Special-Occasion Japanese Omakase

HEAR:
Click here to listen to this week’s episode!

SEE:
Just in time for Mothers’ Day this Sunday, here’s a suggestion for a restaurant that will certainly pamper Mum in everyway – from the surroundings, to the service, to the food. Take our Makan Kaki, Chef Tim Ross-Watson‘s word for it – he’s proclaimed Hashida Japanese at Mandarin Gallery as one of, if not THE MOST, memorable meals. Chef Tim admits that he rarely says anything is amazing and is very picky, so trust him when he says this will be one of the most exquisite meals you’ll have. It’s definitely fine-dining, special occasion food, but so worth the money you pay for the quality of the entire experience.

Hashida is an Omakase restaurant and the first to be opened outside of its original home in Tokyo, headed by Master Sushi Chef, Tokio Hashida. Chef Hashida makes regular trips to oversee his restaurant here in Singapore, and if you’re lucky enough as Chef Tim was to have him serve you, you’re in for a sublime treat! Chef Tim’s most distinct memory of his meal at Hashida is when Chef Hashida pulled out the most enormous slab of the freshest Tuna Belly (or Otoro) from under his counter and expertly extracted a huge slice (almost as big as his mobile phone!), which he then gently laid on a tiny ball of sushi rice. These are fish-to-rice ratios that Chef Tim was impressed with. Otoro is the premium part of the tuna belly, fatty and melt-in-your-mouth, looking almost like a slab of marbled beef. Lots of white, with hints of pink. Stunning. This Hashida Sushi Signature is a must-try! Everything is exquisite to look at and taste, yet clean and simple. Even something as basic as Chawanmushi (steamed egg tofu) is elevated.

From start to finish, you will be well-taken care of at Hashida. The interiors are calming, zen and very pristine. The counter seats are comfortable and at just the right height , the service is impeccable and of course, the food outstanding. The Omakase menu changes seasonally, but rest assured you get the very best quality of produce and dish after dish of beautiful food that runs the gamut from sashimi to sushi to noodles, shellfish and meat, all washed down with copious amounts of sake!

Dinners are elaborate and luxurious, but if you prefer, lunch is also a lot of fun, as the chefs engage in a lot of banter with customers for a thoroughly enjoyable, lively experience.

TASTE:
HASHIDA SUSHI SINGAPORE
333A Orchard Road
#04-16 Mandarin Gallery
S(9238897)

Open Tues – Sunday 12-3pm; 7-10pm (Closed Mondays)

Tel: 6733 2114

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Where a Japanese Chef goes for Good Sushi in Singapore

HEAR:
Listen to this week’s super-fresh sushi-laden episode here!

SEE:
shiraishiHot on the heels of his recent Michelin Star, Terra Tokya-Italian Restaurant’s Chef-Owner Seita Nakahara returns to recommend his favourite Japanese restaurant in Singapore. And when a Japanese chef recommends another Japanese restaurant, it should be pretty darned good, no?

According to Chef Seita, Shiraishi at the Ritz Carlton is the best, for its seasonal produce, which means the menu changes often and you’re guaranteed different dishes prepared with only the freshest Japanese ingredients. That means Chef Seita returns often for a taste of chef-owner Mr Shiraishi Shinji’s exquisite specialty Edomae Sushi and sashimi, straight from Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market. A quick word on Edomae cuisine – the sushi consists mainly of fish (like tuna, bonito, halibut, sea eel and shell fish) caught off the waters of Edo (Old Tokyo). Back then, the lack of refrigeration called for sushi chefs to get creative with various preservation methods, including using sauce, vinegar, ginger and wasabi on the fish, not only to add delicious flavours, but also to prevent the raw fish from spoiling too quickly.

Chef Shiraishi continues this proud tradition at his restaurant, which has been going strong for over a decade now in Singapore. Our Makan Kaki Chef Seita’s absolute favourite dish at Shiraishi is the deceptively basic and simple Negitoro-maki, or tuna roll. Chef Seita says that the tuna, leek, wasabi, rice and seaweed are all perfectly balanced and whilst one order is enough, he finds himself ordering it again and again at one sitting because it’s that good!

As we head into Autumn, Chef Seita urges you to look out for the seasonal Matsutake Mushrooms, which are wonderful in a soup or simply grilled for a delicately fragranced meal. Shiraishi update their menus often, so do check their website for specials and make a reservation soon for their sublime Alacarte, Set Lunches or Kaiseki Dinners.

TASTE:
SHIRAISHI
#03-01/02, Ritz Carlton Hotel, 7 Raffles Avenue, 039799
Open Daily: Lunch 12:00 -2:30pm; Dinner 6:00 – 10:30pm
Tel: +65 63383788

Super-Fresh Tokyo-Italian

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Denise & Chef Seita Nakahara

Hello Makan Kakis, Denise here. A few weeks ago, I had the good fortune to dine at Terra Tokyo-Italian, helmed by chef-owner Seita Nakahara, and what a special meal it was!

Chef Seita spent his teens in Singapore before working in restaurants across Tokyo, Florence, Sicily & Torino, honing his skills in Italian cuisine. His style of Italian cooking focuses on only the very freshest produce he can source directly from fishermen and farmers in Japan & Italy, which he then prepares with a very light Japanese touch, allowing the natural flavours of his ingredients shine through.

  • Listen to Chef Seita on The Lunchtime Jukebox talking about his food philosophy and restaurant here.
  • Listen to Chef talk about his culinary roots and what kind of food he enjoys going out to eat when he’s not cooking for others.

From his humble beginnings in the kitchen helping his mother, to his training across Italy, Chef Seita’s approach to food is always to keep everything simple, without using a lot of spices or herbs to cover the flavours or fragrance – something he says he learnt from those hours spent cooking with mum. The affable, ever-so-polite Chef Seita’s love for the food and his passion is evident in the sublime plates of food that emerged from the kitchen.

His Omakase menu changes all the time, depending on the seasonal produce available and out of his creative mind, Chef Seita keeps things exciting for his customers – he enjoys being surpised and surprising diners – that’s why he will never serve you the same thing if you are a returning guest (not unless you insist, of course!).

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Service is wonderful, with very friendly staff, who are patient and careful to explain everything that has gone into each dish you are served. Your meal begins with two things:

  1. A  box of fresh ingredients presented with a flourish, so you know what you’re going to be eating, and…

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2. A really delicious homemade foccacia bread, served hot with a porcini mushroom butter I wanted (and did) to eat on its own!

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I have to say after that lovely start, nothing I was served afterwards disappointed. In fact, everything was eye-rollingly tasty – check out what else was on the menu when I dined at Terra Tokyo-Italian:

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The Uni bruschetta is the perfect embodiment of Chef Seita’s food concept – bringing the best of Japanese & Italian together – generous little mountains of fresh sea urchin jiggling atop crisp toasted bread.

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Super-fresh shellfish – Akagai, okagai, Hokkaido asparagus, cherry tomato drizzled with dill sauce.
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Another one of my favourites (and this is saying alot because I’m not a fan of tomato sauces) – the Ise bay spiny lobster linguine. Perfectly portioned, the handmade pasta was also perfectly al dente and coated in a rich, yet not cloying tomato sauce. It was light yet creamy was complemented by a succulently-sweet grilled lobster from Japan’s Ise Bay.
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Score! Managed to scoop out the lobster meat in one whole juicy chunk! And you can bet I sucked out all the briny juices from that lobster head – sooo yummaaay!

IMG_0349Ama-dai tile fish with Mediterranean sauce, Hokkaido shaved button mushroom, Japanese bamboo shoost with crispy fish skin.
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Tender Tochigi beef with mushroom sauce, charred Japanese cabbage, mustard and chives & caramelised onion – really clean, simple and absolutely satisfying, The beefy flavour really comes through thanks to Chef Seita’s delicate touch.
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Homemade Tiramisu with Japanese strawberries – an appropriate end to my Tokyo-Italian experience. This Tiramisu was again, perfectly-portioned, not too sweet and very light.

Chef Seita’s very Japanese sensibility truly shines through in his respect for his ingredients and his guests and I can’t recommend Terra more if you love Italian Cuisine but want something surprising, very fresh and light. The Omakase Menu is tailored to suit your dietary restrictions and you can choose the number of courses you enjoy. I had 7 courses (possibly more), but so light was Chef’s touch, I didn’t walk out of Terra feeling uncomfortably full, just very satisfied and with a huge smile on my face!

TERRA
54 Tras St
Singapore 078993

Open Hours:
Mon – Fri 12:00 pm-2:00 pm, 6:30 pm-10:00 pm
Sat 6:30 pm-10:00 pm

Phone: 6221 5159

Putting the Tori in Yakitori

HEAR:
Listen to this week’s smokelicious episode!

SEE:

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Yakitori Don (Grilled Chicken on Rice)

There’s nothing quite like the smoky-charred flavour of grilled meats treated with respect and skill, except maybe fresh seafood done the Japanese way and this week, our Makan Kaki Chef Anthony Yeoh recommends a restaurant that combines the best of both worlds.

Chef Asai is the affable grill master of Bincho, a tiny little Japanese Yakitori joint in Tiong Bahru. Literally a hole in the wall, you enter through the coppery back door that it takes you into the bar area, which is decked out in metals, so it’s like being in a submarine. The story goes that the mee pok man running his stall was looking to retire, give way to the setting up of Bincho and simply collect rent from that enterprise, but there was a certain amount of backlash about the gentrifying of Tiong Bahru and edging out of old businesses, so they hit upon a more collaborative idea. Mee Pok man came out of retirement to serve his beloved noodles at lunchtime, whilst Bincho operates side-by-side.

Ultimately, what you get from Bincho at Hua Bee is the unique look and ambiance of a 70-year old traditional kopitiam featuring said old school mee pok stall, classic coffee & kaya toast, classic marble tables with wooden chairs PLUS the modern open-concept yakitori bar with playful Japanese-inspired cocktails as well as Japanese whiskies, sake and shochu.

Bincho serves up wonderful lunchtime Donburi sets ranging from $25++ that includes appetizers, salad, pickles, karage, soup and dessert. Chef Anthony recommends the Uni Ikura Donburi set – it’s luxurious, super-fresh and so delicious.

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Uni Ikura Don

For dinner, there are three types of set menus but be sure to order off the à la carte menu for some extra tasty specialities.

Full Dinner Set with chicken
Side dishes from Dinner Set

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The menus at Bincho change frequently depending on what fresh produce is available that day, but chicken in various ways, shapes and forms will always remain the star of the kitchen (that’s where the tori in yakitori comes in!). In fact, if you’re feeling adventurous, don’t miss out on the cock’s comb – gelatinous & soft in texture, it’s a delicacy that Chef Asai does exceptionally well!

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Cock’s Comb!

Other smoking-hot favourites include Yakitori shio: grilled parts of chicken served with three types of condiments – yuzukoshō, freshly grated wasabi and mushroom salt an Yakitori tare: Grilled chicken parts dipped into a homemade sauce and served with Japanese mustard, wholegrain mustard and kuro shichimi ‘Black Japanese Seven Spice’.

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TOP: Yakitori shio; BOTTOM: Yakitori tare

But do save room for the tsukune, which is essentially a chicken meatball/ patty that is grilled to juicy, tender perfection and made even more delicious with its crowning glory – a raw quail egg cracked right on top!

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Tsukune Chicken Meatball

TASTE:
Bincho at Hua Bee
78 Moh Guan Terrace (Tiong Bahru)
#01-19
Singapore 162078
Tel: +65 6438 4567
Opening Hours:
Lunch
Tuesday – Sundays: 12pm – 3.00pm
Dinner
Tuesdays – Sundays: 6pm till late
(Closed Mondays)

Get your Sake, Sushi & Chirashi here!

daniel tay & denise tan
New Makan Kaki Chef Daniel Tay & Denise

Introducing another super-qualified, super-friendly, super Foodie! This week, our new Makan Kaki is a French pâtissier by training and was the creative force behind popular bakery chain, Bakerzin.

Chef Daniel Tay is an established F&B entrepreneur with three creative concepts under his belt – Foodgnostic, a state-of-the-art food solutions company; catandthefiddle.com, a cheesecake specialist; and oldsengchoong.com, a revival of his parents’ old confectionery, specialising in traditional treats such as Chinese yam cake, rum balls and apple pie.

Here’s what Chef Daniel Tay is all about – simple, honest, natural flavours and food that is cooked well, no gimmicks, no fanciful adornments. He’s not into big name brands or molecular gastronomy, but isn’t opposed to trying new things, but ultimately, he still comes back to basic, tasty, simply prepared food.

HEAR:

  • To listen to our very first on-air discussion about cheesecake, traditional local confections and to get to know Chef Daniel, click here!
  • To listen to this week’s super-fresh Sushi recommendation, click here!

SEE:

Bara Chirashi

Today, Chef Daniel tantalises us with his favourite Japanese restaurant – a place he always heads to when he’s in need of a pick-me-up. His friend, down-to-earth Sushi Chef Edwin, is a local with some serious Japanese knife skills. When we talk about sushi, the most basic given is that the fish is exquisite, super-fresh, deep in flavour yet clean tasting. You’ll get all that at YOYOGI  SUSHI SAKE BAR!

Chef Daniel adores their lunch specials, because not only are they great value for money, but of course, the food is tasty and the service is good. He recommends you order, over everything else on the menu, the Bara Chirashi. It’s beautifully prepared & presented in a gorgeous bowl, a true colourful feast for the eyes and your tastebuds! Delicious morsels of seafood sashimi layered over perfect seasoned rice – so simple, so delicious, so comforting! You’ve got to try it!

TASTE:
Yoyogi Sushi Sake Bar
200 Turf Club Road
#01-12
The Grandstand
Open: Tue – Sun: 12:00 – 14:30 (lunch), 18:30 – 22:30 (dinner)
Closed: Mon
Tel: +65 64688826

Where Chefs Eat: David Myers of Adrift

Denise with David Myers at his MBS restaurant, Adrift

This week, I had the chance to catch up with LA-based chef David Myers, while he’s in town to check in on his gorgeous restaurant Adrift at the Marina Bay Sands.

Chef Myers is all about fresh produce from California and Japan, and at Adrift, small plates, healthy salads, seafood, and grilled meats all come together beautifully Izakaya-style. It would be hard to pick favourites, but Chef Myers recommends you try the King Crab Melt, Hamachi Salad with Ponzu Sauce & the special Omakase menu.

For bookings, visit marinabaysands.com or call 6688 5657.

Click here for more on our conversation about Adrift, the must-try dishes, what inspires Chef Myers’ cooking and interesting projects he has in the pipeline.

So when Chef Myers is in Singapore, where does he like to eat? Here are a few of his favourites:

Every time he’s in town, Chef Myers has one go-to place – he makes it a point to stop by before he heads to the airport. He can’t get enough of the  Black Pepper Crab at Long Beach. For him, it’s that combination of the spicy pepper and the incredibly sweet, almost buttery crab that is breath-takingly delicious.

Long Beach Black Pepper Crab

Long Beach @ Dempsey
25 Dempsey Road
Open Daily: 11am – 3pm / 5pm – 1am

Another chef favourite is the ever-popular Tian Tian Chicken Rice at Maxwell. Chef Myers has tried many others, but Tian Tian remains his favourite because he feels that the chicken is done just right – poached simply and when served with the pandan-scented, chicken-fat-flavoured rice with chilli, it’s a combination that is out of this world.
TIANTIAN
Tian Tian Hainanese Chicken Rice (天天海南鸡饭)
1 Kadayanallur Street
Maxwell Food Centre
#01-10/11
Open daily except Mondays: 11am – 8pm
Tel: +65 96914852

When it comes to Western food, Chef Myers is partial to Angeleno, an Italian restaurant by Chef David Almany, formerly of Osteria Mozza fame. Using fresh produce from California, signature dishes include carpaccio sliced thinly from American ribeye steaks and eggplant parmigiana, Pasta is made in-house and there’s a wood grill for their amazing steaks and chops.

Angeleno’s Iberico Tomahawk Pork Chops, Summer Beet Salad and Spaghetti of Maine Lobster, roasted tomato and tarragon.

Angeleno
Open Mon-Sat 12 noon – 11pm
20 Gemmill Lane
Tel: 62216986

Burnt Ends also remains another chef favourite and for David Myers, it’s no different. He loves the atmosphere, the food and says it’s always guaranteed a good time when you dine at Dave Pynt’s modern Australian Barbeque restaurant.
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BURNT ENDS
20 Teck Lim Road
Lunch: Wednesday – Saturday 11:45am to 2pm
Dinner: Tuesday – Saturday 6:00pm to Late
Closed Sunday and Mondays
Tel: 6224 3933
For more on Burnt Ends, check this & this out!

Click here to listen to this week’s episode of Makan Kakis & Chef Myers’ recommendations.

Where Sommeliers Eat: Gerri Sottile of Mykonos on the Bay

HEAR:
Click here to listen to this week’s globalicious episode!

SEE & TASTE:
This week, Sommelier & General Manager of Mykonos on the Bay, Gerri Sottile, shares some of his favourite places to eat in Singapore…

via https://www.facebook.com/bluelotusrestaurant/

Blue Lotus – Chinese Eating House
31 Ocean Way (Sentosa)
This neighbouring restaurant has been making a splash at Quayside Isle on Sentosa and Gerri is not the only one raving about their signature Chilli Crab. Now, he understands Chilli Crab can be a point of contention for lovers of this beloved local dish, and while he can’t cook it, he has sampled many chilli crabs at many different restaurants and The Blue Lotus’ gets his seal of approval because it is unique. This Chilli Crab is a fresh take on a classic with a slightly different taste from what you would expect, probably because the recipe has been tweaked and modern fusion elements added for a really delicious, satisfying dish that isn’t blow-your-head-off-spicy!
#01-13 Quayside Isle
Reservations: 6339 0880

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Fish head Curry

The Banana Leaf Apolo
This classic restaurant has been around for years and Gerri adores it for its traditional serving on Banana leaf, something he had never seen before in Europe, and also the wide variety of both Northern & Southern Indian dishes. He especially l;oves the different curries and Tandoori chicken.
54 Race Course Rd, Singapore 218564
Email : enquiry@thebananaleafapolo.com
Phone Number : +65 6293 8682

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Shinji by Kanaseka
This is possibly one of the most renowned names for Japanese cuisine in Singapore and Gerri frequents either branch for super fresh fish, excellent cuts and expertly handled. He recommends sitting at the bar and giving the chef the go ahead to take care of you. You won’t be disappointed!
Raffles Hotel
Reservations: +65 6338 6131
St Regis Hotel
T: +65 6884 8239

Where Chefs Eat: Mauro Muroni of the Mangiatutto Group of Restaurants

mykonos

HEAR:
Listen to this week’s Makan Kakis talk about their Greek restaurant at Sentosa’s Quayside Isle, Mykonos here.
Listen to Executive Chef Mauro Muroni of the Mangiatutto Group of Restaurants talk about some of his favourite places to eat in Singapore!

Denise with (L) GM Gerri Sottile & (R) Executive Chef Mauro Muroni

SEE:
Here are some of Mauro’s favourite places to eat in Singapore – obviously as an Italian in the East, he’s more inclined to rave over Asian cuisine, as seen from his choices. It’s all about Japanese, Indian & Chinese cuisine for him!

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If you’re ever at Resorts World, you’ve got to try Syun, which is Japanese fine dining at its best, especially if you want some of the freshest sashimi & sushi from their dedicated sushi bar! Click here for more on Syun!

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A neighbour to Chef Mauro’s restaurant Mykonos at Quayside Isle is this great place for curries, tandoori and other spicy Indian delicacies. Click here for more on the Earl of Hindh!

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Finally, when he wants a noodle & dumpling fix, Chef Mauro heads to Ion Orchard’s Paradise Dynasty for their famed 8 treaure xiao long bao & soupy noodles. Click here for more on Paradise Dynasty!