[Revisit] Dinner @ Sushi Kimura | Sushi Restaurant in Orchard

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 pacific saury (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 otoro. It’s interesting how head chef Tomoo san used a few thinly sliced otoro 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. Nothing 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 @ Magic Square [Revisit]

October 18, 2018 in Asian

After trying June, July and August menus by the 3 chefs at Magic Square, I thought that was the end of my visits to Magic Square since I tend not to revisit the same restaurant too soon. But my IGGF (InstaGram GirlFriend) really wanted to check out the place. And thus, I agreed to head back again. Ha. However, what I didn’t expect was for the reservation process to be so painful (The previous 3 visits with my siao-on instagram foodie friends were reserved by @abbey_thebolobao).

Following the instruction on Magic Square’s website, I sent our reservation request in mid August via whatsapp for Saturday in late September. However, I was told it’s fully booked. As such, I requested for any Friday (2nd seating) in September but didn’t receive any reply. Slightly frustrated, I resent another text 8 days later with a list of Fridays and Saturdays for October. But I received a text only 3 days later. And in it, I was informed that only the 1st seating was available for October’s Fridays and Saturdays. By now, I was frustrated at the slow and inefficient reservation process. But thankfully, another friend was heading down to Magic Square and helped to make my reservation at the restaurant itself. So yes… With my friend’s help, my IGGF and I managed to snagged a reservation for mid October. But no, we didn’t get our preferred Friday slot. We got a Thursday. 2nd seating of course!

While one should be punctual, one need not reach too early if one is in the 2nd seating because there isn’t any (proper) waiting area. One have to stand around until patrons of the 1st seating clears out. Which is usually around 8.05pm. And once everyone reached, Ken Loon or Gabriel Chan would start off with an opening speech before chef-of-the-month takes over. And it was a great coincidence that chef Abel Su was responsible for October’s menu because of the 3 that I tried, his was my favourite. But for the record, all 3 chefs are great.

Chef Abel started the dinner by sharing October’s menu was a sequel to his July’s menu. “I’m using philosophy of Chinese ingredient through a more contemporary mind set,” he explained. And after the presentation, we started our 9-course menu ($78) with:-


1) Dish #1 (above) – Chef Abel explained the standard recommendation from the fish mongers was to make fish ball when they bought the cougar pike. As such, he decided to play along with it and created this dish which was fish ball cougar-pike-ball wrapped with milk curd that’s done in the style of tofu. Further topped with cougar pike floss and vinaigrette made with fish bone. Really good.


2) Dish #2 (above) – A cold dish of chicken which was poached, cooked in sake and then shredded. Served with fish maw and goji berry sauce. The chicken was so tender and flavourful. I enjoyed it on its own. Didn’t really like the sauce.

3) Dish #3 (above) – Seared langoustine (tail) on sesame leaf tempura, topped with fresh sesame leaf and aged tangerine peel vinegar.


4) Dish #4 (above) – Boiled cabbage stuffed with chicken breast and its liver, angelica and onions. We were told it was also grilled for its smokiness. Accompanying paste was made with onion. Lots of it. If I didn’t hear wrongly, 15kg worth of onions were used.


5) Dish #5 (above) – Japanese turnip. Sous vide before grilled like a steak. Served with sauce made from roasted chicken skin, and crispy bits of chicken skin.


  

6) Dish #6 (above) – Chicken wings were deboned and stuffed with chestnut, shiitake mushroom and mochi before they are double fried, and glazed with caramel. We were encouraged to use our hands, and it was a delicious messy affair.


7) Dish #7 (above) – Chef Abel mentioned the other parts of the langoustine (head and shell) were used for this dish. Served with pickled radish, mustard green, crumbs and light emulsion. Really good. The langoustine risotto was so rich!


  

8) Dish #8 (above) – Peach gum (cooked in coconut water) layered over with osmanthus-flavoured shaved ice. I didn’t really like this though.


9) Dish #9 (above) – Black sesame tartlette and black sugar ice cream.

Having dined here 4 times now, I could confidently say Magic Square never fail to surprise and deliver. This (October) meal was outstanding. My IGGF and I were gushing over most of the dishes. My favourites were the langoustine dishes and chicken wing. And noting that the 3 chefs rotate and that Magic Square is a year-long project, it’s inevitable (for me) to make comparison; I compared chef Abel’s July and October menus and I could definitely see he is progressing and getting better! I am already looking forward to what he will bring to the table in January 2019. Yes, going to make reservation!

And I am also glad to say Magic Square has improved their reservation system. During our dinner, we were told we could make our reservation online through their instagram page.

I highly recommend one to check out Magic Square.

MAGIC SQUARE 田
5B Portsdown Road, Singapore
8181 0102, Website, Facebook
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Tue – Sat : 12:00 – 13:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Tue – Sat : 18:00 – 22:15 (Dinner)
Value: 8
Service: 8
* Closed on Mon, Sun