Minka at Oxley Tower, which isn’t at the (in)famous Oxley Road but at Raffles Place, is a no-frills Japanese restaurant serving rice bowls for lunch and omakase for dinner. The restaurant consists of just a bar and a small table to sit 6 persons. They fly their seafood in from Japan.
It is helmed by–as the website states enigmatically–“Chef J” who has over 15 years of experience. Actually, not to belittle J’s experience, just to state as a fact: many sushi chefs who open their own restaurants have more than 15 years of experience because it is a difficult craft to learn and because they follow their masters until the masters die (and you know how long life Japanese are). So while 15 years can see a baby grow into a teenager, in the sushi world, it is not considered a big deal.
For lunch, the rice bowls start from $13 and goes up to $39. For dinner, they offer sushi omakase sets: $38 (12 courses, early bird 6pm seating), $68 (16 courses), $98 (20 courses), and $148. We went for the $68 set, but saying it’s 16 courses is stretching the truth a little. They consider serving 8 pieces of sushi as 8 courses, and 2 types of sashimi as 2 courses. Even when counting piecemeal, I think they forgot to serve us an appetiser; we only received 1 appetiser, instead of 2. Oh well.
After an appetiser and a vegetable (we got spinach that day) comes the sashimi, yellowtail and swordtail. Swordtail is, in my opinion, one of the most under-rated sashimi, and one of my favourite. However, here, the swordtail is warm and has lost that milkiness flavour it is known for. By the side is a plum-sauced shark cartilage, quite rare to see in Singapore but common in Japan.
Then comes the 8 courses of sushi. They use white rice with black vinegar here so the rice looks as if it’s brown rice. The pieces are a tad small but there are some good surprises. The texture of the ika squid is just right: soft and chewy at once. The aburi-ing of the Hokkaido scallop has dried it, although the lime salt is interesting.
Sometimes, the sushi, like the seabream, come across as slimey, and good sushi should never be like this, but there is something interesting here. I have never eaten or even heard of kazuki, and here they serve the toro (belly), which is almost as good as otoro.
Their otoro here is nice but you can tell the quality isn’t as good as fancier restaurants’. The yuzu zest goes very well with ikura.
The penultimate end of the meal, served together with the soup, is a very very minuscule rice bowl of kinmedai and ikura, so small you can eat it in 2 bites. But it is nice. The kinmedai is warm and almost buttery.
The food here is not bad, and I did get some education with reference to the kazuki toro. It’s also nice that they included the usually very expensive otoro in the 8 sushi. But it isn’t memorable enough for us to want to return. The servings are tiny and we remained hungry after the meal. We paid $156 for two persons. No GST.
Oxley Tower #01-06, 138 Robinson Road, Singapore 068906
tel: +65 86891686
M – Sat: 11.30am – 2.30pm, 6pm – 10pm
Decor / ambience: 5.5/10
You may be interested in…
–Yoshi Restaurant, Forum: Rebranded from Kaiseki Yoshiyuki, by Personal Chef to Ambassadors
–Keyaki Japanese Restaurant, Pan Pacific: So Unreal It’s Like the Matrix
–Nami, Shangri La: Do NOT Order the A La Carte
–SENS Sushi & Grill, Holland Village: When I Maki in the Summer
Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.