Aoki impressed me from the moment I stepped in till the moment I left. Like restaurants in Japan, there are no distinct signs outside the restaurant. The restaurant is on the outside of the building, opposite Pacific Plaza. The ambience is very classy. Limited seating (reservations a must and at least a few days in advance): 3 tables as you enter the restaurant. The sushi bar at the basement gave an edgy underground yet exclusive feel. The concave ceiling is hung with noren (traditional Japanese curtains), a Zen-like quality, as if wind socks waiting to stir in barley fields.
Set lunch starts from $30 and dinner from $160. My friend and I discussed: $38 set or $75 bento set or $100 omakase. From the menu, there seemed little difference, perhaps only in quality. So we took the $75 set. In retrospect, I’d say the $38 set has better worth but I didn’t regret the more expensive.
Almost everything in the set was exquisite. The sashimi was delicate with a firm bite. Especially the tuna belly which made me close my eyes in sheer bliss. The sushi had a lightness of touch. Cod fish (below) reminded me of first snow, magical. The tempura could be drained of oil better. The stewed daikon was pure umami but the same stewed fish could be fresher.
The desserts were equally first class.
Overall, this place scores highly on everything, ambience, service and food, although I did wish they waited for both of us to finish before clearing our plates. Made me feel hurried. Could be less expensive but when I paid $183 for 2, I didn’t feel the pinch.
1 Scotts Road, Shaw Centre #02-17 Singapore 228208
T: 6333 8015
M-Sat: 12-3pm, 6.30-11pm
Dress code: smart elegant
Rating: 3.985/5 stars
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.