Keyaki Japanese Restaurant, Pan Pacific: So Unreal It’s Like the Matrix

The best thing about Keyaki Japanese Restaurant at Pan Pacific Singapore is the spectacular decor and this is not a slight. You go to the 4th floor of the hotel and push a door and suddenly, you are in an utterly different world. From the cool air conditioning of the interior to outdoors, from urban modern Singapore hotel to a Kyoto-styled garden. And bearing in mind, we are still in the hotel.

The Kyoto garden is complete with weeping willows, a koi pond, flowing stream, Shoji screens, and circles ploughed in stones.

If you want to impress your dates or business partners, this is the place to come.

However, the interior is a little disappointing, nondescript, like any average restaurant.

Shinichi Nakatake, the executive chef here, has an interesting resume which includes Michelin-starred  French restaurant, Joël Robuchon in Monaco. But there is no influence of French here; purely Japanese.

The set lunches are affordable and really quite good value. They start from $55 and go all the way up to $200. I had the 寿司籠弁当コース Sushi Kago Bento ($110) and Chiobu got the 欅弁当コース Keyaki Bento ($70).

Sushi Kago Bento

One thing that can be improved here is the service. They dish the food on the table without telling us what we are eating.

The set consists sashimi, salad, chawanmushi, assorted tempura, MORE sashimi, two mini don (minced tuna belly with spring onion, and sea urchin-salmon roe ), soup and dessert.  I find that there is too much raw food in this set, and furthermore, the sashmi repeats in the appetiser and the main course. They should have given a variety.

The tempura is very shiok, especially when they give so much. The prawns are firm and the batter clean and light.

I highly recommend this set because it’s very filling. Not sure where they get their seafood from–they are of a good quality, should be from Japan–but for desserts, the fruits seem… locally sourced.

This is important because traditionally Japanese did not serve dessert after a meal. But it gradually evolved to serving fruits (and now, some jelly, mochi, or ice cream). Usually when they serve fruits, it’s just a slice of very good quality melon, but the fruits we were served that day did not seem high enough quality, although they make up for it with quantity.

Keyaki Bento

The Keyaki bento is the more balanced of the two sets, with a little of everything but of a lower quality than the previous set. It consists of sashimi, chawanmushi, Bento Box (Appetiser, grilled fish, oden, tempura), rice, soup, pickles and dessert. I did not fancy the oden at all: the root vegetables are too hard and bland.

Having just eaten Nami at Shangri La one week before Keyaki, Nami seems to be better in all areas except for pricing. If you want the best, the supreme quality and don’t mind spending money, go to Nami. But if you want good quality at more affordable prices with an amazing setting, go to Keyaki. I recommend them both. We pay for our meals.

Keyaki Japanese Restaurant
Pan Pacific Singapore, 7 Raffles Boulevard, Marina Square Singapore 039595
tel: +65 6826 8240
11.30am to 2.30pm, 6.30pm to 10.30pm

Food: 6.75/10
Price / value: 6/10
Service: 6.5/10
Decor / ambience: 10/10

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Kamoshita, Neil Road: Oden Izakaya, Better Than Japan’s Restaurants
Mizuki Tempura & Sushi, Ngee Ann City: Visited Twice for a Reliable Review
Shiraishi, Ritz Carlton: Strangely, Tempura is Better Than Edomae Sushi

Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.

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