Named after Chinese yam 山药, which Month-old Naga Imo at Club Street houses an omakase restaurant and izakaya on the first and second storey respectively. On the third, there is a space for event that can sit 20 people comfortably.
The chef has honed his skills at Mikuni, Yuzu, and Sushi Airways. Lunch sets range from for $28 to $88. Omakase dinners at $150, $180, $200, $250, and $300, the last of which requires 3 days reservation in advance.
The restaurant imports its ingredients from Japan 4 times a week.
One thing I like about their omakase is that I learn new things from the food. For example, after the sweet and crunchy raw Hokkaido white corn, which tastes like a juicy, fibrous apple without tannins, the second course presents three types of ikura.
One of them, the usual cured ikura. The other two are fresh. Without the membrane, it tastes as if there is a sweet fermented rice aroma.
However, I did not enjoy the sujiko (roe sacs attached to membrane). Tastewise, it is great, pungent almost like salted fish we put in claypot rice but without the saltiness. However, it is sticky to the teeth.
The most enjoyable dish for me is the Okinawa oyster, so plump and juicy, leaving an umami and long aftertaste in the mouth. The tongue retains the memory of it seconds, minutes after you swallow it, like first love.
Everything we eat is delicious, better than most Japanese restaurants, but if I am to be picky, I find that they use the fashionable, creamy uni sauce too often. And that may come across as heavy.
For example, both the Boston lobster and amadai fish are served with uni sauce; the latter comes with uni-truffle sauce.
Again, they are tasty. The chef weighs each lobster to calculate the exact time to cook it. Amadai is pan-fried on its edible, crispy scales while the flesh is covered with a cloth so that it steams and retains its moisture, both sides cooking together at once.
The second thing I’m concerned with–again, if I am being picky–I am confused if this is a sushi omakase or a kaiseki meal because there are only 4 pieces of sushi and a mini don.
That said, if you’re not a stickler for nomenclature, the condiments on sushi bring out the best of its flavours even when the seafood isn’t of the highest quality.
Hamachi is usually mild but with a dab of yuzu kosho (citrus spicy paste), the sushi is uplifting and buttery. Akami (tuna), with grains of seaweed salt, becomes sweet.
While most of the omakase focuses on modern Japanese cuisine, the meal ends traditionally with sweet and juicy musk melon from Shizuoka. Fruits are my favourite dessert to end an omakase.
A very good meal, on the whole.
82 Club Street Singapore 069450
Tel: +65 9638 8182
11.30am – 3pm, 5.30am – 10.30pm, closed Sunday
Price / value: 6/10
You may be interested in…
–Izakaya Niningashi, Tanjong Pagar: “Probably One of the Best Izakayas in Singapore” with Alcohol Buffet
–Jinjo, Shaw Centre Orchard: Modern Sumiyaki Restaurant by Les Amis
–Minka, Oxley Tower: A Copy of Teppei, Serving Japanese Sushi Omakase
–Yoshi Restaurant, Forum: Rebranded from Kaiseki Yoshiyuki, by Personal Chef to Ambassadors
Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.