Dinner @ Kakure

October 1, 2016 in Japanese

So after our recent disappointing dinner, I was determined to make it up during our next meet up. Now… I have been interested to check out Kakure. And after viewing the pictures shares on Instagram, I was convinced the food wouldn’t disappoint. I mean, the food shouldn’t fare badly since it’s from Ki-sho, I assumed. And I had an enjoyable dining experience when I dined at Ki-sho.

And with that, reservation was made for a weekday dinner at 8.30pm. Parking wasn’t an issue as there was ample parking space within their compound. It’s also pretty manageable if one takes the public transport. It’s an estimated 15 minutes walk from Orchard MRT station.

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

1) Pre-appetiser, $10 (above) – And we were served assorted pickles comprised of mountain vegetable, sesame cucumber, yuzu radish, lotus root and cabbage after our orders were taken. So no, we didn’t realise the pre-appetiser was chargeable. But it certainly helped to pacify our empty and hungry stomachs as it took a while for the first dish of our omakase to be served.

2) Kakure omakase, $138 comprised of:-

(A) Appetiser (above) – Starting from bottom left in a clockwise direction, we served clam, octopus, tofu skin with soya sauce and wasabi, and seasoned egg plant in miso sauce.

(B) Fish tempura (above) – Using belt fish (tachiuo), this was really good. And it being my first (I think) to learn about tachiuo, I asked the staff to repeat the Japanese name of the fish. But I (still) didn’t get its name. Haha. So it was nice that the staff googled the fish up and showed us a picture of a long silver fish on his mobile.

(C) Seasonal sashimi (above) – Comprised of tuna, big eye snapper (kinmedai) and squid.

(D) Sesame tofu tempura (above) – In a dashi-based Hokkaido king crab sauce.


(E) Pork belly braised in shoyu (above) – This was nicely braised such that it disintegrated nicely within my mouth. However, the pieces were too fatty.


(F) Ki-sho chirashi sushi (above) – Unfortunately, there was too many things going on at the same time; Sea urchin, tuna belly, salmon roe, omelette and cucumber. Yes, our taste buds got confused. My friend didn’t even bother to finish his bowl.

(G) Desserts comprised of:-

i) Fruits (above)

ii) Sweet treats (above)

3) Cured stingray fin, $12 (above)

4) Sea urchin and caviar, $98 (above) – Signature dish of Ki-sho. Seasonal sea urchin topped with oscietra caviar and rice vinegar dashi jelly. Unfortunately, this wasn’t as good as I remembered it from my dinner at Ki-sho. We were told by the staff that the supply was affected by a recent typhoon. And that they still went to purchase it (despite the heftier price). Unfortunately, the weather must have affected the harvest cause there was significantly lesser flesh. Didn’t really enjoy thist. Certainly wasn’t worth the $98 price tag.

5) Juyondai sake, $210 (non-bottle portion) (above) – And of the 3 sakes we tried, this was our favourite. And it was interesting that our sake was served in wine glasses. Apparently the use of wine glass enhances the sake’s attributes. I did a little research after dinner, and read from internet that it enhances by allowing the aroma to be collected in the glass; Enhances as one smells and consequently tastes it.

What’s my take on Kakure? Well… One shouldn’t come with higher expectation of their food than sake since Kakure is after all a sake bar. I committed that (mentioned) mistake of coming for their food, and was left much disappointed. Cause really, the omakase offered on Kakure’s menu is very much ‘finger food’ to go with their large range of sake.

And I blame it on the instagram feed too. The glorious dishes shared was misleading as those were food ordered from Ki-sho but served in Kakure so that the patrons could enjoy sake-pairing.

So yes to Kakure if one is after sake. But no if one is after a gastronomical experience. Head over to Ki-sho instead for that.

KAKURE
29 Scotts Road, Level 2, Singapore
6733 5251, Website
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Sat : 18:30 – 01:00
Ambience: 7
Value: 6
Service: 7
* Closed on Sun

Lunch & Dinner @ Tenshin 天信

August 14, 2016 in Japanese

Before there was Tendon Ginza Itsuki, Tenshin was the only restaurant specializing in tempura. I have long read about Tenshin, but only managed to make my first visit in October 2015 for a weekday dinner.

And with the recent openings of Tempura Kohaku and Tempura Tsukiji Tenka, I decided to head back to Tenshin for their ten-don (tempura donburi). Oh yes, I was on my quest of deciding which was good. Not better.

For both visits, reservation was made with less than 2 hours to actual dining time. Yes, impromptu meals. And yes, by myself too! =) However, if one prefers table seat, one should make reservation a few days earlier. For my recent lunch at Tenshin, I was informed they only had counter seats left.

And it’s a 15 to 18 minutes walk from Orchard MRT station. Do bring an umbrella if the sky threatens to rain as it’s a non-sheltered walk. I was sweating much under the hot sun though. Yeps!

And from the lunch menu and dinner menu, I ordered:-

1) Tokusen tendon, $55 (lunch) comprised of:-

(A) Pre-appetizer, $3 (above) – Beancurd skin.

(B) Salad (above)

(C) Pickles (above)

(D) Assorted tempura on rice (above) – With tempura comprised of prawn tempura cake, asparagus, pumpkin, eggplant and mushroom. For the prawn tempura cake, the prawns were cut into smaller pieces. And although it was served as a ‘cake’ in a big piece, one could easily break it up and enjoy the prawn in its individual (smaller) sizes since every piece was also coated with batter. Interesting! And it’s strongly recommended to consume when the dish is warm. I got distracted (on my phone) towards the end of finishing my ten-don. And when I tried my (remaining) prawn tempura cake, the batter was no longer as crisp after it had turned cold.

(E) Miso soup (above) – Soup of tofu and mushroom.

(F) Dessert (above) – Lime sorbet.

2) Yuki (tempura course), $180 (dinner) comprised of:-

(A) Pre-appetizer, $3 (above)

(B) Appetizer (above)

(C) Salad (above)

  
  
  
  
  
  
  

(D) Tempura (above) – Comprised of 6 kinds of seafood and 5 kinds of vegetables. I chose this particular set course because it was the only set which included the sea urchin tempura! =p And one could enjoy the tempura in different ways; With the various powders (chili salt, sea salt, matcha salt and curry salt) or by dipping it into the dipping sauce. Grated radish was placed separately in a bowl for one to add it portion by portion into the dipping sauce, according to one’s preference.


(E) Rice bowl & pickles (above) – With options of tea on rice, scattered rice, rice bowl with small prawn tempura-cake or special tuna on rice for my rice bowl, I went for the latter cause I needed my tuna. And it didn’t disappoint. The texture of the marinated tuna was really smooth, with its taste enhanced. It was a refreshing change after all the deep fried food too. Not that the tempura were greasy. In fact, the batter was light and crispy. Really commendable.

(F) Miso soup (above)

(G) Dessert (above)

My conclusion to my quest of good ten-don? The one at Tenshin didn’t disappoint!

I also noticed the tempura pieces at Tenshin was slightly different in the sense that the batter was really thin; Pieces were not heavily coated. And though drizzled with sauce (in my ten-don), the batter stayed crispy! The way it should be! =)

When I made payment for my ten-don (lunch menu’s), I enquired if it was available during dinner. Since I didn’t take note of the other available options when I came in October 2015 because I went straight for the set which had my sea urchin tempura. Haha. And the staff informed dinner menu’s ten-don was slightly more expensive at $70, but come in a bigger portion with additional fish. And it’s also with that I compared the current dinner menu with pictures of the dinner menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) which I took back in October 2015 that I realised Tenshin has since increased the price for all courses except Yuki (the one which I had). Price increase ranges from $5 to $20. Hmm…

Nonethless, I would still recommend Tenshin for tempura!

TENSHIN 天信
1 Cuscaden Road, The Regent Singapore, #03-01, Singapore
6735 4588, Website
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Mon – Sun : 12:00 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 6
Mon – Sun : 18:00 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 7
Service: 7

Lunch @ Hashida Sushi [Revisit]

July 13, 2015 in Japanese

My last visit to Hashida Sushi was a year ago. And I have been wanting to head back since. Especially when I missed out on their macaron during my previous visit. Thus, reservation was made for 2 on a Sunday. And this time round, I decided to go for their lunch instead of dinner.

However, while making the reservation, I got to learn that the macarons are no longer available as master chef Kenjiro Hashida (also known as chef Hatch) will be opening a tea & desserts cafe! Hmm… But to (continue to) eat at Hashida Sushi, we shall. Ha! Having been served by chef Sato on my previous visit and having had a wonderful time, I made a request for chef Sato.

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

1) Hiiragi, $250 comprised of:-


(A) Appetizer (above) – Sea urchin, tomato, baby cucumber, abalone, lady finger and water shield (also known as junsai which is only available in summer) served in a bowl of sweet vinegar sauce. I don’t normally like junsai cause the ones I had always left a bitter aftertaste in my mouth, but the ones served at Hashida was pretty good!

  

(B1) Sweet corn chawanmushi (above, right) – The default (flavour) for lunch omakase.

(B2) Hairy crab chawanmushi (above, left) – While placing our order for lunch omakase, I showed a picture of their hairy crab chawanmushi which others had posted on instagram. So yes, it was nice that they obliged! I reckon this is normally served for dinner. And this was really good! I was impressed by the attention paid to the little details. For example, my friend pointed out leaves were used to resemble crab legs! I think so too!

(C) Sashimi (above) – With 2 dipping sauces (ponzu and soya), our sashimi platter comprised of leather jacket fish, fresh water octopus, medium fatty tuna (chutoro), striped prawn, golden eye snapper (kinmedai), abalone and a shell fish (which name I couldn’t quite get despite the staff repeating to us. Ha. But its taste was similar to geoduck). And for the leather jacket, we were told to enjoy it with the radish, spring onion and ponzu sauce.

(D) Firefly squid (above) – The (Japanese) family seated next to us requested for some firefly squids, which chef Sato gracefully extended some for us to try too. And he shared his humourous side when he passed the small bowl of firefly squids to my (male) dining partner first before continuing to say, “His, 3. Girl, 2?” Which I of course nodded my head to. Haha. And the rendition of firefly squis served at Hashida were marinated in sweet miso sauces


(E) Sea eel (above) – Served with sweet sauce. We were given the option to enjoy the eel on its own, or have it wrapped with seaweed and sliced cucumber.

(F) Tempura (above) – Deep fried ice fish (isaza). This was addictive!

  
  
  
  

(G) Sushi (above) – Comprised of sea bream, yellow jack, surf clam, marinated tuna, horse mackerel, marinated black throat, sea urchin (murasaki uni) and white fish which was served with its liver and spring onion. And for the surf clam, chef Sato presented it to us before whacking, cutting and aburi-ing it. Oh, I just love sitting at counter and watching the chefs at work!

(H) Donburi (above) – Sensing our interest in hairy crab (from our request of the chawanmushi), chef Sato did a donburi of hairy crab, fresh water sea urchin, short spike (bafun) sea urchin and salmon roe. And again, as chef Sato put in each ingredients, he would tilt the bowl in our direction to show us the step-by-step creation to his ‘masterpiece’. Which of course had us nodding our heads in excitement. Haha. And I guess these doonburi can be customised according to one’s preference as the family beside us had theirs with octupus, medium fatty tuna among many other ingredients. But more ingredients probably means more expensive. Though I generally advise if one really wants to customise, limit to no more than 3 different toppings. Else, it would be just a big mess of textures and tastes. Though it’s always good to leave it in the good hands of the chef!


  

(I) Otoro roll (above) – And I had mine halved, else it would have been too big to go into my mouth. Keke. We were told 1 slab of the tuna (which chef Sato presented in front of us) could last for 3 days. And judging from what’s left, we probably came on the third day. And to get the otoro roll, chef Sato would roll many thin slices together. Which I wished the individual slices were a little thicker cause the roll disintegrated too fast in the mouth for proper enjoyment.

(J) Fruits (above) – Honeydew, orange and strawberry.

So it was a pity I couldn’t try the macarons (again) which I had come for. But Hashida Sushi never fails to impress. I also noticed Chef Sato san is more confident with his command of English. Ha! He could engage us in short conversations now. Keke.

HASHIDA SUSHI
333A Orchard Road, Mandarin Gallery, #02-37, Singapore
6733 2114, Website, Facebook
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Tues – Sun : 12:00 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 8
Tues – Sun : 18:00 – 22:00 (Dinner)
Value: 8
Service: 8
* Closed on Mon

UPDATE 1: Restaurant has moved to 333A Orchard Road, Mandarin Gallery, #04-16.
UPDATE 2: Restaurant has moved to 25 Mohamed Sultan Road.