this because I did not taste the oyster at all! And finally, the Century Egg Tofu with Tobiko brings an exciting end to the first course with the creamy pitan sauce beautifully balanced by the simply chilled tofu.


Indulge in the Mixed Sashimi Platter $55 which featured an immaculate selection of the finest cuts of Hamachi, Salmon, Toro Belly and Botan Ebi. Alternatively, go the other extreme with the Zakana Foie Gras $25– possibly my favorite and most heart-clogging that evening which seems almost impossible in Japanese cuisine.

Essentially a roll of grilled Hamachi cheek sandwiching a generous slab of pan-fried fatty goose liver and all wrapped snugly by an overlaying piece of seaweed sitting on a Sakura leaf and topped with truffle (refer to first photo), the plating of the Zakana Foie Gras impressed with its attention to detail especially with that carved lemon in the shape of a heart on the side. But the taste was truly the highlight and a harmonious melody of richness which enthralled.


The unassuming Imo Manjyu $15 came next. But dont be too quick to dismiss this deep-fried crumbed ball because it actually is hiding an extremely scrumptious interior.


Made up of a medley of chunky yam pieces, unagi bits, cut shrimp and topped with shredded crab meat, this was surprisingly filling despite its petite size and thoroughly satisfied.


From September onwards, Hinoki will also be having a special Shabu Shabu $35 promotion which comes with US Wagyu Beef, a plate of assorted vegetables and two dipping sauces- Ponzu and Goma to compliment both the meats and the veggies. Our recommendation would be to allow the soup to keep boiling with all the ingredients in it (except the Wagyu beef of course!) and enjoy the concocted clear brew which has soaked up all the natural sweet vegetable essence.


Just take a look at that color and marbling of the Wagyu beef and you know it is certainly the good stuff!


Find out more about Executive Chef Santaro Li- the man who revolutionized Japanese cuisine in the 80’s and who has even cooked for the former MM Lee Kuan Yew in our interview with him HERE!


A dining experience here at Hinoki is one that is unrivaled and certainly memorable. The food is made to impress and delight with its artistry and interplay of flavors while the flawless showmanship of Li-san pushes against the conventional as he takes you on a interactive ride. We strongly insist you make a reservation for the highly sought-after 18 limited seats at the sushi-counter for the complete experience.


22 Cross Street,
China Square Central,
(South Bridge Court)
Singapore 048421
+65 6536 7746

Opening hrs:
Mondays to Saturdays
11:30 am to 2:30 pm and
6:00 pm to 10:30pm

Closed on Sundays


2 Responses to Hinoki Japanese Dining @ China Square Central

  1. […] Find out more about our memorable experience with Li-san’s food HERE! […]

  2. […] co-owner of Hinoki Japanese Dining- Chef Lawrence Chia has gone solo with his newest venture- Shinzo Japanese Cuisine at 17 Carpenter […]

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