Lunch @ Ginza Sushi Ichi [Revisit]

December 5, 2017 in Japanese by thywhaleliciousfay

After a satisfying meal at Shinji, it got me craving for more sushi. And because I am one who don’t like returning to the same eatery (too soon), I decided on 1 Michelin-starred Sushi Ichi. I mean, my last meal at Sushi Ichi was in 2014; Before they relocated and before they were awarded Michelin star. So yes, it was time to return to Sushi Ichi. =)

Through Chope, I made reservation for weekend lunch. And I thought I should also add that it was a solo affair. I guess I was reminiscing much of my solo Tokyo trips. Kekeke. Having had chef Yukinori Kawakami on my previous meal at Sushi Ichi, I made a request for him again.

With Sushi Ichi located in Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel, it was easily accessible. Just a mere 5 minutes walk from Orchard MRT station!

And from the menu (pages 1, 2), I ordered:-

1) Lunch omakase, $250 comprised of:-

(A) Appetiser (above) – Sweet shrimp (ama-ebi), mixed mushroom with chrysanthemum, and octopus braised in soya sauce.


(B) Assorted sashimi (2) (above) – Jack fish and shell fish.

(C) Dish #1 (above) – Japanese belt fish served with chestnut tempura. I always thought belt fish had many bones cause of the one I previously had, but the one served at Sushi Ichi had none. Such a joy to eat! And the chestnut was very sweet. I enjoyed it very much!

(D) Dish #2 (above) – Striped jack (shima-aji), shabu shabu.

  
  
  
  
  

(E) Nigiri sushi (8 pieces) (above) – Assortment of grouper (kue), big-eye snapper (kinmedai), marinated tuna, baby white shrimp (shiro-ebi), seared premium fatty tuna (otoro aburi) and sea eel (anago), egg omlette (tamago), and rice bowl with sea urchin and salmon roe. Since I don’t count the number of sushi during my meal, it’s only when I am writing up my review that I realised the egg omelette and rice bowl formed part of the 8 nigiri sushi. Hmm…

(F) Roll sushi (above) – It was only from watching chef Kawakami san make the roll sushi that I realised red vinegar was used to season nigiri sushi’s sushi rice (shari) while white vinegar was used for the roll sushi’s. Interesting.

(G) Miso soup (above) – Soup with yam.

(H) Dessert (above)

While I was having my lunch, I couldn’t help but drool over what my neighbours were having. They had dishes like abalone, crab, etc. So when I was making payment, I enquired about the different menus. And the staff explained the quality of ingredients varied according to price. So for the lunch options, the premium ingredient in $100 Tubaki, $150 Botan and Lunch Omakase ($240) courses were lean tuna (akami), medium fatty tuna (chutoro) and premium fatty tuna (otoro) respectively. And for me who was eyeing my neighbour’s dishes, I would need to get the Dinner Omakase course at $430.

Would I recommend Sushi Ichi? Well… Honestly, it didn’t give me the ‘wow’ factor. But at least one would assured that Sushi Ichi won’t let one down (too much).

GINZA SUSHI ICHI
320 Orchard Road, Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel, #01-04, Singapore
6235 5514, Website
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Tues – Sun : 12:00 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 8
Tues – Sat : 18:00 – 23:00 (Dinner)
Value: 7
Sun : 18:00 – 22:00 (Dinner)
Service: 8
 
* Closed on Mon

Dinner @ Shinji by Kanesaka (Carlton Hotel)

November 5, 2017 in Japanese by thywhaleliciousfay

Craving for good sushi, I decided to join my IGGF (InstaGram GirlFriend) in one of her (super) regular visits to 1 Michelin star Shinji where she gets her dosage of head chef Oshino san’s sushi. And with this visit, it was also my first to dine at Shinji’s new space after their relocation to Carlton Hotel from Raffles Hotel.

My IGGF always assist with the reservation at Shinji. And what seem to be a first, I was told there’s 2 seatings for head chef Oshino san. Gasp. We were only able to secure the 1st seating at 12pm. Of which, we were required to vacate by 1.20pm for the second seating. So even before our actual lunch date, I had made up my mind to go for their sushi course once knowing that we had less than 1.5 hours. And it’s pretty seldom of me since I normally opt for omakase cause I like to have variety. Ie, not just sushi. Keke.

And at Shinji’s new space, head chef Oshino san now stood separately from the other chefs. Upon arrival, the staff clad in kimono led me down a long passage, walking by what seemed to be the main dining area where most customers were attended by the other chefs, to finally reach a room that’s small but big enough to contain a L-shaped counter for 8 and a table for 4. And yes, it’s in this room that head chef Oshino san stood alone behind the counter.

And from the menu (pages 1, 2), we ordered:-

1) Setsugetsuka sushi course set (yuki), $180 comprised of:-

(A) Appetiser (above)

(B) Sushi #1 (above) – Striped jack (shima aji) sushi.

(C) Sushi #2 (above) – Spanish macakarel (sawara) sushi.

(D) Sushi #3 (above) – Medium fatty tuna (chutoro) sushi.

(E) Sushi #4 (above) – Ōtoro 大トロ : Premium fatty tuna (otoro) sushi. Shimofuri cut.

(F) Sushi #5 (above) – Jack mackerel (aji) sushi.

(G) Sushi #6 (above) – Lean tuna (akami) sushi.

(H) Sushi #7 (above) – Sea urchin sushi.

(I) Sushi #8 (above) – Tiger prawn (kuruma-ebi) sushi.

(J) Sushi #9 (above) – Needlefish (sayori) sushi.

(K) Sushi #10 (above) – Bonito (katsuo) sushi.

(L) Sushi #11 (above) – Leather jacket fish (kawahagi) sushi.

(M) Sushi #12 (above) – Mackerel (saba) sushi.

(N) Sushi #13 (above) – Slightly torched Japanese barracuda (kamasu) sushi.

(O) Sushi #14 (above) – Black throat sea perch (nodoguro) sushi.

(P) Sushi #15 (above) – Sea eel (anago) sushi.

(Q) Soup (above) – Clear soup with minced tuna ball.

(R) Rolled sushi (above) – Rolled sushi with filling of minced tuna and spring onion (negitoro), rolled omelette (tamago) and pickled radish.

(S) Dessert (above) – Japanese rice cake (mochi) in yam pudding. It’s almost like the Japanese version of our Chinese dessert yam paste (orh nee/芋泥).


2) Sea urchin rice, $50 (above) – It was of much coincidence that my IGGF’s colleagues were lunching at Shinji too. They were getting the sea urchin rice as an additional a-la carte order and I decided to get 1 for myself too. Keke. And it was so good. I didn’t notice but my IGGF said 2 types of sea urchin was used. And we agreed the portion seemed bigger than usual. It was almost to the brim of the bowl.

Honestly and seriously… Shinji doesn’t disappoint. It’s one of the restaurants that’s consistently good. In my (humblest) opinion, Shinji serves the best nigiri sushi in Singapore. I especially love the sushi rice (shari) which is perfect. One could taste the vinegar yet it’s not too overpowering such that it outshine the sushi topping (neta).

Do I recommend Shinji? Definitely, without a doubt. It’s crazy how price-friendly the menu is at Shinji too. One could opt for $75 sushi course which comprised of 9-pieces nigiri sushi, maki sushi, soup and dessert. I know some non-Michelin starred sushi-ya don’t even offer any set courses cheaper than Shinji’s!

But be very punctual if one is slotted for the first seating. Else, try to make reservation for the second slot. I would reckon one definitely need to go with the second seating as I personally felt that omakase course require at least 1.5 hour for a comfortably paced meal. My IGGF and I could tell head chef Oshino san was rushing towards the second half of our lunch. And because I was also taking a little longer since I had additional order, we offered to shift to the table so that the staff could prepare for the second seating.

SHINJI BY KANESAKA
76 Bras Basah Rd, Carlton Hotel, Lobby Floor, Singapore
6338 6131, Website
Overall: 8.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 9
Mon – Sat : 12:00 – 15:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 8
Mon – Sat : 18:00 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 9
Service: 8
* Closed on Sun

Dinner @ Ginza Yoshino Sushi

October 26, 2017 in Japanese by thywhaleliciousfay

“Have you heard of this restaurant?” my IGGF (InstaGram GirlFriend) texted. “No. How did you even hear about them?” I replied. I like that we always think of each other first whenever we chanced upon a new Japanese eatery. Keke.

And with that, my IGGF assisted to call the restaurant to make reservation for the immediate Friday evening.

It was a first for us to explore level 6 of Cuppage Plaza. One can say we were filled with curiosity and anticipation. And we entered into a space which was fully taken up by a L-shaped counter.

And through our interaction with chef-owner Tokio Endo, we learnt that he came from a family with at least 100 years of sushi-making. 130 years to be exact. Head chef Endo san decided to move from Japan to Singapore upon his friend’s recommendation.

And from the menu, I ordered:-

1) Chef’s choice course – Star, $260 comprised of:-

(A) Otoshi, Complimentary (above) – Tuna.

(B) Dish #1 (above) – Bonito (katsuo). There were 5 slices.

(C) Dish #2 (above) – Clam (asari) soup.

(D) Dish #3 (above) – Sashimi platter of sea bream with kelp (rausu kombu), abalone and squid. And the kelp was interesting. Each chew on the tough seaweed brought out its savoriness which complimented the sea bream very well. No need to dip the dish with soya sauce. Yum!

(E) Dish #4 (above) – Dried sheets of white bait and sakura shrimp (tatami style), and grilled squid served alongside mayonnaise sauce.

(F) Dish #5 (above) – Medium fatty tuna (chutoro) with grated yam.

  
  
  
  
  
  

(G) Dish #6 (above) – Nigiri sushi assortment comprised of lean tuna (akami), medium fatty tuna (chutoro), sea bream, scallop, gizzard shad (kohada), tiger prawn (kuruma ebi), horse mackerel (aji) with ginger flower and oyster, rolled sushi assortment of mullet roe and gourd, and rolled egg omelette (tamago). Head chef Edo san said his sushi is edomae-styled. So I guess maybe that explained why he brush any soya sauce on the sushi before serving. Instead, we were each given a saucer with soya sauce. Yeah. Do it yourself.

(H) Dish #7 (above) – Clam (hamaguri) soup.

(I) Dish #8 (above) – Yuzu sorbet.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t impressed with my $260 omakase meal. With (more affordable) options of $160 and $210 for the omakase, my IGGF and I couldn’t help but wonder what would be served for those since there was neither premium fatty tuna (otoro) nor sea urchin in the most expensive omakase menu. Like what? Instead, my IGGF and I agreed my IGGF’s sushi combo ($98) which comprised of 9 nigiri sushi and 1 hand roll was a better deal.

That said, head chef Endo san was very friendly. My IGGF was travelling to Japan in 2 weeks from our dinner, and although he couldn’t speak much English, he was giving us many recommendation excitedly. He reminded me very much of The Big Friendly Giant (by Roald Dahl). Don’t ask me why. It’s just so.

If one is in Somerset in the evening, has craving for sushi and prefers somewhere rustic, Ginza Yoshino Sushi is a good place to head to. But stick to their sushi combo sets. Skip the omakase courses.

GINZA YOSHINO SUSHI
5 Koek Road, Cuppage Plaza, #06-03, Singapore
9753 8710, Facebook
Overall: 6
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Sat : 18:00 – 02:00
Ambience: 6
Value: 6
* Closed on Sun
Service: 6