In a world where brunch menus typically consist of poached eggs and pancakes, Japanese restaurant Keyaki at Pan Pacific Singapore offers an alternative kaiseki brunch concept. As a fan of Japanese food, I found this to be a refreshing change to the typical weekend meal. The kaiseki brunch here is served okonomi or “as you like it” style, giving diners the option to choose each and every dish in this eight course meal.
During my staycation at Pan Pacific Singapore, I was invited to a tasting of this most unique brunch concept at Keyaki. The restaurant is located at the 4th floor of the hotel, away from other iconic restaurants such as Edge and Hai Tien Lo, and set amidst lush gardens. Walking towards it, I felt like I was somewhere in Kyoto with the overall Zen ambiance. Upon entering, the waitress took my order for my eight course meal. This is what I had:
Light and refreshing, this course is meant to awaken the palate and prepare it for the meal
I chose the Seared Beef with Ponzu Sauce. Admittedly, it was not the lightest dish in the kobachi selection but the beef strips were cut very thinly, just enough to whet my appetite.
Usually served early in the meal. sashimi best showcases the fresh flavor and tender texture of the fish
I wanted to have a sampling of Keyaki’s sashimi offerings so I chose the Assorted Sashimi which came with Shake (salmon), Amaebi (shrimp) and Hotate (scallop). The dish was wonderfully prepared, even the arrangement was noteworthy. The Amebi and Hotate tasted very sweet and fresh, a sign of good sashimi. The salmon was tender and had a sharp taste, just to my liking. As a sashimi lover, it left me wanting more.
Dishes in this course are cooked over high heat to achieve a crisp crust with a lightly seared interior
I always make it a point to order Gindara whenever it’s available so I had just exactly that for my Yakimono. I was served a rather generous portion of the fish. Despite the overall thickness of the serving I had, the cod was a delight with its tender meat complementing the sweet teriyaki sauce very well.
Simmered in Keyaki’s dashi stock to enhance the flavors, this course if a mid-menu dish meant to cleanse the palate
The Nimono is like a mid-meal appetizer if you will, with dishes ranging from the classic Chawanmushi to the ever dependable Agedashi Tofu. I chose what was perhaps the heartiest dish here – Simmered White Bait and Egg. To be frank, I’ve never had this anywhere before so I don’t have a point of reference. Nevertheless, this was a fascinating dish, with the whitebait provided in copious amounts. Just be mindful though that the fish here are provided in full,with bone and all as per tradition.
This course presents hearty deep fried dishes encased in a crisp golden batter
Another highlight for me was the Agemono. Being the seafood lover that I am, I chose to have Battered Oyster. It was succulent even from the first bite. The fact that it was deep fried didn’t seem to compromise the rich flavors of the oyster within, and the sauce was a great counterbalance to the dryness of a deep fried dish.
Cooked over high heat on an iron griddle, this course presents dishes with a smoky, seared flavour and a juicy interior
For the Teppanyaki course, I chose to have beef. It’s not easy to find places that can cook beef well in Singapore, especially those that offer them in varying degrees of done-ness. I chose to have mine medium rare to pack in that tenderness and juiciness. The verdict? The beef was cooked just right – and came out tender and juicy just how I had hoped.
This is the final savoury course in the menu and is meant to round off the meal
By this time, I was quite full so I chose to order something light. The Spicy Tuna Roll is a lighter alternative to the other carb-filled dishes in the selection (i.e. fried rice or cold soba noodles). Compared to the earlier dishes, I wasn’t as impressed with this one. It was neither good nor bad.
Concluding on a sweet note, guests are presented with a choice of chilled seasonal fruit, ice cream or homemade Zanzai, a traditional red bean soup
One of the pitfalls of preparing green tea ice cream is that most establishments treat it like fruit-flavored ice cream and the end product is often too sweet and no longer reminiscent of its matcha origins (apart from the color). Fortunately, the green tea ice cream here was true to its origins, with a fine balance between being sweet and bitter. This is perhaps the best green tea ice cream I’ve tried in Singapore.
Value for money: 4/5
I was invited for a tasting at Keyaki. However, all opinions are my own.
Pan Pacific Singapore
7 Raffles Boulevard
Brunch hours: 11.30 am to 2.30 pm
Days: Weekends (and public holidays)