Then I came across a coupon offering a blistering "62% off" on a Spring Kaiseki Set at Hokkaido Sushi Restaurant. What caught my eye was that this joint won AsiaOne's People's Choice Award for Best Japanese Restaurant in 2008. No matter how also standard wouldn't have dropped that much in a few years ... right?
Anyways the deal was $39.90 for what the restaurant claims is SGD105.00 worth of food - drinks not included though so we add on a Yuzu Citrus Tea/Drink and a Green Tea (which came out to about $6 or so).
The Wafu Salad ($6.00) and Homemade Pitan Tofu (SGD5.00) are served first. Wafu salad had some crispy tempura batter bits to add some crunch, but otherwise was quite ordinary. The Tofu comes paired with a brown sauce made from century egg, which actually tasted overall very nice even though I'm not a big fan of century egg :)
Kanpachi (Amberjack) Sashimi with Truffle Oil (SGD20.00) is up next and we're very surprised at how well the aroma and taste of the truffle oil complements the fresh raw fish. So much so that we comtemplate buying a small bottle of the stuff and bringing it with us to drizzle on our sashimi wherever we go.
As we steal glances at the tables around us, it seems somewhat obvious that the restaurant gets a big portion of its sales from coupon websites - almost every table seems to have started off with the same salad and tofu. Food isn't bad so far, though, so we're not complaining :)
After the sashimi, the Hokkaido Hotate Kakiage (Deep Fried Scallop with mixed Vegetables, SGD18.00) is rather ... run of the mill.
Moving on to the Hokkaido Ikura Chawanmushi (SGD15.00) - basically chawanmushi with salmon roe. The egg custard itself was decently smooth; and the salmon roe added a nice, oily, juicy, salty aftertaste.
Salmon Mentaikoyaki (Grilled salmon with Spicy Cod Roe sauce, SGD18.00) was up next - and was a pretty juicy salmon fillet topped with a mayonnaise-based creamy cod roe sauce. Too creamy, in my opinion - the taste of mayonnaise sort of overpowered the rest of the flavours, in my opinion.
The last dish in the set is the Yakitori Don (SGD22.00) - nothing much to comment, to be honest - it's a rice bowl with some chicken, nothing really special over any other chicken rice bowl at other Japanese places. Oh, and a bowl of Miso Soup (SGD5.00), too.
Finally we get to cleanse our pallets with a Mixed Fruits platter, which is almost certainly sourced "locally" (locally as in, from cheaper sources other than Japan).
We were overall pretty satisfied with the meal for the price of SGD40/person, but we are not really convinced of the so-called "original value" of the food (and the resulting 62% discount figure). Doing some google'ing shows that the restaurant's modus operandi now seems to be mark up the ala-carte prices, package them into a set meal, and then advertise them at a big "discount" to the various coupon buying websites.
Is that necessarily a bad thing? Not really - just be properly forewarned and pre-buy your meals off a coupon website, and you probably won't be disappointed.
Hokkaido Sushi is located in the M Hotel, which is about a 10-15 minute walk from Tanjong Pagar MRT station. Non halal.