Dinner @ Sushi Yujo | Sushi Restaurant in Tanjong Pagar

July 26, 2022 in Japanese, Singapore, Singapore, Sushi

I usually book myself in for a sushi meal only after my craving kicks in. But what I realised is that I typically miss one whole season by doing such. Not to say trying to make a booking with just 2-4 weeks advanced notice isn’t quite possible now, post-COVID. So these days, I try to be more diligent by securing 1 to 2 sushi meals every month, with or without my craving.

In fact, I further divided my to-try list of of sushi restaurants into expensive and affordable. Coincidentally (or not), the expensive ones are helmed by Japanese chefs while the affordable ones are by non-Japanese chefs. So yes. To manage budget, 1 expensive sushi meal and 1 affordable sushi meal per month. =)

Opened recently in mid 2022, Sushi Yujo is new to Singapore sushi scene. But not Sushi Yujo’s head chef Desmond Fong. He was previously at Sushi Jin. Though I didn’t find him familiar, but that’s because I dined at Sushi Jin back in 2014 when it was under the helm of Raymond Tan. But I digress…

Reservation was made via Chope for a weekday dinner. And in my reservation, I specifically requested for head chef. Glad I did cause it turned out there was more than 1 chef behind the sushi counter. And 2 days before dinner, the restaurant dropped me a WhatsApp text with their dinner menu. There were 4 options; Hogo Sushi set ($198), Chusei Omakase set ($198), Yujo Signature Omakase set ($288) and Premium Omakase ($348). After much contemplation, I texted back with the selection for Yujo Signature. Uh huh, I stopped going for the most expensive menu. Gasp.

I was unfortunately running late on the day of dinner and texted the restaurant at 6pm that I would only reach at 6.45pm. Thankfully it wasn’t an issue because they don’t start everyone at the same timing. Located at level 2 of Amara Singapore, the interior decor of Sushi Yujo certainly stood out with its kinetic flower sculpture which pulsated with blooming movements. I made eye contact with chefs far too many times because I kept staring at the sculpture (while trying to figure out the design). Ha. After taking my order for drinks, I started my Yujo Signature Omakase, $288 with:-

1) Appetiser (above) – Water shield, baby abalone, river crab, and baby white shrimp (shiro ebi), salmon roe (ikura) and caviar.

2) Carpaccio (above) – Sea bream with sliced truffle, caviar and drizzle of truffle oil.

3) Sashimi (5 kinds) (above) – Premium fatty tuna (otoro), scallop, medium fatty tuna (chutoro), flounder and sea urchin, and amberjack.


4) Chef’s Signature (above) – Abalone served with its liver sauce. This was really good. I wasn’t sure if I be served with any rice thereafter, so I tried to clean up the sauce as much as I could. So when the sous chef came round later with the rice ball, head chef Desmond must have noticed the (very) little sauce left and asked if I wanted more. “Yes. A little bit,” I replied. Keke. And it was also from this that I noticed their sushi rice (shari) was on the stickier side.

5) Cooked Dish (above) – King crab.



6) Sushi (5 pieces) (above) – Lightly torched (aburi) spotted prawn (botan ebi), short spine sea urchin (bafun uni), aburi tuna belly with chopped tuna, caviar and gold dust, aburi barracuda (kamasu) with yuzu pepper, and aburi scallop with foie gras, sea urchin, caviar and gold flakes.

7) Chef’s Finale (above) – Sushi roll (temaki) of chopped tuna, crispy bits and salmon roe. This was really enjoyable.

8) Soup (above) – Clam soup.

9) Dessert – Musk melon, mango and grape.

Head chef Desmond took charge of all the fish preparation. That meant he also sliced the fishes for his sous chefs to make their sushi. And it’s probably because he was busy with the fish prepping that his sous chef would do the plating of the non-sushi dishes. Including for customers seated at head chef Desmond’s end of the counter. But don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed the food dished out at Sushi Yujo. Both non-sushi and sushi legs of the meal.

In fact, because I went with the $288 omakase course instead of the $348 premium omakase course, I was pretty surprised when my course included ingredients such as abalone, truffle, premium fatty tuna (otoro) and sea urchin. It made me wonder how more premium the ingredients could get in the $348 course. So knowing that I didn’t go for the most expensive course yet was able to enjoy premium ingredients, it felt good. Keke.

However, I thought they could go on easier with their blow torch. 4 out of the 5 sushi were aburi. There’s a sushi course for dinner (Hugo, $198) which serves 12 pieces of sushi. I hope the aburi pieces are kept to a maximum 4. But that said, I really enjoyed the 2 fusion sushi pieces. They were fun and tasty!

Will I recommend Sushi Yujo? Yes! But do manage expectation, and know that the food here are not 100% traditional.

165 Tanjong Pagar Road, Amara Hotel, #02-26, Singapore
8877 8831, Website
Overall: 7.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Tues – Sun : 12:00 – 15:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 8
Tues – Sun : 18:30 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 8
Service: 7
* Closed on Mon

Lunch @ Sushi Sato | Sushi Restaurant in Dempsey

April 10, 2022 in Japanese

Opened fairly recently in November 2021, Sushi Sato has to be 1 of the hardest sushi restaurants to book to date. Seats for the following month are released on the first day of the month at 10am, on their website. Ie, seats for June are released on 1 April 10am. And seats are taken up… Within minutes?

My first attempt at booking was on 1 December for February 2022. Despite setting reminder in my calendar, I missed it because 1 December was a weekday. Had to work. Was in meeting… And during my 2nd attempt, I loaded the website only to see just a few weekday dinner and lunch slots left. Since I wasn’t too keen on dinner, I booked myself for a Friday lunch. Yes, even if that meant taking leave.

I reached the restaurant at 12.15pm for my 12.30pm lunch appointment. And seeing no one behind the reception desk, my first thought was “Oh, they only open at 12.30pm sharp.” So instead of trying to open the entrance door, I obediently waited outside. It was only after a couple that reached minutes after me and let themselves in that I realised how silly I was. I of course waited a few minutes before entering after them… Ha.

Interior (Picture Credit: Link)

I walked past a private room before entering into the main space where chef-owner Yuji Sato was. The L-shaped counter could sit at least 10 people. But I was surprised to see I was the last to reach for the 12.30pm seating despite it being 12.20pm only. There are 3 options on the food menu. A friend happened to have lunch at Sushi Sato 2 days before me, and shared the difference between utsukushi menu ($280) and tomi menu (from $350) was that the latter had an additional rice bowl (donburi) with grilled fish and the sea urchin-salmon roe bowl was replaced with 2 sushi instead. So thanks to my friend, making my choice of menu was a straight forward decision.

And with that, I started my utsukushi menu, $280 with:-

1) Seasonal starter (above) – Firefly squid.

2) Chawanmushi (above) – Steamed egg with seasonal ice fish.

3) Seasonal sashimi (above) – Smoked medium fatty tuna (chutoro) and flounder.

4) Sushi #1 (above) – Marinated tuna (maguro zuke).

5) Sushi #2 (above) – Flounder fin (engawa).

6) Cooked dish #1 (above) – Mountain vegetable (burdock) tempura. This was very nice. The batter wasn’t exactly paper thin, but I felt the thickness was necessary for it to be crunchy. And the batter wasn’t just plain flour. I could taste it’s seasoned. Good choice I say because while the burdock was juicy, it would have been bland on its own.

7) Sushi #3 (above) – Japanese spotted prawn (botan ebi).

8) Sushi #4 (above) – Gizzard shad (kohada). Head chef Sato san made a joke by saying “lizard” shyly. Haha.

After serving his first sushi, head chef Sato san checked with every customer if the rice portion was fine. I noticed mine was small. As though it was specifically made that way for female customers. Didn’t say anything until after I had my fourth sushi.

His sushi rice was slightly acidic and stickier than usual, but went really well with his neta (sushi topping). But with only a small portion of rice, I was left with just the neta (in my mouth) after a few chews. It’s as though I was eating sashimi instead of sushi. So yes, I requested for more sushi rice simply because I wanted to continue tasting the rice in my mouth! :) And I wasn’t alone. The female customer beside me ask for more rice for her sushi too!

9) Sushi #5 (above) – Arctic surf clam (hokkigai).

10) Sushi #6 (above) – Ink squid (sumi ika).

11) Sushi #7 (above) – Smoked baby tuna (meiji maguro).

12) Cooked dish #2 (above) – Grilled squid legs.

13) Sushi #8 (above) – Adult yellowtail (buri).

14) Sushi #9 (above)

15) Sushi #10 (above) – Chicken grunt (isaki).

16) Sushi #11 (above) – Scallop (hotate).

17) Rice bowl (above) – Rice bowl of sea urchin and salmon roe.

18) Soup (above)

19) Sushi #12 (above) – Premium fatty tuna (otoro).

20) Hand roll (above)

21) Dessert (above) – Strawberry, orange and warabi mochi.

I left the restaurant feeling really satisfied. The food was very on point! I especially enjoyed his sushi rice. It complemented the sushi toppings very well. In fact, I regretted not adding more sushi. My friend had mentioned the needlefish (sayori) was outstanding. But then again, it was a little tricky with my situation to ‘steal’ head chef Sato san’s attention.

My fellow diners happened to be head chef Sato san’s regulars. Like everyone in the room but me. I felt out-of-place because everyone were unconsciously (or consciously) making their presence felt by talking loudly, toasting head chef Sato san non-stop, making conversations with both head chef Sato san and the waiting staff, etc. In fact, I was thankful I wasn’t offered the drinks menu because I would have ordered just a 180ml sake while the other groups were ordering bottle after bottle. Gasp.

Although the rowdier lunch group slightly marred my dining experience, I would still strongly recommend Sushi Sato. For $280, my meal was very value-for-money especially with the range and quality of fishes served. I would recommend lunch over dinner as I heard dinner menu ranges from $380 to $580. But if money isn’t an issue, go for it I say! Though I reckon it’s going to be a challenge for a long while to secure bookings at Sushi Saito.

Can’t wait to be back!

6B Dempsey Road, Singapore
6971 8265, Website
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 9
Mon – Sat : 12:00 – 15:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 8
Mon – Sat : 18:30 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 8
Service: 7
* Closed on Sun

[Revisit] Lunch @ Ashino | Sushi Restaurant at CHIJMES

March 7, 2022 in Japanese

My last visit to Ashino was in 2016. I was so scarred by my terrible dining experience then, that I knew a return visit will never happen. However my trusted foodie friend (anyone still remember InstaGram Bottomless Pit (IGBP)?) went in recent years and assured me that things have certainly picked up. It’s only with his nudge push that I decided to take the leap of faith and revisit Ashino.

Reservation was made via Chope for a weekend lunch. I wasn’t sure if chef-owner Taku Ashino san was still the sole chef behind the sushi counter, so I added my request for ‘head chef only’.

When I arrived at the restaurant at 12.30pm, 2 groups were already seated and had commenced their meals. The last group entered shortly after me at 12.35pm. Was glad I indicated my request for head chef in my reservation because there were 2 chefs behind the sushi counter.

Was presented with the lunch menu after I took my seat. I contemplated between the ‘lunch omakase’ menu ($275) and ‘special omakase’ menu ($400). I decided to go big and ordered the ‘special omakase’ menu comprising 7 appetisers, 13 pieces of sushi, miso soup and dessert. And with that, I started my Special omakase menu, $400 with:-

1) Sushi #1 (above) – 10-days aged blue fin tuna (250kg).

2) Sushi #2 (above) – 4-days aged striped prawn from Hokkaido, with its roe.

3) Appetiser #3 (above) – Steamed egg (chawanmushi) with flesh from a 5.5kg king crab.

4) Sushi #3 (above) – Razor clam and a strip of seaweed that’s out of sight because it’s sandwiched between the sushi rice and razor clam.

5) Appetiser #2 (above) – Grilled shinning eye fish (mehikari).

6) Sushi #4 (above) – 12-days aged flounder.

7) Appetiser #3 (above) – Wasn’t sure if I heard it right, but was told the yellow tail (buri) was smoked for 9 days. And served with spicy horseradish, although it really wasn’t spicy. But this was pretty good. Particularly enjoyed the contrast in temperatures; Cold horseradish against the warm yellow tail.

8) Sushi #5 (above) – Belt fish belly. Interestingly, the fish was served warm.

9) Appetiser #4 (above) – And was told to have these in the sequence of octopus, scallop and its liver, and codfish milt. The scallop seemed to be heavily marinated with sesame oil. Wasn’t sure if I enjoyed it. But I certainly understood why the codfish milt had to be consumed last. The sauce was heavier and easily overwhelmed the sesame oil.

10) Sushi #6 (above) – Cherry blossom trout (sake masu) from Hokkaido.

11) Appetiser #5 (above) – Smelt (wakasagi) tempura from Hokkaido. I enjoyed this.

12) Sushi #7 (above) – Squid.

13) Sushi #8 (above) – Medium fatty tuna (chutoro). From 218kg blue fin tuna.

14) Sushi #9 (above) – Needlefish (sayori).

15) Appetiser #6 (above) – Sea eel (anago). Presented by sous chef, I was surprised when he mentioned “anago” because it was white. I am too used seeing my anago brown. Haha. And this was pretty good; Held its texture well. Firm yet juicy.


16) Appetiser #7 (above) – Assortment of 4 crabs. Starting from top left and in clockwise direction, I was given thorny crab, swimmer crab, hairy crab and king crab. And I enjoyed the swimmer crab the most. I guess there’s a reason why it didn’t have any accompanying sauce. Cause its meat is sweet on its own? Keke. Second favourite was king crab and its roe sauce (left saucer).

17) Sushi #10 (above) – Golden eye snapper. Was told instead of wasabi, this was served with citrus pepper.


18) Sushi #11 (above) – Baby white anchovy (shirauo) steamed on cherry blossom (sakura) leaves. And my neighbours were right. It tasted a little like coconut.

19) Sushi #12 (above) – Violet sea urchin (murasaki uni).

20) Fish soup (above) – Soup made from leftover bones from the fishes used for lunch service. Bones were grilled before boiled. This was really good. Very light on the palette.

21) Sushi #13 (above) – Egg omelette (tamago).

The staff asked if I wanted to add more sushi before desserts was served. Tempting, but I decided not to. The staff went on to say I could choose between ice cream and fruits for my desserts. I asked if I could have both, which the staff responded with “Add on?” I nodded my head. And I know… Like why was I adding on desserts instead of adding on sushi.

22) Dessert (above) – Rock melon, apple, strawberry and orange.

23) Ice cream, + $10 (above) – Fermented sake ice cream. I really liked the texture. It was similar to gooey gelato? There was a slight stretch to it. And I was told to enjoy its original flavour first. Which I did with 2 mouthfuls before the staff poured sake over my remaining ice cream.

My meal came up to $416 (before GST and service charge). $400 for the food, $10 for additional ice cream and $6 for my iced green tea.

Did head chef Ashino san manage to redeem himself with this meal? Yes. He has certainly improved over the past 5.5 years. His sushi was definitely better than what I last had; Sushi rice was sharp and sushi was kneaded firmly. If you read my previous review, his sushi used to be very loosely kneaded. To the extent that it was very hard to pick it up.

Though I am going to be very honest and real about the fishes which were aged. I didn’t think the aging did much to bring out the flavour of the fishes.

There’s also something else that’s bothering me. The menu mentioned 13 pieces of sushi for my ‘special omakase’ menu. However, when I was sharing my lunch experience with IGBP, I realised I was only given 12 pieces. Asked IGBP if tamago is counted as a sushi piece, to which he said it shouldn’t be. IGBP shared with me the pictures from his previous Ashino meal and it was clear that tamago wasn’t in the (sushi) count. And let’s just say… That made me slightly upset because that additional 1 sushi over the $270 ‘lunch omakase’ menu was one of the reasons why I opted for the $400 ‘special omakase’ menu. And since I was dining solo, I got to pay more attention to my surroundings. I remembered everyone had a ’46-days aged marli (makajiki)’. Remembered that distinctly because I was impressed by the mere mention of ’46-days aged’. But to be fair, I wasn’t sure if that’s supposed to be in my menu since I was the only one having the ‘special omakase’ menu.

Coincidentally, I happened to have an ongoing Whatsapp conversation with Ashino staff and curiosity got the better of me. I asked if the tamago was meant to be the last sushi, and was told it should either be hand roll or anago (depending on the course). Errr… Okie. So I guess head chef Ashino san really missed out my last sushi.

Which of course got me wondering… Will you check with chef if you realised you were given 1 less sushi during the meal? Unfortunately for me, I probably wouldn’t. Too timid lah. *Shrug*

So to the most important question… Will I recommend Ashino? Well, let’s say it’s “yes” and “no”. Yes because I enjoyed his strongly-vinegared sushi rice. No because the sushi-s failed to wow. But that’s also because my expectation of the food was higher since I went with the $400 ‘special omakase’ menu. Had I went with the mid-range menu (say the $275 ‘lunch omakase’ menu or even the $220 ‘sushi omakase’ menu), I would say it’s a good deal. My dishes weren’t that different from the other groups who didn’t opt for the $400 menu.

So to conclude clearly (ha)… Ashino is worth a visit. But stick to the $220 ‘sushi omakase’ menu. Or the ‘$275 ‘lunch omakase’ menu if you like some side dishes alongside your sushi. And don’t feel shy adding on more sushi. My neighbours requested for 2 more sushi, and they were given seared premium fatty tuna (aburi otoro) sushi and snow crab leg sushi. Ain’t sure how much that would cost, but the add-on sushi certainly looked good.

30 Victoria Street, CHIJMES, #01-23, Singapore
6684 4567, Website
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Tues – Sat : 12:00 – 14:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Tues – Sun : 18:00 – 21:30 (Dinner)
Value: 6
Service: 7
* Closed on Mon