Yuzu-marinated Ikura (Salmon Roe)
Considering that Japanese typically don't eat salmon sushi/sashimi (because it's an imported fish and not available in the local fish markets), it's a little surprising that they eat so many salmon eggs. No complaints from us, though - the yuzu marinade does wonders here to temper the saltiness of the eggs. Delicious and opens up the palette perfectly for the food to come.
Sawara Sashimi (Spanish Mackerel) with Ground Japanese Brown Rice
Ika (Squid) and Uni (Sea Urchin gonads)
We've never liked the (lack of) taste and texture of raw squid, and unfortunately this simple soy-sauce'd rendition doesn't change our minds. The Uni is gorgeous though - creamy, buttery, briney, umami deliciousness.
Steamed Octopus, Tuna Meat and Kamasu (Barracuda)
A trio of seafood is next! We thought that the tuna meat was rather ordinary and did not have the necessary flavor to stand on its' own. The octopus was sublime, though. Octopus is normally a little tough/chewy/rubbery, but this one having been steamed for 2 hours was texturally quite similar to chicken! Barracuda was lightly seared skin-side presumably to crisp up the skin a little and provide a nice textural contrast to the raw fish.
Chawanmushi with Red Snapper and Prawn Paste
By far the weakest dish of the entire afternoon was this tepid chawanmushi; it lacked either the flavour or texture to compensate for being served lukewarm.
Saba (Mackerel) Sashimi with sesame and shiso leaf
Grilled Cod with turnip paste and baby yam with miso paste.
I really liked this dish. The cod itself was grilled superbly and the turnip-based accompanying paste was what elevated it to pefection; followed by a delightfully sweet baby yam which went well with the saltiness of the miso paste.
Skinless Japanese Tomato
Half a Tomato comes next, fresh, sweet, refreshing to ready the palatte for the next part of the meal - the sushi! Many of the neta here was also served in the 9-piece Hana 花 set, so do head on over to that post if you haven't already as we won't be repeating the write-ups.
Kinmedai (Golden Eye Snapper)
Chu Toro (Medium Fatty Tuna)
Just to recap, in the previous post we had this to say about the sushi served here:
What we liked most about the sushi here is the shari (sushi rice). It comes at the perfect temperature, and is packed just tightly enough to hold it's shape from plate to mouth. Once the chewing starts the rice breaks apart, allowing you to taste and feel every single seasoned, slightly sweet, vinegared grain. Bliss.
Aji (Horse Mackerel)
Shimofuri Oh-Toro (Marbled Tuna)
Uni (Sea Urchin Gonads)
More of the delicious creamy Uni! Personally we prefer Uni in this gunkan sushi rendition; the addition of the sweet/vinegary rice and crisp seaweed is a perfect accompaniment and gives a interesting bite and extra flavor to the Uni.
Sufugai (Spiral Shell) with lime
We don't normally like shell-based sushi as it tends to be a little lacking taste-wise. The next time we visit we'll try to get the Chef to change this to something else. Like another piece of Oh-Toro :)
Kuruma Ebi (Japanese Imperial Prawn)
Maguro Akami (Lean Tuna)
Unagi Two Ways (Eel) - Salted and Sauced
Clear Clam Soup
Negi Toro (Minced Tuna Belly) Maki
Ten pieces of gorgeous, delicious nigiri, followed by the same clear clam soup, and then a Negi Toro maki handed personally by the chef.
It's our first time eating musk melon (on account of its exorbitant price here); and we immediately understand where the name comes from. It's juicy and sweet, but the main difference between regular honeydew is the 'musky' taste - it's similar to that slight fermented after taste you get in some durians.
"Hey, you must take my photo. I am very famous chef." - Master Chef Koichiro Oshino
Like we mentioned in the previous post, we thoroughly enjoyed dining here because the Chefs are so jovial. Master Chef Koichiro Oshino speaks pretty good English, explained all the dishes, chatted with us and even made us take his photo!
Good things don't come cheap, though, and it's hard to say if the $250++ price tag is worth the money. We suppose that like all good things in life, you need to pay top dollar for the best, and the 'mid-range' options are normally the best value for money. So it is with Shinji by Kanesaka - their 9 piece lunch set is insanely good value. The Omakase is much pricier but you also get the absolute best produce that the restaurant could procure, cooked with all the combined skill of the Chefs. Do note that the 20-plus dishes do take a while to serve; you won't be able to squeeze this into a 1-hour lunch break.
Shinji by Kanesaka is at Raffles Hotel and is open from Mondays to Saturdays for Lunch and Dinner: Reservations highly reccomended: Telephone +65 6338 6131 or Email firstname.lastname@example.org