Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Utage Set Dinner for two at Sumiya Charcoal Grill Izakaya, Orchard Central.

Happy New Year and Goat Xi Fa Cai! After a "short" hiatus (of a few months) we're back with our first restaurant review of 2015 and of the new Year of the Goat! The place we're visiting today is Sumiya Charcoal Grill Izakaya on the 12th floor of Orchard Central. It's opened by Chef Naoki Tsuzuki and the same folks behind the pretty decent Kuriya Dining over at Great World City.

Although Sumiya brands itself as an izakaya, it really ... isn't. The menu is heavy on sashimi and sushi, with particular emphasis on 'fresh' bluefin tuna. We decided to just go for the middle road option of three different set menus - the Utage Course at $128 for two - which starts off with a small heaping of Edamame!

Sumiya Charcoal Grill Izakaya Utage Set Dinner

We also get two plates of Salmon Avocado Monaka - a raw salmon and avo 'salad' sandwiched between Japanese wafers. The wafers themselves weren't anything to shout about - tasteless and dry, but they did give a bit of crunch to the otherwise mono-textured salmon/avo.

Sumiya Charcoal Grill Izakaya Utage Set Dinner

We also get 5 kinds of Premium Sashimi on a bed of ice. I'm not sure if Salmon really qualifies as 'premium' but nevertheless the assorted seafood was fresh and pretty substantially cut. Extra marks to the scallop (deliciously sweet) and of course chu-toro is always an oily, juicy bite of heaven.

Sumiya Charcoal Grill Izakaya Utage Set Dinner

Strangely enough, the Char-Grilled Chicken with Crazy Salt was served alongside all the cold dishes. I know Sumiya isn't really a fine dining place but surely they should hold the hot dishes until we're (almost) done with the cold ones?

Anyway, despite the funky name, this was just mediocre - a little on the dry side and not seasoned particularly well.

Sumiya Charcoal Grill Izakaya Utage Set Dinner

The next items in the set menu were the Double Steamed Rice with Grilled Eel and Salmon Roe, served with the Snow Crab Clear Soup. We thought this was a pretty nice rice dish - the slight saltiness from the ikura complementing the sweetness of the unagi sauce very well. The soup was decent, but with such little crab meat there wasn't much crab taste in the broth.

Sumiya Charcoal Grill Izakaya Utage Set Dinner

The deep fry was next - two shrimp, a large asparagus and hefty chunks of tuna meat (for each person), breaded and deep fried. These were a little disappointing - as you might possibly see in the photo, they were a little overfried and so the texture of the batter/breadcrumbs were a bit too hard to enjoy.

The deep fried tuna chunks were new to me and were surprisingly pretty nice though - the batter/breadcrumbs suffered from the same slight hardness but the fish chunks inside were moist and juicy.

Sumiya Charcoal Grill Izakaya Utage Set Dinner

The Dessert of the Day ended up being red bean-filled mochi, which I can't really comment on since I don't like mochi.

Sumiya Charcoal Grill Izakaya Utage Set Dinner

After taxes and service charge, with a final bill of close to $75 per person, we felt that the pricing was spot on for the quantity of food served up by the kitchen. However we were somewhat disappointed overall by the quality of some of the dishes.

As mentioned earlier, Sumiya is located on the 12th Floor of Orchard Central. We visited on a weeknight and the restaurant was full, so if you're visiting on a weekend reservations are probably recommended. The other two set menus are the Hana course ($88 for two) and the Sumiya course ($268 for two). Non-halal.

Apologies for the quality of photographs in this post as all photos were taken with mobile phones.

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