My friend’s boss brought him here and he liked the Japanese restaurant so much that he kept returning and wanted to share it with me. Helming the kitchen is executive chef Akihiro Maetomo, who has worked at the Michelin-starred Chikuyotei, the flagship store in Tokyo. We ordered the lunch omakase ($68) each and ordered an additional sashimi ($78).
Including the starter, there were 7 courses. The starter, cuttlefish in spicy roe sauce with seaweed, had a nice layered texture and taste: spiciness, then saltiness padded by a sea breeze of seaweed.
The sashimi in the omakase set was so so, but the pomfret soup (above) was intelligent. The pan-fried pomfret in light seaweed soup was coated with sweet miso sauce, to mask a slightly stale fishiness. But the following dish was another fish, grilled Spanish mackerel. While it was excellent, the lineup had no variety.
The fried oyster was soaked in a thick miso sauce but it was still crispy and soft and slightly raw, the way oysters should be.
The best dish was the wagyu bowl. Superlative delicious beef. It had a nice balance of meat and fat, giving it a bite without being sickeningly oleaginous. It was tender but didn’t have a melt-in-the-mouth texture; something different and I prefer this version to other wagyu because I could chew and let the juice fill the mouth. Ended with Hokkaido persimmon for dessert.
While the omakase set was delectable, the a la carte sashimi ($78) wasn’t worth the money and wasn’t fresh enough to justify the price. A second thing that was a pity was that Chikuyotei is famous for unagi but it wasn’t included in the omakase set.
Many businessmen and women congregate here for lunch. The service was comfortable but I wished they waited for both of us to finish before clearing our plates. Made me feel hurried. The decor, however, was common, unfitting of its Michelin-starred origins. Judging from my friend’s frequent visits, the food should be consistently good but costly; ingredients need to be fresher; and the omakase set needs to be more thoughtful. We paid $251 for two.
80 Middle Road #01-01 Intercontinental Singapore 188966
T: 9725 5311 / 6825 1064
12-2.30pm; 6.30-10.30pm daily
Rating: 3.213/5 stars
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.