From sushi to wagyu beef, the best of Japanese food are all here.
|Part of our new Top Tables: Singapore Restaurant Guide 2017.|
With the influx of Japanese restaurants in Singapore over the years, we certainly don't have a lack of choices when it comes to Japanese food. But with the increase in variety, we are also looking for good quality and delicious Japanese food. These 12 restaurants serve some of our favorite Japanese dishes—wagyu beef, sushi, seafood and you can't miss out sake.
This hip and hidden Japanese restaurant and bar in Tiong Bahru oozes coolness, all mee pok shop in the front (featured in Eric Khoo’s Mee Pok Man) and all low-ceilinged and copper-furnished in the back. The premium lunch and dinner menus revolve around their binchotan grill, and while there is a lot of excellent, juicy yakitori, Chef Asai Masashi’s food delivers lots more. Try the grilled chicken with seasonal white truffle when it’s available, and don’t forget to wash it down with their brief but balanced list of cocktails. #01-19 78 Moh Guan Terrace. Make a reservation via Chope here.
The brief and high-quality lunch and dinner menus at this “meat atelier” are a joy for carnivores. Walk in through the shoji doors, grab a seat at the centerpiece U-shaped counter and prepare to be delighted by a selection of premium wagyu from several Japanese prefectures. To go with are equally delightful starters like the seafood-stuffed fried zucchini blossoms and the crab cakes with pickles. At lunchtime, there are affordable sets covering sushi, sashimi and donburi, too. #01-01/02 Camden Medical Centre, 1 Orchard Blvd.
We couldn’t possibly leave out the amazing Hashida Sushi, the first overseas offshoot of the famed Tokyo establishment, which has moved upstairs to a bigger space. Chef Hatch Hashida, who apprenticed under his master chef father Tokio, brings an artistic touch to all his seasonal sushi, such as the sea bream, sea eel and botan shrimp, as well as bowls like the ikura and uni version. Don’t miss their premium otoro, involving maestro-levels of cutting skills. There are also fine sakes, including Chef Hatch’s private label, to sip. #04-16 Mandarin Gallery, 333A Orchard Rd. Make a reservation via Chope here.
You can’t swing a bat without knocking into a Japanese eatery in the Robertson Quay area, but this BBQ establishment is a standout, despite the pretty ordinary setup (think black booth seats, dim lighting and wood accents). Grilled everything is the order of the day, from seasonal fish to Kurobuta to Saga beef. The Yazawa meats on offer are reason enough to warrant a return visit, as are the set menus at lunch and dinner. #01-01 Robertson Walk, 11 Unity St.
Another black and white heritage house turned into a fine dining establishment on Scotts Road, the two-story Ki-sho is divided into a sushi bar, private dining rooms and a sake bar that serves up from a collection of 50-strong nihonshu. On the food front, you have the option of just six sets, including Kyoto chef Hamamoto’s omakase, comprising the best seasonal seafood flown in twice a week from Japan. Chateau Tcc, 29 Scotts Rd.
One of the most vibrant places to get dinner and drinks in the Raffles Place area, this modern Japanese bar and restaurant at Customs House boasts a funky space with bright-colored murals by Miami Ink’s Chris Garver, exposed pipes and a hip hop soundtrack. Dig into dishes like the signature sea bream carpaccio and the salmon ceviche with crispy friend gyoza skin. The food is a great match for their Asian inspired cocktails such as the Peach Blossom Margarita and the passionfruit-heavy Geisha Sake-rita. Head up to their third-floor rooftop bar when you’re done for a nightcap. #02-02 Customs House, 70 Collyer Quay. Make a reservation via Chope here.
Fairmont’s Japanese restaurant is a big, well-dressed space that elevates, not just covers, its bases with the teppanyaki counter, a sake/sushi bar, an intimate live robatayaki station (our pick), in addition to the main dining room. At its helm is Korean executive chef Moon Kyung Soo whose kaiseki dishes are innovative yet restrained, with highlights including a signature mushroom soup served in a siphon. Whatever you’re sampling here, it’ll be money well spent. 3/F Fairmont Singapore, 80 Bras Basah Rd. Make a reservation via Chope here.
This packed, modern izakaya sports a street-inspired facade with grafitti murals, a sexy crowd and a trendy menu. They serve Japanese small plates with an edgier twist like chilled cucumber with crushed chili roasted peanuts and goma and crab cakes with wasabi and avocado. For mains, try the smoked baby back ribs in sake barbecue sauce and the tare-roasted chicken thigh with Japanese curry. A special mention goes to their pocket-friendly cocktails and special in-house junmai daiginjo sake. 1A Keong Saik Rd. Make a reservation via Chope here.
The eponymous chef’s famous Ginza sushi restaurant has not one but two branches in Singapore, one of them at The St Regis. It’s a serious place for serious lovers of Japanese seafood and culinary craftmanship. Book a spot to sit around at this black-and-beige, minimalist sushi counter (there’s a pebbled path leading you in) and be dazzled by the omakase selection. Don’t forget to save some time for the dedicated sake bar in the next room. The other branch is at Raffles Hotel. The St Regis Singapore, 29 Tanglin Rd.
Singapore is full of fancy sushi restaurants, but this one, a rare standalone, has been reliably excellent. Helmed by chef Ryosuke Harada, formerly the sous chef of Sora Sushi at Mandarin Oriental Tokyo, the typically private and zen restaurant has an 18-seat counter for course-by-course sushi. As expected, it works on an omakase basis where you’ll get a mix of fresh sushi and sashimi, as well as appetizers and an assortment of cooked dishes. It’s a popular spot for local sushi fanatics, native Japanese and of course many of our panelists. 60 Tras St.
Run by chef-owner Patrick Tan, his wife Nicole and chef-co-owner Max See, this joint specializes in Japanese grills or robatayaki. Snag a seat at the long chef’s counter: they serve food up on long wooden paddles, making for a fun interactive experience. Recently, they’ve introduced the new shabu shabu/sukiyaki menu which includes two specialties—Sake Nabe, which uses 100% sake in hot pot and Whisky Sukiyaki for whisky lovers. If you don’t want to blow the budget, affordable lunch sets are available too. #02-01, 12 North Canal Rd.
It may have dropped off the World’s 100 Best list this year, but we don’t care. Top‑notch, personalized service makes the hefty $450 price tag for this 10‑course degustation menu worth the splurge. Expect a sublime European/Japanese feast with exquisite creations using premium ingredients, such as grade nine wagyu and Hokkaido uni, in an understated, elegant space. Hold your breath for signatures like the botan shrimp with sea urchin and caviar, and the wagyu with wasabi and citrus soy. There are over 100 options for premium sake, including two developed specifically for the restaurant. #02-01 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, 2 Bayfront Ave.