Dinner @ Kitcho 吉兆割烹壽司 (Taipei, Taiwan)

February 26, 2018 in Japanese

Common phrases that I get from my foodie friends include “You must eat seafood in Taiwan” and “Taiwan is the next best place to eat sushi after Japan.”

So with that, I started my hunt for a sushi restaurant to dine at in Taiwan. But without the luxury of time to research, I decided to go with what was trending on my instagram feed. Yes, Kitcho. And it was a good thing Kitcho could accept my reservation request through their Facebook page.

Two days prior to my dinner, I received a whatsapp text to re-confirm my reservation.

Arriving punctually at 8.30pm, I occupied the last empty seat at the counter. With no (physical) menu, the staff (verbally) informed me of the menu choices; NT3000 and NT3500 courses, or omakase which ranges from NT4000 to NT7000. The staff continued to explain the exact amount for omakase will only be known at end of the meal.

I did a quick conversion (in my mind) and went with omakase cause it really wasn’t too expensive (compared to Singapore’s dinner omakase). And after stating my dietary restrict (no beef), I started my omakase dinner with:-

1) Dish #1 (above) – Gingko nuts.

2) Dish #2 (above) – Flatfish (鰈魚).

3) Dish #3 (above) – Geoduck clam (mirugai).

4) Dish #4 (above) – Striped jack (shima-aji).

5) Dish #5 (above) – Japanese spotted prawn (botan-ebi).

6) Dish #6 (above) – Hairy crab topped with caviar.

7) Dish #7 (above) – Red sea urchin (aka uni) from Kyushu. I wanted to ask chef the reason for serving the sea urchin on wood instead of plate since the wood didn’t serve as a spoon, but my poor grasp of Chinese held me back.

8) Dish #8 (above) – Rock fish.

9) Dish #9 (above) – Hand-roll with minced tuna.


10) Dish #10 (above) – Sushi assortment of 愛魚女, big-eye snapper (kinmedai), baby snapper topped with chicken egg which was prepared with vinegar and sugar, and flounder (hirame).

11) Dish #11 (above) – Abalone served with sauce made with its liver.


12) Dish #12 (above) – Continued sushi assortment of lean tuna (akami), arctic surf clam (hokkigai), fin of flatfish (鰈魚的鰭邊), gizzard shad (kohada), premium tuna belly (otoro), sea urchin and egg omelette (tamago).

13) Dish #13 (above) – Chef asked if I was full and I shook my head. So he made me a special dish of caviar, minced tuna sandwiched between wafers. Wished he used something else besides wafers since I don’t like how it stick to the lips. Ha. But that aside, this was such a treat!

14) Dish #14 (above) – Fish tempura.

15) Dish #15 (above) – Clam soup.

16) Dish #16 (above) – Fruits and pumpkin pudding.

My omakase meal came up to NT6600. I reckon the special (item 13) jacked up the cost by quite a bit. So was I happy with my dining experience at Kitcho? Well… I wouldn’t say I was unhappy, but neither would I say I was extremely happy. It was a mediocre experience.

First being my poor grasp of Chinese. And that’s in no way the restaurant’s fault, of course. I had much difficulty understanding the chef. So that probably robbed me (much) of the full pleasure in knowing and enjoying what I ate. Secondly, I wasn’t exactly blown away by the food. Yes, it was good. But somehow, it wasn’t any different from my dining experience at other (equally reputable) sushi-ya. I admit, I’m stricter because it’s an overseas meal.

So if one is traveling to Taiwan, has only 1 slot for Japanese cuisine, and is looking for the sushi-ya, Kitcho may not make the cut. At least for me personally. It was a good dining experience, but not special. And knowing that I’ll be back to Taiwan again, I won’t stop hunting for that sushi-ya which impresses and is worth using our limited meal slots for when traveling in Taiwan.

That said, I am very appreciative that the staff responded to my messages when I enquired the names of (a few of) the fishes after dinner. Yes, I sent them my pictures via whatsapp. Keke.

KITCHO 吉兆割烹壽司
No. 48, Lane 181, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan
+886 2 2771 1020, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Sat : 12:00 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Mon – Sat : 18:00 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 7
Service: 8
* Closed on Sun

UPDATE: Restaurant was awarded 1 Michelin star by Michelin Guide Taipei 2018.

Lunch @ Ishi 石

December 31, 2017 in Japanese

It feels like it has been a while since I found a promising new sushi restaurant. So when I chanced upon ISHI, I got really excited. Keke. And thankfully, my IGGF (InstaGram GirlFriend) was equally interested to check out ISHI which is apparently opened by the same group who launched Izy Dining and Bar. With that, reservation was made for a weekend lunch. =)

But please be mindful that they are located in InterContinental Robertson Quay and not InterContinental Bugis. Imagine my horror when I reached the latter and couldn’t locate the restaurant. Blur me. Thankfully, I was early. So I managed to cabbed down to ISHI within 10 minutes. But yeah, I was late for our lunch reservation by 5 minutes. Oops.

After alighting from my taxi, the hotel staff showed me the (external) escalator which I was to take to level 2. Upon entering, I immediately noticed that ISHI’s kitchen was completely open. Interesting. And from the lunch menu, I ordered:-

1) Lunch omakase, $180 comprised of:-

(A) Dish #1 (above) – Botan-ebi, kelp and salmon roe paired with vinegar jelly and topped with gold flakes. It honestly couldn’t get any better. My girlfriend and I were in love. Haha.


(B) Dish #2 (above) – Chawanmushi. And it being December (winter), it’s the best season for shirako. So yes! Tara shirako (cod’s milt) was served in my egg custard. So nice.

(C) Dish #3 (above) – Sashimi. Assortment of chutoro (medium fatty tuna), kinmedai (big eye snapper), ishigakigai (giant clam) and shima aji (striped jack). And just in case I didn’t know what a shell fish was, head chef Masaaki Sakashita very friendly cutely took out the shell for me to see.

(D) Dish #4 (above) – And instead of wagyu beef, head chef Masaaki san replace mine with braised abalone. And I seriously, seriously love the bowl.


(E) Dish #5 (above) – Sushi (7 pieces). Flounder, kamasu (barracuda) with Okinawa salt, maguro zuke (marinated tuna), hokkigai (arctic surf clam), sawada (Spanish mackerel), shiro-ebi (baby white shrimp), and otoro (premium fatty tuna). And for the Spanish mackerel, head chef Masaaki san added a twist by swapping wasabi with Tasmania mustard. So yes, it was very interesting cause the mustard beads would go ‘pop pop’ in the mouth. And it’s crazily brilliant how the combination of Spanish mackerel and mustard actually worked.

(F) Dish #6 (above) – Rice bowl.

(G) Dish #7 (above) – Miso soup.

(H) Dish #8 (above) – And we got a Santa-looking strawberry since we dined during the Christmas (long) weekend. Too cute. And besides the cake, we were also told the whipped cream is handmade.

2) Tempura mori, $35 (above) – Upon hearing anago was one of the ingredients included in the assortment, I immediately went “One tempura mori please.” Keke. Besides anago, there were prawns (2 pieces), mushroom, pumpkin and onion.

My IGGF and I really loved our dining experience at ISHI. The ambience, the food and the service. Head chef Masaaki san was really friendly. I like how he knew when to join in our conversation and when to give us our space. In fact, my IGGF and I found head chef Masaaki san really familiar. And upon asking, we learnt he was previously at Hashida Sushi. Thus, the subtle similarity in terms of the executing and plating.

I strongly recommend ISHI. And what’s best is that one can enjoy dining without burning a hole in one’s purse. Will definitely return to ISHI for more meals.

1 Nanson Road, Intercontinental Singapore Robertson Quay, #02-06, Singapore
9829 8239, Facebook
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Tue – Sun : 12:00 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Tue – Sun : 18:30 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 8
Service: 8
* Closed on Mon

Lunch @ Ginza Sushi Ichi [Revisit]

December 5, 2017 in Japanese

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).

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