Archive for the ‘Japanese’ Category

Have you heard, have you heard??

The well-known KU DÉ TA in Singapore is now known as CÉ LA VI, after a rebranding exercise led by L Capital Asia, the Asian private equity business sponsored by LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton. Abbreviated from the French phrase, ‘C’est La Vie’ (‘This is life’), the newly launched CÉ LA VI at Marina Bay Sands Skypark will undergo a significant renovation this summer and I’m so thankful that I went for dinner a couple of weeks prior to the official announcement!

I must admit that I went with quite a low expectation of the food because the venue itself is already larger than life – iconic rooftop location commanding breathtaking views in a spectacular setting (go in the evening to catch the sunset!) – and will not have any problem attracting diners even if the cuisine is mediocre. But how wrong I was! True, I still think it’s a “to see and be seen” type of dining location but the Modern Asian cuisine churned out by the kitchen was impressive and I’d say 80% of the dishes we ordered were above average, cross my heart.


To kick start dinner, the crispy-sticky baby squid is a must-try! It was literally that – fried to a crisp with a thin sticky batter and this addictive bar bite disappeared from our table very quickly!

Crispy-Sticky Baby Squid ($19++)
black pepper, lime drizzle


Personally sourced by Executive Chef Frederic Faucheux, the swordfish is imported fresh from South Africa, where he was based for four years to help pioneer the highly lauded opening of Nobu in Cape Town. The firm and meaty texture of the swordfish made this a delightful starter.

Line Caught Wild Snapper Sashimi and Fresh Summer Truffle ($42++)
alba oil, roasted shallot, truffle salt


I’ll never say no to fatty melt-in-the-mouth chutoro (upper tuna belly section)! So fresh!

Sliced ‘Chūtoro’ Semi-Fatty Southern Bluefin Tuna ($48++)
wasabi soy, hajikame, lime


To balance the rich and sinful food to come, the grilled prawn salad was competently assembled though not particularly outstanding.

Grilled Prawn Salad ($22++)
baby spinach, parmesan, dried miso, truffle oil


The spicy tuna roll features prawn tempura atop maguro tuna and asparagus sushi. This was pretty normal and I prefer to get my fix of maki elsewhere!

Spicy Tuna Roll ($23++)
maguro tuna, prawn tempura, asparagus, spicy dressing


Miso eggplant is a love-it-or-hate-it kind of vegetable. Luckily for me, two of my dining companions didn’t like it which means all the more for me, yay! The grilled eggplant here is thick and heavily coated with the dark sweet-salty miso dressing.

Aubergine ($12++)
den miso, bonito shavings, sesame seed

Background: Pan Seared Hokkaido Scallops ($36++)
edamame, cauliflower purée, soy emulsion


An exceptional seafood option would be the signature roasted black cod (you gotta remember Chef used to be from Nobu!), expertly cooked to a tender succulent texture served with shishito, pickled red onions and lemon. The pan seared jumbo Hokkaido scallops matched with delicate flavours of cauliflower puree, soy emulsion and tempura edamame were also excellent!

Roasted Black Cod ($56++)
shishito, pickled red onions, lemon


For meat lovers, K highly recommends the Prime ‘Brandt Beef’ ribeye accompanied by homemade wasabi salsa, spinach and sesame dressing. I kept stealing bites of the blanched spinach on the side because of the fragrant sesame sauce! Honestly, it’s so delicious that it deserves a spot on the a la carte menu as a side dish.

U.S. Prime ‘Brandt Beef’ Ribeye ($54++)
wasabi salsa, spinach, goma dressing


Desserts at CÉ LA VI are difficult to pass on with the group’s Global Executive Pastry Chef and recent Iron Chef Thailand champion, Jason Licker’s philosophy to craft inspired Modern Asian desserts that’s irresistible even after a heavy meal!

Toasted Citrus Gateau ($18++)
kalamansi curd, blood orange, guava sorbet


If I can only pick one dessert (I hope this won’t ever happen!), it will definitely be the goma cake. I’m naturally inclined towards anything black sesame and with green tea in the mix? Just take my money! I love how the various components gel together and this is one beautiful dessert that is hard to forget!

Goma Cake ($18++)
black sesame cake, apricot, raspberry, matcha ganaché


Although it’s said to be an all-time favourite and signature dessert, I didn’t take to the white chocolate-junmai, with different elements and textures of yuzu scented fruits, salted toffee and white chocolate-sake cream. Can’t appreciate this, somewhat too complex to me.

White Chocolate-Junmai ($18++)
yuzu scented fruits, salted toffee, white chocolate-saké cream


#2 in my heart after the goma cake is the tropical coconut-pandan verrine since – yes, you guessed right – I’m also biased towards anything coconut and pandan! Love how refreshing it is, though I do wish there’s more of coconut sorbet in it.

Coconut-Pandan Verrine ($18++)
tropical fruit cream, coconut sorbet, pandan foam


My special thanks to Francesca and Megan for hosting dinner with such a fab view!

CÉ LA VI (Formerly KU DÉ TA)
SkyPark at Marina Bay Sands, Tower 3
1 Bayfront Avenue
6688 7688

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What used to be Sushi Kuu at Palais Renaissance is now Ginzawa, meaning ‘Silver River’ in Japanese. Price points are friendlier with an extensive menu of traditional Japanese fare elevated with a modern twist, from kaiseki and seasonal omakase to lunch set dons and chirashi.


Our meal began with a refreshingly light salad of briny-sweet cherry blossom shrimp and slightly pungent mizuna greens. Thereafter came something more interesting – the sake kinuta maki, a pretty and delicately rolled pickled daikon and salmon that brings to mind intricate kaiseki dishes.

Sakura Ebi Mizuna Salad ($22++)


I seldom eat fried food but when I do, they better deserve my calories! The tempura moriawase is definitely one of those sinful worthy dishes – an assortment of deep-fried sea eel, shrimps, veggies and the most memorable uni tempura because it was my first fried uni! I do think it is a waste to fry fresh seafood but you won’t hear me complaining when those decadent crisp seaweed pillows were filled with lusciously creamy uni~

Deluxe Tempura Moriawase ($35++)
anago ippon age, uni tempura, amaebi hotate kakiage


The grilled snapper was a revelation. I thought it was gindara – it looked like one and melted perfectly in the mouth like cod does! But nope, chef decided to use snapper instead, brushing it with a layer of caramelised egg yolk sauce and paired with a juicy squid ring stuffed with shishamo roe. Brilliant dish and one I would return for!

Tai Moto Yaki ($22++)
grilled snapper with egg yolk sauce


The kurobuta tsuke soba comprises of succulent kurobuta pork shabu shabu slices and cold soba served with hot dipping sauce perfumed with a dollop of grated citrusy yuzu. Compared to the other dishes, this was average and forgettable though.

Kurobuta Tsuke Soba ($20++)


During lunch, rice bowls such as bara chirashi, Japanese A5 wagyu don and kurobuta katsu don are available. Not to be missed is the sanshoku takara don! I call it the “three treasures” don – generous servings of sea urchin (K gave me his share of uni, score!), salmon roe and chopped fatty tuna cover a bed of sushi rice.

Sanshoku Takara Don ($65++)
only available in lunch set that comes with miso soup, chanwanmushi and dessert


To enjoy a variety of premium seafood, the chirashi don is a safe bet. Words are superfluous when all the ingredients are so fresh!

Tokusen Hokkai Chirashi Don ($50++)
only available in lunch set that comes with miso soup, chanwanmushi and dessert


My thanks to Charmaine for hosting dinner!

Ginzawa Japanese Restaurant
#01-07 Palais Renaissance
390 Orchard Road
6736 0100

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Sakari Sushi Restaurant

Look at this gorgeous bowl of bara chirashi don from Sakari!

Very clean tasting (definitely lighter on the palate compared to my usual bara dose from Hanare which is just further up the street) and worth a try at least once.

($22++ for lunch, $25++ for dinner)


Sakari Sushi Restaurant
#01-05, 1 Tras Link
9739 7607

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Let me start by stating the easy conclusion of this post.

We like Mikuni.

Especially when we have the FAR card in hand!


Mikuni has four seating areas – sushi counter (not the best as it is very near to the entrance), robatayaki zone (cozy room), teppanyaki section and a main dining hall. We always sit at the teppanyaki table because K loves watching the chef in action and I’m, well, more practical – I just love the tray of condiments laid out neatly in front of us ha. It sounds gross but I can drink the sesame sauce, it’s that potently good. And don’t get me started on the crispy garlic. I couldn’t stop munching on those addictive little chips!! Garlic breath so what, haha.

prawn crackers, organic mixed green salad with sesame dressing


Having been to Mikuni for both lunch and dinner, I prefer the former as their lunch sets are of good quality and value for money. My weirdly-named business bento had everything I like – from heavenly truffle salmon sashimi (cheaper form of the signature truffle kampachi) and soft kinki fish to a juicy grilled miso eggplant which I still crave for! Plus, I was given anago tempura instead of the default chicken karaage, score!

Business Bento ($68++)
soya braised hokkaido kinki fish, truffle salmon sashimi, futomaki (toro, shrimp tempura, unagi, tobiko), anago tempura, grilled miso eggplant


K likes teppanyaki; I do not. In the 2+ years that we’ve been together, we’ve only had teppanyaki together once (it was one of the first few dates so obviously he didn’t know I’m so fussy about food LOL). Predictably, he jumped at the chance of finally having a teppanyaki meal without subjecting me to the same!

Teppanyaki Set ($68++)
king prawns with golden sauce, miso marinated cod, asparagus, shiitake mushroom


I have to admit, some of his dishes were pretty good (to a non-teppan lover)! Though the king prawns were smoldered in a creamy eggy sauce, they were bouncy and fresh. Likewise the mildly marinated miso cod, lovely piece that melted in the mouth. And I’m sure K was glad that he didn’t have to share his medium rare tenderloin with me! FYI – chawanmushi, garlic fried rice and miso soup also included!

australian beef tenderloin with garlic soya sauce, crispy garlic, beansprouts


My eyes are always bigger than my stomach so despite the amount of food we’ve had, I ordered an additional item from the a la carte menu too! All eyes were on us the lobster when it was served. Seriously, everyone looked over and the lady beside K even asked aloud what did we order haha. The lobster topped with torched uni cream was simply delicious. I won’t even bother describing it!

Lobster Uni Yaki ($48++)
grilled boston lobster, sea urchin cream


The dessert for set lunch is not fixed. On that day, we had an intense espresso ice cream (wish there was more!) and the staff brought out a scoop of green tea ice cream for K since it was an early birthday celebration ❤

espresso ice cream, matcha ice cream, azuki jelly, matcha truffles


Because we really enjoyed lunch, we went back for dinner shortly after! Fresh tongues of buttery uni with crispy nori on the side were the perfect starter~

Uni Sashimi ($38++)
hakodate sea urchin


Both unagi and salmon belly maki rolls were nice stomach fillers but nothing spectacularly different from the ones we can get from Koh Sushi or The Sushi Bar. Nevertheless, there’s about 8 other varieties on the menu which I want to try!

Mikuni Maki ($25++)
bbq eel, cream cheese, caviar
Salmon Belly ($26++)
grated green apple, salmon roe, avocado


I’m a sucker for anything sous vide and the tako kari-kari age (love the kari-kari name!) is one of the best octopus dishes ever! Tender meat (K said the texture was similar to chicken!), thin crisp batter, aaaaamazing.

Tako Kari-Kari Age ($30++)
sous vide octopus, shishito, wasabi mayo


Lobster uni yaki again! Still as good as before!


I think the wagyu don was the most boring item tried and tested. K won’t order it again, I’m 99.999% sure.

Kagoshimi Wagyu Beef Don ($48++)
wagyu beef, onion, crispy egg, dried seaweed, rice


Level 3, Fairmont Singapore
80 Bras Basah Road
6431 6156

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My title above says it all. FUKU serves fugu in fine dining kaiseki style.

And I’m sure you already know this – fugu (a.k.a. puffer fish/blowfish/globefish) is potentially fatal if prepared wrongly! Well, for the love of food, just risk it!


I joke.

I wasn’t even worried at all.

By Japanese law, chefs have to be specially licensed by the government before they can prepare and serve fugu to guests. Likewise for FUKU’s chefs, who have more than 20 years of experience in Shimonoseki (the specialty area of fugu). All the air-flown fish have to be removed of their internal organs and cleaned, then meet strict regulations by recognized Japanese authorities before they can be imported into Singapore.

hot sake with sun-dried fugu


There are more than 100 species of fugu but only 20 are edible. FUKU, being the first restaurant in Asia outside Japan to serve such a fine delicacy all year-round, imports the prized Tora Fugu (Tiger Puffer Fish) twice a week by air direct from Shiminoseki. Freshness guaranteed! And as you can already imagine, fugu dining is expensive.

Very expensive.

thinly sliced fugu sashimi that was once referred to as gun-powder because of its instantaneous death if not prepared right


Although there is an a la carte menu, the specialization at FUKU is kaiseki – full course traditional set menus which range from $150++ per person for a 6-course (Ebisu) to $580++ per person for a 9-course Wild Fugu set (Shichi-Fuku). Out of the dishes tried and tested, my favourite were the sashimi and yuniki!

parboiled fugu skin


The sashimi was beautiful; paper-thin shavings intricately presented on a patterned plate. Some may find it bland but I rather like how clean it tasted. Delicate strips of blanched gelatinous fugu skin were served on the side too. Eat more as they are rich in collagen!

fugu is served deep-fried giving a crisp and fragrant texture on the outside while maintaining a meaty fleshy bite inside


After having fugu sashimi, the “normal” sashimi (though fresh) now seemed too mainstream haha.

Assorted Sashimi
salmon, scallop, tuna, ebi, squid


The most “fear factor” dish of the night had to be the puffer fish’s milt or sperm sacs! I’ve had shirako thrice so far (Tokyo, Bangkok, Singapore) and I can safely conclude that I don’t like it. Too creamy, not for me.

Fugu Shirako
fugu sperm sacs


Coincidentally, it was a cold evening and the fugu hotpot was most welcome. Thick chunks of flesh and bones along with an assortment of vegetables and tofu were stirred into a boiling pot of broth prepared only with dashi water and a big slab of kombu (kelp). Towards the end, rice and egg were added to the rich and sweetened stock from the hotpot and ta-da, a tasty fugu porridge was produced! A very comforting way to end an elaborate spread!

fugu hotpot


Don’t miss the real fugu hanging from the ceiling near the entrance!


My thanks to Melody for hosting such an extravagant dinner!

FUKU Fine Fugu Kaiseki Restaurant
14 Mohamed Sultan Road, #01-01

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Koji Sushi Bar 米花

We chanced upon a gem for lunch yesterday! Koji Sushi Bar serves various lunch sets complete with salad and miso soup but I think the chirashi don ($17++) is the most popular. Rightly so too as the cubes of salmon, tuna, scallop were very fresh (minimal seasoning) and they even threw in negitoro and ikura! To up the healthy factor for the CBD crowd, they even offer a mixed grains/brown rice option (additional $1++). Utterly delicious!

~photo from Instagram~


Koji Sushi Bar 米花
#01-42, 3 Pickering Street
6225 6125

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If not for the unexpected (and unfortunate!) closure of Hanare on a Saturday, we wouldn’t have gone to Sushi Kou because that was not in the immediate “let’s go eat there!” plans. And yes, I plan every meal hehe. Anyway, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise and we like our ala carte orders (usual favourites so everything was oishii!) enough that one day soon, we will be back for the omakase, which I heard is priced very reasonably for the quality~

Clockwise from bottom right:

yuzu and green tea ice cream, negitoro maki, unagi avocado maki, soft shell crab maki, tamago, anago sushi


Sushi Kou
1 Tras Street
6444 8433

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