“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome on board Sushi Airways. Please take a brief moment to view the safety demonstration even if you are a frequent flyer….”
Sushi Airways in Singapore is a distinctively designed airplane-themed restaurant, just named by London’s Evening Standard as one of the ‘Top 5 Instagrammable Restaurants in Singapore’.
Sushi Airways is the only Japanese restaurant in Singapore* with a unique airplane theme. (*PS: I was reminded that there’s a whole shopping mall in Bangkok with an airport theme.) Don’t need to fight, everyone gets a window seat.
When you enter the restaurant, you’ll have to totter up a flight of metal-plated stairs, like those leading up to an aircraft. Upon reaching the entrance, you’ll be greeted by service staff dressed as air stewardesses. As you enter the cabin, be awed by its interiors which was made to closely resemble the legendary 1930s Douglas DC-3, an American fixed-wing propeller-driven chrome plated aircraft.
But this is not like those aircraft themed Japanese restaurants that I have been to before, which catered to young children, where you get children’s meal on an aircraft shape plastic plate, plywood-formica cutouts to resemble the interior of an aircraft. This is a serious Japanese restaurant with a full alcohol menu. It has an extensive ala carte selection of fresh seafood flown in four times a week from Japan.
They have a “flight manual” as a menu. A lot of items to choose from, but I am too occupied with the business guests to look through the thick menu, so I ordered their 10-course omakase.
0/10 Amuse bouche – stewed tuna with ikura
The omakase “flight” took off with an amuse bouche of stewed tuna in sweet soy sauce with ikura, garnished with shisho bloom. Many components in one pre-meal appetiser – the peppery flower with freshly grated wasabi, the tuna that tasted like canned, the briny ikura. If this is a preview, one can look forward to a really complex omakase on the border of a traditional kaiseki.
1/10 Uni Tasting Platter
The first proper course was a platter of three types of uni. Murasaki uni comes from a common purple sea urchin and has a clean taste. Canadian uni beats the rest in terms of size but the taste is not as intense. Bafun uni is from Hokkaido horse dung sea urchin and is sweeter. Why are we so excited when uni is served? There could be a scientific explanation.
Uni has a “euphoria-causing chemical” ingredient (albeit in very small quantities) similar to what you find in cannabis! Yes, pot, marijuana, etc. Specifically, a chemical neurotransmitter called ananandamide, also known as arachidonoylethanolamide or AEA. What are anandamides doing there in the first place?? These are actually naturally occuring chemicals in sea urchin gonads, which are thought to be important in the reproductive system, among other physiological/enzymatic processes associated with sea urchin fertility.
So before you start concluding that uni is good for fertility, au contraire! It is also scientifically noticed that some species of sea urchin can reduce the fertilisation capacity of sperm cells. Now, which other food blog gives you that kind of scientific knowledge.
2/10 Oyster with ponzu jelly and Deep Fried Sawagani
Next up, one of their signature. Hokkaido oyster served with ponzu jelly cubes and topped with uni and scallions. To complete the plating, a couple of deep fried sawagani (river crab).
2/10 (Alt) Braised abalone and Deep Fried Sawagani
For those who done like raw oysters, they were served half a braised abalone with the same deep fried sawagani.
3/10 Bluefin tuna platter
The next dish was three kinds of bluefin tuna – akami, chutoro and otoro. While most would suggest that as the tasting order, I would suggest the reverse. Go for the best cut (otoro) for that smooth texture but not so much tuna taste. Then the chutoro for that in-between, and I had to say their chutoro was a bit veiny. And finally, the akamai to reinforce why bluefin tuna is king of tunas and worth its price.
4/10 Tiger prawn with uni sauce
Instead of their signature lobster versions, we were given a tiger prawn variation. The prawn was grilled to juicy perfection and coated in uni sauce that we could not help letting out remarks of “so good” and “wow” whilst attempting to extract the prawn meat in a refined manner. Definitely will be back to try it again with lobster.
And at this stage, Chef gave us a “little” treat – a flight size Asahi beer, just great with the next dish coming and not too much to affect the rest of the afternoon. After all this was a business lunch.
5/10 Soki nitsuke (soft-boned stewed pork)
“Soki” means pork ribs in Okinawan dialect. Nitsuke (boiled in soy sauce) is a popular method of Okinawa’s traditional food preparation style that has been adapted at all izakaya and washoku restaurants all around Japan.
Chef’s nitsuke was really good – fork tender texture, rich and sticky sauce from all those melted fats and collagen. We couldn’t help but asked for rice.
6/10 Pan-fried Ohmi Wagyu A5
The pan -fried wagyu came with shiso-infused soy sauce and a couple of slices of kumquats. The quality of the beef was undeniably top notch and the execution of the chef flawless. Just the portion was pathetique.
Here’s where I need to comment on the plating of this place. They have all these cute little porcelain and handcrafted pieces that they used to hold the sauce or present the food. All them were so cute and you want to nick them home.
6/10 (Alt) Grilled aji
If you do not take beef for whatever reason, you get the grilled aji (horse mackerel).
7/10 Deep fried Hokkaido scallop
Next up, a big, fat scallop sliced in the middle and stuffed with uni and shiso leaf, lightly coated and fried. At first look, I thought it was those supermarket deep fried, how dare they serve this! Then when you bite into it, the freshness of the Hokkaido scallop, the umami from the uni and the cleansing peppery shiso combined together with the crispy breadcrumb shell – this is not supermarket food!
8/10 Hamaguri in sake
We were now in our final stretch. The next course is a soup with a single gigantic hamaguri cooked in a dash spiked with some sake, seaweed and honmeshi mushrooms.
9/10 Negitoro Ikura Uni Rice
The last savoury dish served was this bowl of Negitoro Ikura Uni Rice – minced tuna belly and ikura served with uni and onsen egg yolk mixed rice topped with edible gold flakes. It was simply divine – could not think of a better way to end the meal.
9/10 (Alt) Unagi don on brown rice
And for those who don’t like the raw ingredients in the rice, you can have your unagi rice.
10/10 Fukuoka musk melon
It is typical to end with seasonal fruits for Japanese omakase and these Fukuoka musk melons were very sweet.
Located in the Haji Lane and Arab Street quarter, guests can tuck into some delightful Japanese cuisine in a truly unique setting. I have always wanted to come and try since its opening in 2013, but several times my guests would give me the comment that it was cheesy and expensive.
They were actually quite right – this was not Sushi Tei. The quality of the ingredient used and Chef Wong are two reasons why it is worth the price tag. Head Chef Wong Eng Chu – a Grand Hyatt alum – clearly gets it when it comes to experimentation. As you can see from above, every course was instagrammable. But being pretty and tasty, that would require very good understanding of the ingredients on hand. Attentive servers and good service rounded up the experience.
In order to avoid disappointment at this Bugis restaurant on Baghdad Street, we recommend booking a table in advance as Sushi Airways’ popularity is sure to take off.
20A Baghdad Street, Singapore 199659
Tel: +65 6291 1151
Date Visited : Mar 2020