Greetings Gluttons! Brace your bellies because this week, we bring you a multi-course experience that’s filling, affordable and absolutely delicious. Add an affable, entertaining Japanese chef and you have a wonderful, leisurely night out! Our Makan Kaki Wendy Foo of Ryan’s Grocery recommends a place she loves and has been visiting for years, especially on date night with he husband. Matsuo Restaurant has an excellent omakase experience which you must try. Here’s a sample of what Chef Hiroyuki Matsuo might serve you and rest assured everything will be super-fresh and beautifully prepared.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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’.
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!
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
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 : firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone Number : +65 6293 8682
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!
Reservations: +65 6338 6131
St Regis Hotel
T: +65 6884 8239
This week, Seetoh reveals a japanese joint he has mentioned before – a highly secretive locally -born, Japan-trained chef who used to run a tiny restaurant that was only open to regulars. But now, said chef has moved and opened a new place in the heart of the CBD, where you are free to enter and taste of his amazingly fresh and tasty creations.
Chef Ah Hong trained – blood, sweat, tears – enduring 13 years of sahimi/ sushi training from Japanese masters before returning to Singapore with a mission to feed people good Japanese food at reasonable prices. So while a meal at his tiny 16-seater restaurant may set you back a couple of hundred bucks, you would have eaten your fill, had your mind blown and paid a lot less than you would at other chi-chi Japanese restaurants.
Generally, you leave things up to Chef and he’ll surprise you – from his light and wonderfully crispy wild yam chips, to his otoro (fatty tuna belly) sashimi prepared chunky fisherman/ kampung-style, to his sushi creations like hand rolls that look like uni (sweet, creamy, sinfully-rich sea urchin) ice-cream cones, to more exotic fare like whole tuna eyes ( they look like tennis balls!) stewed in a umami stock of soy, onions and other secret ingredients – everything is hearty, tasty and down-to-earth. Just go and be wowed by his creativity, as you eat in a simple, no-frills setting – the focus is 100% on the food here!
10 Anson Road
Open for lunch and dinner: Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm, Mon-Sat 6-10pm
Closed Sundays & Public Holidays