545 Orchard Road
Far East Shopping Centre, #01-11
Hastening my walking pace, I was eager to get to my dinner destination to avoid the impending thunderstorm and furthermore I already ten minutes late. My dinner party was already seated at the sushi counter, so as I sat down, they hungry and eager to get dinner started, passed me the menu and their dinner decision, ‘we think we’ll just do an omakase dinner’. Sure, why not that sounds like a good idea, so we closed our menus, looked up at the chef and uttered, ‘omakase’.
As we nibbled on the appetisers of ikura shioyu zake, kodia mozuku and tatami iwashi shishito, the three of us were rather convinced that we had uncovered another Japanese dining gem that is tucked away in a dingy building. The cliental for the night were mainly regulars, where they walked in, asked for the chef’s recommendations for the day and dictated their menu from that rather than the menu. So it seemed like our choice for an off-the-menu chef’s menu seemed like the right way to go.
This ex-Kuriya team, seemed eager to impress and serve with a sense of earnestly. In the raw, they presented us with a huge sashimi platter and stock-full of sea creature goodies that consisted of: fresh uni, toro, hotate, angawa kanpachi belly, salmon belly, sayori, kodia, sowa gain kareage and ark shell, served with freshly grated wasabi, all of which made me happy and I could have finished off with a steaming bowl of hot soup, but they were not done with serving us yet, a good thing too because I would have missed out of the other cooked courses.
In the raw, the freshness was unquestionable. Cooking-wise, the kitchen crew showcased a fair bit to us. The first of which was our sumiyaki course of ginko nuts, Japanese tomatoes and a nasu dengaku and the remaining half of the kodai, from our sashimi course, that simply grilled with sea salt. Along with that we were served the deep fried head and tail of the sayori and ebi that were served with a miso paste that would make fabulous bar food that I could crunch all night long with an ice cold one. Following that was a simmered dish of anago that tightly wrapped burdock root that I think had too much burdock that made it too aggressive against the gentler anago. Next we moved on to what I would term the ‘garlicky’ section of our dinner – scallop wings and roe and mushrooms teppanyaki with a garlic sauce and salt-baked whole garlic served with miso sauce.
At this point, the three of us won over by this place, there was no question about quality and its taste were simple and authentic natural flavours.
Next up was sushi. Maybe it is presumptuous on my part, but I was expecting them to place the sushi plate in front of me along with a personal mini mount of pickled ginger and pickles (which were very yummy), instead we were served a plate consisting of five different types of aburi sushi – o-toro, hirame, kimedai, amaebi with mentaiko and anago.
What got us all tickled during the night was the knife-work that went into preparing a simple dessert of a single Japanese imported strawberry and a slice of muskmelon. I might have much liked to have popped more of those strawberries in my mouth compared to the time he took to cut and garnish, but nonetheless, I think it is one of the cutest desserts I’ve seen this year.
As we got to the end of the meal, full and happy-bellied, we wondered at the impending financial damage. Nonetheless, we were convinced that we had found a gem and that a return visit was going to be booked in our calendars. So whilst waiting for the bill, we chatted a little with the chef, thanked and assured him that we had thoroughly enjoyed meal. At least we did until the point when the bill, which was the final blow for the night … I was not expecting to drop something slightly shy of $300 for a no-occasion-mid-week dinner - let’s just say my wallet now needs a band-aid. Oh, and the return visit has taken a rain check until my wallet and I have recovered.