Dinner @ ESORA

January 28, 2019 in Japanese

Opened in August 2018, ESORA was one restaurant which opening I was looking forward to. And as taken from their website… Set in a heritage shophouse on Mohamed Sultan Road, ESORA is a kappo-style fine dining restaurant helmed by head chef Shigeru Koizumi. And guided by chef Koizumi san’s affinity with nature, ESORA showcases modern Japanese cuisine.

However I only got to dine at ESORA in December, 4 months after their opening. You see… I prefer to wait it out a little before visiting a new restaurant. And by the time I was ready to visit ESORA (ie, in November), most of my friends had already visited ESORA. Yes, they are super fast.. So the only way to entice them to return with me was when ESORA started serving the winter menu.

It would be nice to dine in a big group. But at ESORA, one should dine in pairs because the restaurant interestingly oddly only assign counter seats to groups with 2 or less. And from the menu (pages 1, 2), we ordered:-

1) 9 course menu, $278 comprised of:-


(A) Pre-appetiser (above) – Broth made with dashi, kelp (kombu), yuzu and bonito flakes.


  

(B) Foie gras monaka (above) – With persimmon, kaffir lime and sesame. And for my friend who preferred not to have foie gras, she was served monaka with sea eel (anago), pumpkin and mandarin instead.


(C) Kaviari caviar (above) – With celery roots, clam (hamaguri) and yuzu.


(D) Fugu karaage (above) – Shiokombu salad and sudachi.


  
  

(E) Sashimi selection (above) – Bonito, Spanish mackerel (sawara), barracuda (kamasu) and sea urchin (uni).


(F) Steamed abalone (above) – With white maitake mushroom and yuzu.


(G) Grilled kinki (above) – With spinach.

(H) Smoked duck (above) – As we don’t take beef, the ‘omi wagyu with shiitake mushroom, onion and aged akazu’ dish was replaced with duck. We didn’t quite like this though cause of the texture.


  

(I) Snow crab donabe – For this, the staff came up with the claypot and showed us the crab within. And my friend had super sharp eyes because she spotted the tag on the crab. Ha! So obviously, the shells were only for display. After which, the staff brought it back to the open-concept kitchen where chef Koizumi san started portioning. And it was noticed they had done most of the works beforehand when containers of crab flesh, etc were brought out. My friend had a valid point by saying that actually gave our crab rice bowl less ‘wow factor’. Ie, they should only deshell the crab on the spot even if it meant we had to wait longer. But… I had 2 bowls nonetheless. Keke.

(J) Miso soup (above)



(K) Palate cleanser, Complimentary (above) – This was simply awesome. I would never look at pears the same way anymore. So good.

  

(L) Wasanbon ice cream (+ $38, Alba white truffle) (above) – Sweet potato (anno imo) and Japanese sugar syrup (kuromitsu).


  

(M) Petit fours (above)

(N) Matcha (above)

Although I had not dined at Odette yet, I felt a lot of familiarity between Odette and ESORA due to the largely similar colour palette used in the restaurants’ decor. My friend shared some of the staff were also transferred from Odette to ESORA, which one shouldn’t be surprised since the restaurants are managed by the same group (The Lo & Behold Group).

  

And as we made our way out of the restaurant, the staff were standing by at the exit with small paper bags. And in it, we were given castella cake. Such a nice gesture.

Would I recommend ESORA? I honestly loved the space and the service. I could feel the staff’s sincerity and warmth especially as they introduced every dish detailed-ly with wide smiles. So lovely! Food wise… Let’s say it was a promising start. I love the attention to details. But something just felt amiss. Couldn’t quite put a finger to it. But I am pretty sure ESORA will just get better with time. Give them a few more months! And counter seats are highly recommended for a more intimate experience. Since it’s facing the open-concept kitchen where one could watch experience everything. Keke.

ESORA
15 Mohamed Sultan Road, Singapore
6365 1266, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Thur – Fri : 12:00 – 14:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 8
Tue – Sat : 19:00 – 21:00
Value: 7
Service: 8
* Closed on Mon, Sun

Dinner @ Kappo Shunsui 割烹 旬水 (Revisit)

January 22, 2019 in Japanese

My siao-on instagram foodie friends were keen in visiting Kappo Shunsui for their supper menu. And since Kappo Shunsui’s head chef had changed from Tomo Watanabe to Nobu Nishi from my past visit, I thought “why not.” And since we were visiting for their supper menu, we agreed to dine at 9pm.

However, when the call was made to make our reservation, we were informed there was no supper menu. Ie, only dinner menu. Hmm… And in the same tele-conversation, the staff mentioned there’s $150 (8 courses) and $250 (9 courses) for us to choose from. Since the main difference between the 2 menus was a beef dish, we decided to go with $150.


On the day of our dinner, my ‘siao-on’-sters agreed to meet straight at the restaurant. And to enter, one was required to press the console for the staff to open the door. But regular customers would be able to open the entrance door easily just by scanning one’s finger print as the restaurant would have regular’s fingerprints registered into the digital lock system. And since we had pre-selected our menu, we commenced mizu course ($150) with:-


1) Dish #1 (above) – Bonito.


2) Dish #2 (above) – Fish cake with scallop, melon skin and eggplant in dashi broth.

3) Dish #3 (above) – Sashimi assortment of medium fatty tuna (chutoro) and lean tuna (akami).


  

4) Dish #4 (above) – Sweet fish (ayu) tempura served with seasonal vegetables (yam, corn and green pepper).

5) Dish #5 (above) – Big-eye snapper (kinmedai) and winter melon.


6) Dish #6 (above) – Rice topped with sea urchin and salmon roe (ikura) in claypot.

7) Dish #7 (above) – Miso soup.

8) Dish #8 (above) – Sweet corn pudding.

9) Brown rice tea, Complimentary (above)

Would I still recommend Kappo Shunsui? Well… I really ain’t too sure. There wasn’t many “wow” moments except for the bonito dish. I am sure the ingredients served depended on the season, but I doubt it would have been any more impressive had we opted for the $250 course. You know… Like better ingredients would be used.

But if one was in Somerset and needed a quiet-yet-can-still-impress eatery to go for late dinner or supper, Kappo Shunsui would be the place. Although walking within Cuppage Plaza to get to Kappo Shunsui wouldn’t be that quiet. Ha.

KAPPO SHUNSUI 割烹 旬水
5 Koek Road, Cuppage Plaza, #04-02, Singapore
6732 0192, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Tue – Thur, Sun : 18:00 – 01:00
Ambience: 7
Fri – Sat : 18:00 – 02:00
Value: 7
Service: 7
* Closed on Mon

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 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