Dinner @ Sushi Kimura [Revisit]

November 11, 2018 in Japanese

My first meal at Sushi Kimura was in 2017. That’s when they were still in their first month of operation and before they were awarded 1 Michelin star. So when my siao-on instagram foodie friends (who are also big fans of chef-owner Tomoo Kimura) suggested heading to Sushi Kimura for dinner, I was up for it. One could also say I was curious; From the photographs which others posted of Sushi Kimura on instagram, the food was looking better with time.

Being a group of 5 and only wanting head chef Tomoo san, our first preferred date for dinner was not available. So yes, one should plan in advanced if coming in big group and wish to have head chef Tomoo san.

Though not late for our dinner appointment, I was the last in our group to reach the restaurant. And of course my ‘siao on’-sters had already placed order since we dined together often enough to know we would all be going for the omakase menu (I am assuming they ordered Oribe, $330). And with that, we started our dinner with:-


1) Dish #1 (above) – Salmon roe (ikura), tofu skin (yuba) and dashi jelly.


2) Dish #2 (above, left) – Steamed egg (chawanmushi) with Hokkaido hairy crab and Hokkaido sweet corn.

  

3) Dish #3 (above) – Abalone (awabi) with sauce made with its liver. And to clean up the remaining liver sauce properly, we were given a spoonful of sushi rice (shari). However, I didn’t know we would be given rice and had scarped clean whatever that’s left of the sauce with my fork. Oops. But thankfully head chef Tomoo san given me additional sauce. Yeah! Haha.


    

4) Dish #4 (above) – Autumn’s seasonal vegetables with sashimi assortment of grouper, blue marlin (kajiki), giant clam (ishigakigai) and spotted prawn (botan ebi). It was a funny lame moment when I went “so pretty” as head chef Tomoo san placed the ishigakigai on my plate and my friend responded with “imagine if a guy say you are as pretty as an ishigakigai.” (^^|||)

5) Dish #5 (above) – Binchotan grilled sanma, green pepper and edamame.


6) Dish #6 (above) – Salmon roe in sac (sujiko), violet sea urchin (murasaki uni) from Yoichi, short spine urchin (bafun uni) from Hamanaka and crisp seaweed.

7) Dish #7 (above) – Mozuku seaweed, jellyfish, Hokkaido swimmer crab in sweet vinegar sauce.

  
  
  
  
  

8) Dish #8 (above) – Nigiri sushi assortment of 3 year old yellow tail (inada), striped jack (shima aji), striped bonnito (hagatsuo), marinated tuna (akami zuke), ‘binchotan coal’ seared premium tuna belly (aburi otoro), unicorn leatherjacket (usuba-hagi) with its liver, pacific saury (sanma), barracuda (kamas), salmon roe in sac (sujiko) and cuttlefish (ika). It’s also to note of the pieces served, 3 were ordered as extra pieces (sanma, sujiko and ika). And I really enjoyed the aburi otoroo. It’s interesting how head chef Tomoo san used a few thinly sliced otoroo instead of a thick slice. Yum.

  

9) Dish #9 (above) – Instead of the signature rice bowl, we were given hand roll. And for the cut of tuna, we were told it’s from the flesh right by the red muscle (chiai-gishi maguro).

10) Dish #10 (above) – Soup.

11) Dish #11 (above) – Egg omelette (tamago).

12) Dish #12 (above) – Homemade red bean paste and rice cake (mochi) which we were to eat with the wafer biscuit (monaka), grape and musk melon.

It was a great dinner at 1 Michelin star Sushi Kimura. Noting beat the fun company of my siao-on instagram foodie friends. In fact, I was a little apologetic to the other customers because we were slightly noisy whilst communicating among ourselves and with the very friendly head chef Tomoo san.

And with the few extra items ordered, dinner came up to a total of $380 (per head).

SUSHI KIMURA 鮨来村
390 Orchard Road, Palais Renaissance, #01-07, Singapore
6734 3520, Website, Facebook
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Tue – Sun : 12:00 – 15:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 8
Tue – Sun : 19:00 – 22:00 (Dinner)
Value: 7
Service: 8
* Closed on Mon

Lunch @ JAAN [Revisit]

November 7, 2018 in European

My siao-on instagram foodie friends suggested heading to JAAN a few times before, but I wasn’t keen (then) because memory of my not-too-pleasant dinner in mid 2017 was still etched in my mind. But when they mentioned JAAN’s head chef Kirk Westaway has further revamped the menu to reflect his British roots, I decided to take a chance. So yes, we went to JAAN together for a Saturday lunch.

And from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4), we ordered:-

1) Signatures (6 course menu), $158 comprised of:-


  

(A) Canapé (above) – Fish & chip tartlet, beetroot meringue with smoked eel, Devonshire cheddar cheese & buckwheat pancake, and chicken curry.


  

(B) Roast potato, truffle soup (above) – With mini loaf.


  

(C) Dark rye sourdough, Complimentary (above) – Served with Devonshire butter.

(D) Heirloom beetroot (above) – With trout caviar and golden beetroot sorbet.


  

(E) Majestic oyster (above) – With caviar.


  

(F) Eggs in an egg… (above)

(G) Line caught brill (above) – With artichoke.

(H) Salt marsh lamb (above) – With aubergine. And because I don’t take beef, the beef dish from the menu was replaced with lamb.


(I) Palate cleanser, Complimentary – Lemon and cucumber sorbet.


(J) Gariguette strawberry (above) – With mascarpone. I liked this a lot.

(K) Coffee, Complimentary (above) – And I opted for latte.

(L) Petit fours (above)


  

2) English garden, $30 (above) – Thankfully 1 of us (not me, for the record) did our homework prior to lunch; When it’s realised the ‘English garden’ dish was not on our menu, we requested to order it as a-la carte. Comprised of 30 different types of vegetables (raw and cooked) and herbs, we were told to pour the herbal dashi (stored very aptly in a flower pot) onto the vegetables, mix everything before tucking in. Really good. And it’s through our interaction with chef Kirk that we later learnt that this dish was intentionally not included in the lunch service as it may be too filling.

Were we happy with our lunch? Did lunch change my impression of JAAN? A big yes! I was very impressed.

So the thing is… After chef Julien Royer left to set up Odette in June 2015, chef Kirk had very big shoes to fill when he took over JAAN. And I guess his biggest hurdle was to escape from chef Julien’s shadow. I mean, in all honesty, customers who dined when JAAN was under chef Julien’s helm would compare. Yes? Ie, is there any difference, what did chef Kirk do better, or… Gasp. What chef Kirk isn’t doing as good.

I wasn’t too sure if chef Kirk managed to find his own identity when I dined in June 2017. But with this lunch, I could very confidently say chef Kirk has definitely achieved that. I liked how the menu at JAAN has since evolved to showcase his British roots now. And as taken from JAAN’s website, chef Kirk applied the philosophy ‘Reinventing British’ where the menu now embodied a seasonal philosophy to showcase British dining in a modern and refreshing light.

I definitely recommend Michelin-starred JAAN. But noting out of the 3 times that I dined at JAAN and it was always the lunch that impressed me, I would thus recommend one to go for their lunch menu before deciding if one should also try the dinner menu. Yeps. And my review of lunch was based on the Summer menu. If one really wants to try these dishes, do head down soon before they transit into the Autumn/Winter menu.

JAAN
2 Stamford Road, Swissotel The Stamford, Equinox Complex, Level 70, Singapore
6837 3322, Website, Facebook
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Mon – Sat : 12:00 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 8
Mon – Sat : 19:00 – 22:00 (Dinner)
Value: 8
* Closed on Sun
Service: 8

Dinner @ Restaurant Labyrinth [Revisit]

September 9, 2018 in Asian, Mod Sin

Saw a picture of Labyrinth’s gorgeously-plated lala dish on instagram and was dying to revisit the restaurant since. My previous visit to Labyrinth was in 2015 when the restaurant was at their previous location (Tanjong Pagar) and before they were awarded a Michelin star. So yes… I was excited to try the new menu.

Reservation was made with Chope. And a few days before our dinner, the restaurant emailed us with the menu and requested for us to confirm our reservation. Confirmation of reservation is required cause I missed out their first email, and was sent a reminder email.

Upon arrival at the restaurant, my IGGF (InstaGram GirlFriend) and I were led to our table before starting our $178 dinner menu with:-

  

1) Appetiser (above)


2) Heartland waffle (above) – Local duck liver pate & goji berry jam.


3) “Nasi lemak” cheong fun (above) – Chicken skin, ikan bilis & egg yolk gel.

4) Braised baby abalone (above) – Homemade oyster sauce & fatt choy tart.

5) Ah hua kelong lala clams (above) – XO sambal, deep fried wonton skin & Chinese spinach.


6) Labyrinth rojak (above) – Edible garden herbs, natural stingless bee honey & cempedak sorbet. And for this, 10 different herbs, flowers and sprouts from locally-based Edible Garden City was used.

7) “Ang moh” chicken rice, kin yan abalone mushroom (above) – Home-milled rice flour, grandma’s chili sauce & braised chicken. Presented as a dumpling, I enjoyed this dish.

8) Grandma’s fish maw soup (above) – Yellow tail snapper fish cake, textures of fish maw & tofu puree. When the dish was served, one would noticed the fish cakes were thinly sliced and put beautifully together as a rose. And it’s a pity that the staff poured the broth over the ‘fish cake’ rose, instead of beside. Hmm…


9) Local wild caught crab, sustenir farm strawberry (above) – Signature chili ice cream, egg whites & salted mackerel.

10) Nippon koi farm silver perch (above) – Herbal pepper broth, ulam rajah & textures of black garlis.


  

11) Uncle William’s quail (above) – Satay espuma, muah chee & pearl onion.

12) “Lost grain” fried rice (above) – White bait, dried scallop & local “dashi”.


13) Bean to bar (above) – Artisanal dark chocolate & 8 year aged shaoxing wine.


14) Clam lead snow (above) – Rosella meringue & textures of grapes.

15) Soy bean curd (above) – Bird’s nest & burnt yogurt espuma by Hay Dairies goat milk.

16) Cristal de chine caviar (above) – Kaya ice cream & Sing Hong Loong toast.

17) Petit fours (above) – And it’s a bold move that the macaron was durian flavoured such not everyone could appreciate durian.

Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy our dining experience. So no, I won’t recommend Restaurant Labyrinth; It’s no surprise that first impressions are very important. And unfortunately for us (or for the restaurant), a really snobbish waiter attended to us for the first half of our meal. He was extremely ‘bo chap’ with the dishes’ introduction; Presentation was brief and he was basically just muttering to himself. My IGGF and I couldn’t make out what he was saying. His I-don’t-care attitude made us feel very unwelcomed.

Halfway through our meal, two other staff stepped in to serve us because the snobbish staff was tied up with other tables. I was glad that happened because they were so much more professional. One in particular stood out with his detailed presentation. In a good way of course since we love to better appreciate the dishes by understanding the story behind.

And food wise… Oddly, I wasn’t too impressed. It just lacked the ‘wow’ factor. I preferred days when they were at their previous location where their dishes leaned towards molecular cuisine.

  

Upon settling the bill, we were given small tokens before we left the Michelin-starred restaurant; A small bottle of chef-owner Han Li Guang’s chicken rice chili and a set of postcards which were used as props for the dishes’ introduction.

RESTAURANT LABYRINTH
8 Raffles Avenue, Esplanade Mall, #02-23, Singapore
6223 4098, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Tues – Fri : 12:00 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Tues – Sun : 18:00 – 23:30 (Dinner)
Value: 7
Service: 6
* Closed on Mon