Established in 1980, Shima Restaurant at Goodwood Park boasts to be the first teppanyaki restaurant in Singapore. The kitchen is helmed by award-winning chef Hoshiba Fumihiko, former Chairman of the National Culinary Society of Japan, with forty years of experience.
He has recently launched a Kaiseki menu at $48++ and $68++ for lunch; and $88, $188, $288 for dinner. Kaiseki menu focuses on fresh, seasonal ingredients with seafood flown in from Japan at least twice a week.
We had the $88++ set for dinner, which gives good value for 8 courses. Each dish is beautifully crafted and presented.
The appetitizer zensai (前菜), or translated as “small pretty things,” consists of five small pretty things including an Aigamo duck steamed with sake and yuzu until it turns medium-rare. At first, given the tough texture, I thought it was beef.
The second course, sashimi, is shy; it is covered with a translucent leaf. Gorgeously plated, each fish is accompanied with hand-carved root vegetables shaped like flowers and leaves. We heard the tuna is a chutoro but in reality, the fattiness is closer to otoro usually marbled pink throughout. At the end of the meal, Mr Fitness said, “I could still taste the otoro in my mouth.”
Usually, I won’t harp on chawanmushi, but this one is bursting with flavors. There is a layer, smooth as silk, that tastes like peanut butter, but which is in fact a fishcake.
The Yakimono course consists of grilled or pan-fried dishes. Here, the chef chose to present a fish and a beef. A very thin slice of A5 Tochigi wagyu wraps around aonegi (or what we know as 青葱 green spring onion) delicately. However, Mr Fitness commented, “The ratio of the spring onion and beef isn’t quite right; the pungency of the spring onion overpowers the taste of the beef.”
As for the fish, it is a Japanese amberjack marinated in Sakana Kyoto miso for three days. It’s delicious but I wonder whether if this is a wasted opportunity. Shima is after all a teppanyaki restaurant. The yakimono dish should feature something from the teppanyaki grills. Now I feel like going into Ali Baba cave and coming out empty-handed without trying a teppanyaki dish.
The nimono is the highlight of the course. Nimono is a traditional simmered dish that is prepared over 2 days. A turnip (kabu) is carved in the shape of a chrysanthemum flower, the underside hollow to contain a prawn ball. It is then placed in a gooey kiku chrysanthemum broth. What a beautiful dish.
The agemono or tempura is so-so, but the penultimate course, matsutake mushroom rice is a winner. Matsutake is known as Japan’s answer to black truffle. It is cooked with dashi stock in a claypot over a fire stove. This is umami.
Matcha ice cream mochi, persimmon, pear
There is a difference between value-for-money and cheap. Shima certainly isn’t cheap, but it exemplifies what value-for-money means. It won’t be the bestest Japanese food you’ve eaten in your life, but it is still delicious. Besides, there is so much heart that goes into the effort of cooking the dishes and the intricacy of the carvings.
22 Scotts Road, Goodwood Park Hotel #01-00, Singapore 228221
tel: +65 6734 6281
You may be interested in…
–Tatsu Teppanyaki, Chijmes
–Teppan Bar Q, Robertson Quay: Flying Omelette, Hidden Teppanyaki
–Akari Japanese Dining Bar, Marina Bay Financial Centre: Launch of Kaiseki Set Courses. THIS IS ART.
–Teppanyaki Hamburg Nihonbashi Keisuke Bettei, Tanjong Pagar: First Hamburg Restaurant in Singapore (With Salad Buffet and Free-Flow of Eggs of All Styles)
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.