Hiryu opened a couple of months ago in Tras Street as a Japanese restaurant specializing in inventive Japanese cuisine.
It is helmed by Chef Raymond Tan who has spearheaded other well known Japanese restaurants such as Sushi Jin, Sushi Murasaki and Kurama Robatayaki. He also served a stint at Fat Cow.
Like most of the independent restaurants lining the Tanjong Pagar area, Hiryu’s floor space is relatively limited, making for excellent intimate lunches or dinners. Hiryu’s space is situated in the northern end of a long row of shophouses along Tras Street near a bridal shop. Blink and you might miss it. I managed to check it out for lunch one December afternoon. The Japanese restaurant has been open for just a month or so but has seen a steady flow of diners, especially for dinner.
The Truffle Chutoro Sashimi sets the tone for the meal with a piece of fatty tuna served alongside some truffles – I happened to dine at the beginning of truffle season. Chef Raymond aims to bring in seasonal flavors to the omakase meal at Hiryu so diners can expect to get something different with each visit.
The Tai (Snapper) Carpaccio (S$42) was especially fragrant as it’s not simply soaked with truffle oil or soy sauce as other restaurants do. To enhance the flavor, it also comes with actual shaved truffles. Chef Raymond even showed us his “treasure chest” filled with truffles coming all the way from Italy.
I particularly liked the Uni Tempura (S$42). Coated in seaweed and deep fried with just the right amount of uni filling within, this tempura thankfully possesses that smooth sea urchin flavor – a quality that is often lost with deep fried items.
A juxtaposition of textures, I loved how the crispy toasted bread of the Hiryu Wagyu Sando (S$58) gave way to the melt-in-your-mouth quality of the Miyazaki A5 wagyu within. I could practically see the marbling before digging in.
While I loved the meats at Hiryu, the sushi offering here is undoubtedly its strongest point. The presentation is also theatrical with the likes of gold flakes and caviar sitting atop a small portion of fatty tuna. Of all the sushi I tried there, my favorite has got to be the Botan Ebi – with a juicy piece of foie gras and prawn roe sitting atop a slice of ebi. The savory flavors of these three key components literally exploded with one bite.
Continuing on the truffle theme of the meal, the Kagoshima A3 Wagyu Claypot Rice is slow-cooked and also served with sukiyaki sauce for an enhanced sweetness. Chef Raymond shared how this particular dish was a result of several trial and error attemps – particularly on when the sauce was supposed to be soaked and the doneness required. I like how it ended up – with charred bits and all on the rice. That’s exactly how good claypot rice should be. Interestingly, Hiryu has other versions of the claypot rice served with Iberico Pork, Lamb Rack and even seafood.
Probably the most visually appealing dish at Hiryu is the Chilled Truffle Angel Hair (S$75) which diners can have whether they are partaking in an omakase meal or ordering ala carte. It’s made up of a variety of toppings such as sakura shrimp, scallops, sea urchin and caviar with fine angel hair pasta beneath. It’s also possible to order this dish as a rice dish, in which case it also gets served in a cute box. In a way, this course – with its variety of toppings – serves as a summation of Hiryu’s strengths.
Among sweet endings, a real crowd pleaser is the Shingen Yuzu Mochi (S$12). One of my favorite kind of Japanese desserts, this was the first time I tried it with yuzu-tinged syrup. I typically have it with black sugar so this was a pleasant and refreshing surprise.
Alternatively, the Warabi Mochi (S$18) is a more traditional dessert option. Made inhouse and meant to be covered in a nutty soybean powder and Kuromitsu syrup, this proved to be a deliciously chewy ending.
Hiryu offers both ala carte dishes as well as omakase options (from S$128 for lunch and from S$188 for dinner). There are also set lunch options that start from S$48.
39 Tras Street
Phone: +65 6788 9188