“San-Sui,” meaning Mountain-Ocean, is such a poetic name for this restaurant and bar with a splendid view. You get a full view of Marine Bay Sands, which has a laser show at 8pm daily. When I went into the restaurant to go to the toilet (I love it the restaurant has a toilet lor, and not some common public toilet), the inside was amazingly posh and sexy. Dim lighting with sofas for large groups. Very classy, can bring your mistress here.
We ordered some pre-prandial drinks and snacks first to chillax. 14K the alcoholic will be so happy here lor, so many varieties of Japanese alcohol, sake, umeshu, shochu and beer, etc. I ordered one of their seven Japanese-inspired cocktails, R&R ($18), a concoction of run, raisin-infused shochu, cream, honey and vanilla. The secret to a good cocktail is in the balance. We waited some time for the cocktails but the wait was worth it! Perfection takes time and the cocktail was perfect! I like sweet things and this cocktail is obviously sweet from the ingredients–but the sweetness of this rum-and-raisin-ice-cream-tasting cocktail didn’t overpower the taste of bitter alcohol. So when you drink, there is a layered taste: first the sweetness, then the aftertaste of the alcohol. Very addictive and very easy to get drunk. Burp!
We ordered some bar snacks to go with the alcohol: Nagaimo Karaage ($9, deep fried Japanese yam); Tatami Iwashi ($15, dried baby sardines) and Ebi To Karasumi Ae ($16, Sashimi prawn with mullet roe and black truffle oil). We didn’t like the dried baby sardines because it tasted like smelly ikan bilis. But the Japanese yam went super well with beer. When I eat stale prawns, my throat itches. So I know for sure that the huge sashimi prawns were very fresh and firm and succulent and the truffle oil dressing added a different dimension to the prawns, very robust and solid feeling.
San-sui is famous for their “sumiyaki,” which means Japanese charcoal. The pricing is per stick. The food is healthy and light on its flavoring as the restaurant prefers the food to grill in its original taste. So you can add the condiments yourself from a choice of Japanese sansho pepper, salt and curry powder.
While we thought that the ingredients were definitely of a higher quality and fresher than Tori Q, it is perhaps cheaper to get the tsukune ($4.50, chicken ball) from Tori Q. What to do? We working class, no money. Both of us couldn’t appreciate the Kawa (chicken skin $3) too, maybe because it’s an acquired taste. However, the other yakitori items were fab. The rice ball in the buta niku maki onigiri ($9, grilled kurobuta pork rice ball) completely absorbed the sauce from the pork, making the rice very fragrant. Crunchy golden mushroom contrasted with the saltiness of the pork in buta enoki maki ($6) is a crowd-pleaser. Chiobu liked sour plum sauce on grilled pork belly (Buta Ume Shiso, $6), quite appetizing.
The mains were tops lor! The grade 9 marbling steak from the teppan wagyu suteeki ($30) just melted in my mouth! And Chiobu can’t get enough of the buttered mushrooms, very mouthwatering. But the star of the show was the cold vegetarian ramen, Hiyashi Ramen ($20), extremely refreshing! Such a delicate balance of taste, a bit sweet, crunchy, salty, vinegary and wasabi-y. Everything was mixed to perfection.
Polished off the meal with a scoop of green tea ice cream ($6), which has the bitterness of the green tea. Good stuff.
Everyone around us was Japanese expats and businessmen – how come locals don’t come here? The view is fantastic. The food is fine and reasonably priced. Each person would spend about $40-$60, the price of a mid-range restaurant. This place is value-for-money.
San-Sui Sumiyaki & Bar
M-Tu: 12pm-3pm, 5pm-11pm
W-Th: 12pm-3pm, 5pm-1am
F & eve of PH: 12pm-3pm, 5pm-2am
Rating: 3.397/5 stars