Omakase means ‘in the Chef ‘s hands’, and I am a sucker for that. Princess and I were looking for dinner for our weekly dine-out, and we came across this 1-for-1 promotion for omakase at Kyoaji.
Located in 111 Somerset which is a refurbished mall, they reopened at the worst of time. Half the mall was unoccupied, and the place was pretty much void of foot traffic. Located on the second floor, the place was right next to the escalator, but the closed KTV next door gave an ominous feel to the whole place.
Kyoaji means “Taste of Kyoto”. Kyoto is Japan’s former capital and seat of the Imperial Court over a thousand years. Kyoaji Dining drew inspirations from the rich culinary tradition in Kyoto and combine it with different cooking styles and ingredients from around the world.
Heading the restaurant is Executive Chef John Phua and his team, the same group of people that helmed Fukuichi. After closing Fukuichi at 111 Somerset and starting Kyoaji at Centrepoint in Dec 2016, they are now back in their original hunting ground after the extensive renovation of 111 Somerset.
While Kyoaji doles out a variety of omakase menus, sushi and sashimi are what stand out as they operate their own fishing vessels, ensuring only the best quality makes it to the restaurant.
1/8 Kani tofu with century egg
A smooth looking round tofu that reminds you of burrata cheese. The tofu is smooth, topped with pungent century egg sauce.
Hidden inside the mild-looking tofu is crab stick. Princess called this cold chawanmushi because it does taste like one.
2/8 Nama kaki ponzu
Fresh with a touch of acidity from the ponzu, helps to accentuate the flavour of the oyster. Like the spiciness of the tabasco sauce infused grated radish.
3/8 Assorted sashimi
It is a premium assorted sashimi, which include Otoro (Tuna Belly), Sake Harasu (Salmon Belly), Mekajiki (Swordfish), Aji (Horse Makararel), and Ama-ebi (Sweet Prawn).
4/8 Salmon maki
The salmon was flavoured with truffle oil and shiso salt. Otherwise it is just another maki roll.
5/8 Grilled lobster and garlic
A rather puny lobster, grilled with white miso and topped with fried garlic. It could do with a little sauce in my opinion.
6/8 Chawanmushi with snow crab
The chawanmushi is delicious and very competently made. Soft like tofu and filled with umami of the kani used. The ikura added that savouriness to the silky, steamed egg.
7/8 Unagi don with asari miso soup
The main course, and to my surprise, a rather lacklustre ending to otherwise a good dinner course. Unagi don with asari miso soup, though tasty, did not go well with the rest of the course. It could end well with a soba or udon, but I wasn’t expecting a strong tasting unagi don.
8/8 Sesame jelly with red bean paste
The sesame jelly dessert was nice. It would go well with a hot matcha, but that’s not complimentary.
A la carte
1/ Tsubu clam sashimi
Whelk or tsubugai 螺貝 as a sashimi, it is crunchy and could do with a bit of tenderising.
2/ Nama uni gunkan
Murasaki uni is the most common sea urchin found throughout Japan with its main season being in August. In a way you could say that Murasaki uni sets the baseline of what you would expect sea urchin to taste like. They are a bright yellow color, plump with a nice light, mildly sweet and salty flavour with very little fishiness in the after notes. These sea urchins feed on wakame all along the coast of Japan, which contributes to their characteristic taste. The quality is quite mushy, which I suspect they froze and defrost it.
3/ Hirame with truffle oil
Extremely fresh olive flounder coupled with truffle oil and salted konbu and special sauce created by the chef.
From the Zen inspired decor, the attentive and efficient service, and delicious Japanese food which is well-executed, the visit was pleasant. With the credit card 1-for–1 promotions, the omakase is a steal at $150++ for two. However, do not expect Kyoto style meals here, it is not that level. Nevertheless still an above-average Japanese restaurant.
Kyoaji Dining 京味
111 Somerset Road #02-05/06 Singapore 238164
Tel : 6694 4068 / 6694 3058
Date Visited : Aug 2020
(Not affiliated to Kyoaji in Shinbashi, Tokyo)