Tag Archives: Japanese

Mikuni @ Fairmont Singapore Introduces New Offerings to their Lunch Bento and Business Set Menus

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Sushi Kou @ 1 Tras Link | Affordable Omakase Sets & Quality Japanese Cuisine

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.

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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.

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We had the $80 Omakase Set Dinner with 7 courses which spanned for 2 hours.

Appetiser
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.

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Sashimi
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.

Shinzo Japanese Cuisine by Chef Lawrence Chia

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.

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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.

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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.

Ezoca Japanese Cuisine @ Quayside Isle | NOW CLOSED

Set amidst the slew of swanky Spanish, European, Belgium and Mediterranean eateries along the beautiful Quayside Isle of Sentosa is a Japanese fine-dining Kaiseki restaurant helmed by Executive Chef Shinji Morihara- who boasts of more than 20 years of experience in Japanese cuisine, welded from acclaimed establishments such as Marriott Hotel Nagoya Japan, Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong and Fairmont Hotel Singapore.

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Fitted with oriental touches of Japanese architecture with shōji doors, an extensive use of wood grain and imported Japanese red cedar for the furniture and a decidedly minimalist appeal, restaurant owner Katsutaka Kobayashi had gone though great lengths in reconstructing the 40-seater authentically Sukiya-style right down to the last detail for the discerning diner to enjoy a sensorial experience.

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Bathed in soft ambient light, the intimate space glows with a cosy but classy appeal.

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While the primary focus here is on Kaiseki cuisine, there are Omakase Sets from $175 and Set Lunches from $23. The recently introduced Ala-Carte menu also offers a few pocket-friendly alternatives.

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.

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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.

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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.