Tag Archives: Japanese
Hina Matsuri also known as Doll’s Festival, is celebrated each year on 3rd March in Japan. This occasion is a time for families or in particular, parents with young daughters to make offerings of food to miniature dolls as they pray for the happiness and health of their little girls.
Back by popular demand and for the third year running, Fairmont’s resident Japanese restaurant- Mikuni has launched a bento set lunch menu specially created to mark this festive occasion.
Available for a limited time only, from 1 – 10 March 15, these 8-course bento sets are exquisitely designed to charm the ladies. From the feminine pink colour accents to the floral touches, Executive Chef Moon Kyung Soo has taken deliberate care in the plating of every dish, right down to the garnishing so as to impress his guests.
Presented in a tiered style with all 8 dishes fitting perfectly onto a neat wooden tray, Chef Moon’s attention to detail was truly evident as each layer unravelled one tantalising item after the other. If you are all about first impressions, I am sure you will be won over from the moment the Hina Matsuri lunch bento is placed in front of you.
Keyaki, located at level 4 of Pan Pacific Singapore is probably one of the more scenic Japanese restaurants that I have ever dined at in Singapore. Spanning across an elegantly sculpted garden and fronted by a koi pond, this restaurant is classy yet traditional and forms the ideal backdrop to enjoy an authentic Okonomi styled kaiseki weekend brunch. Featuring a menu of perennial Japanese favourites curated by Chef Hiroshi Ishii, guests can look forward to customising their very own 8-course meal for $75++ ($125 inclusive of unlimited sake, Champagne, selected red and white wines and beer) as they experience the wide range of dishes Keyaki has to offer.
Starting with the Kobachi, better known as the amuse bouche course, choices include the Seared Beef with Ponzu Sauce, Sweet Miso-Glazed Konnyaku, Avocado Salad or Spinach in Goma Sauce. We picked the Unagi Omelette and thoroughly enjoyed the sweetness and fluffiness of the Tamagoyaki which was complimented by the grilled richness of the eel.
A three-in-one concept which combines the best of Japanese cooking styles: Teppanyaki, Sushi and Robatayaki, Mikuni located at level 3 of Fairmont Singapore is the first of its kind to offer guests three different kinds of dining experiences under one roof. Using only the most premium of Japanese seasonal produce, these live stations enthrall and impress diners with their exquisite creations executed with finesse.
At the helm of this 150-seater Japanese restaurant, is Korean-born Executive Chef Moon Kyung Soo who is constantly experimenting and innovating in the kitchen, marrying the best of traditional culinary techniques with the modern ones of today. The result is an ever-changing exciting menu featuring beautiful and elegant kaiseki dishes with new items constantly added to their popular Bento and Business Set Lunch Menus.
We first met Chef Moon a few months back at SAVOUR 2014 and after sampling some of his dishes at the food festival, we were definitely excited to visit Mikuni for an opportunity to try the rest of his food.
Find out more about Chef Moon Kyung Soo and his style of cooking in our interview with him.
There are 4 main bento sets available here at Mikuni during lunch time.
The first is the Premium Bento “Miyabi”– and as its name describes it, the most premium and priciest of the lot at $120++. Presented in an exquisite tiered clay bento set which ‘unlayers’ to reveal 8 dishes. Definitely fancy and aesthetically pleasing. New to this set is the addition of the Kyoto Onion Soup which is served chilled and has way too many complicated techniques involved in the preparation process. The result however is a refreshing thick custard-like consistency that is ultra smooth and naturally sweet from all the blended onions. The BBQ Eel on Rice– a Mikuni signature and favourite has also been added to the set. I think I will return just for another bowl of this Unadon.
Next up is the Business Bento Set $68++, which is a more affordable variation of the former and with 8 courses no less. I was won over by the Soy Braised Hokkaido Kinki right from the start because I especially adore whole fishes which are prepared this way. The marinate was a combination of sweet green chilli, burdock, shiitake mushrooms and ginger, accentuating the sweetness and freshness of the fish. But while this was my favourite, deboning it was no easy task and those who do not like such inconveniences will definitely prefer the fillet. The Grilled Miso Eggplant was another standout with its white miso seasoning and delicate sweet notes that was finished with a crunch of pine nuts.
The ground level of Orchid Hotel in Tanjong Pagar is fast transforming into a little enclave of Japanese eateries. From the perpetually crowded hole-in-the-wall Teppei restaurant (which has a 6 month long waiting list) to the well-loved Keisuke Tonkotsu King ramen shop next door and Gyoza King another few doors down, the space is almost like your one-stop shop offering almost all the elements of Japanese cuisine in one building.
And joining the ‘brotherhood’ of Japanese eateries since July last year- also at level 1 of the hotel, is a humble and modest cosy 50-seater Sushi Kou offering Omakase sets ranging from $50-$100, Set Lunches from $16 and an a la carte menu which includes but not limited to sashimi, sushi, tempura, noodle and rice staples.
Run by a Tokyo-native Chef with more than 15 years of culinary experience, Sushi Kou- which also means Happy Sushi, strives to offer quality Japanese cuisine with an affordable price tag.
Slightly more spacious than its neighbours however, seating comes with 2 options- either the intimate booth seats for more huddled get-togethers or counter seats where you can catch some live action as the chefs prepare and plate their dishes upon order. Twice a week, the freshest seasonal produce is flown in from Tokyo, Kyoto and Hokkaido, and the Omakase menus are planned around those ingredients so every Omakase experience here at Sushi Kou is always different.
Complimentary bottles of pickled cucumbers, seaweed and fresh grate-yourself wasabi roots are also available to complete your authentic Japanese dining experience.
We had the $80 Omakase Set Dinner with 7 courses which spanned for 2 hours.
Inari Mayo and Hotate Daikon Nitsuke
Starting us off were two cold appetizers served on a platter- some delightful chopped shellfish with beancurd skin that was creamy with a touch of crunchy, contributed by the pops of tobiko, and sweet flavourful scallops braised with radish.
Otoro, Mutsu, Kurodai, Hirame, Hotate, Hamachi
There is a ‘minimum of 2 to dine’ requirement for the Omakase sets so sashimi is usually served Moriawase style, with the intention of sharing. My dining companions were only too excited to dig into those gloriously thick luxuriant slices of Tuna Belly, Scallops, Flounder and the likes. Judging from their happy contented faces and declarations of ‘I will come back again just for the sashimi‘, it is safe to conclude that the sashimi fulfilled its brief.
Former co-owner of Hinoki Japanese Dining– Chef Lawrence Chia has gone solo with his newest venture- Shinzo Japanese Cuisine at 17 Carpenter Street. While the entrance to the restaurant is unassuming and somewhat dodgy-looking, the mood and feeling changes the moment you open the doors. From the cheery voices of the chefs behind the counters that greet you, to the attentive waitresses that are prompt to serve you, it is hard not to feel welcome or even come in unnoticed especially when the space is so intimate and cosy. Barely seating 20 around the counter, dining at Shinzo is an interactive and welcoming experience where Chef Lawrence plays host, chef and entertainer to his guests.
We came on a weekday evening for dinner and while the seats were initially empty, they were quickly filled up as the night went on. Judging from the friendly banter exchanged between Chef Lawrence and his customers, and the numerous toasts of sake and red wine throughout the evening, it was obvious that these diners were not here for the first time. Chef Lawrence explains that the atmosphere here at Shinzo is convival and set such that everyone feels at home, enjoys good food and leaves feeling happy, which is why customers return time and time again- some loyal ones who had even followed him from Hinoki. The word ‘Shinzo’ does after all, mean ‘heart’ in the Japanese language.
Shinzo offers lunch sets for executives from $38++ onwards, while those who have a bit more time to spare during dinner, can choose from his omakase courses which start at $138++.
Our $168++ omakase dinner was made up of 8 courses- appetizer, starter, sashimi, seasonal item, steamed, sushi, soup and dessert. The idea is to let Chef Lawrence know your budget and taste preferences so that he can tailor a menu just for you.
We started with a Tomato from the Ehime region of Japan, reputed for its freshness and sweetness.