Hanazen by Yukuse Takada is a new concept opened on the 12th of March 2023 in Chijmes. The restaurant was founded by Chef Yusuke Takada who is known for the 2-Michelin starred La Cime in Osaka. While La Cime is a French brasserie, Hanazen takes on a different approach. In Hanazen, the kitchen is helmed by Chef Karasawa, the head chef in Singapore.
Hanazen focuses on char-grilled items for its dinner omakase, which it offers for S$250++ for 16 items. The restaurant also has an alfresco space which is planned for serving brasserie-style lunches in the future.
The char-grilled dishes at Hanazen are prepared with French touches. This means that sauces figure heavily in each dish, and as much considered as highlights in their own right. Ingredients are air-flown from Japan multiple times each week so items in the omakase may change from time to time. The dishes mentioned here are representative of the dinner I had at the time of my visit during a preview a couple of days before the restaurant officially opened.
Hanazen’s Daily Soup
The meal starts with a clear, flavorful broth which uses kombu dashi and chicken bones boiled for 6 hours. This palate cleanser changes daily.
The Singa-Dog is Chef Yusuke’s local take on his original Boudin Dog. This small black sphere consists of chicken floss and chicken liver shaped into a black battered ball. The blackness stems from edible bamboo charcoal and buah keluak sauce.
Beef and Tuna Tartlet
A tartare of raw Wagyu and akami is delicately commingled with guacamole in a crisp beetroot tartlet shell garnished with julienned ginger flower (myoga) and red amaranth leaves.
Panna Cotta, Clams and Udo / Croustillant and Nanohana (2 courses)
Two courses are combined here – the Panna Cotta which is presented in a beautiful wooden box is inspired by Singapore’s kaya toast. The delicate savory pandan flan is studded with seasonal clams which possess a natural sweetness. The second course is a layering of bread tuile and nanohana buds and topped with caviar. One is supposed to crush the bread tuile on the panna cotta
Sea Fois Gras, Choucroute and Urui
Ankimo or monkfish liver, otherwise known as the foie gras of the sea, is steamed with sake and cognac, served chilled in a refreshing, tangy sauerkraut-like choucroute dressing and topped with the young green shoots of urui, a Japanese green vegetable symbolic of spring. The urui’s crisp grassy notes cleanses the palate when eaten with the rich, fatty ankimo.
Prawns and Chicken Tail, Porcini Sauce
Designed to be eaten in three bites, with the first on the plump piece of Gambero Rosso prawn and the second bite on the lobe of fatty chicken tail. In the third bite, have both the prawn and chicken tail together. The dish comes with a creamy porcini mushroom sauce that complements the prawn and chicken tail.
Grilled Octopus, Mustard, Olive Sauce
The next course is supposed to be chicken hearts on a skewer but as I don’t eat these, mine was replaced with grilled octopus instead on a skewer. I appreciated the mustard and olive sauce combination that possessed a pesto-like quality.
Nodoguro, Fukinoto, Miso & Grilled Turnip (2 courses)
Another 2-in-1 course, a small chunk of blackthroat seaperch is poached in a highly umami fukinoto miso sauce and garnished with yuzu strips. Despite the rather strong flavor of the miso sauce, the fish doesn’t get too salty as its slippery texture repels a portion of the sauce from its surface. On both sides of the fish are two vegetables that possess bitter notes – the fukinoto and grilled turnip.
Abalone, Mushrooms, Gyoja-Ninniku Butter
I rarely get to eat abalone that does not come with some heavy sauce. This particular course allows one to taste the natural flavors of the shellfish, with no gravy to distract.
Chicken Liver, Raisin Sauce
Creamy chicken liver gets a sweet/sour dimension with the dollop of raisin sauce made from 3 types of raisins and further sweetened with tamarind and white wine.
Chicken Wing, Konbu, Yuzu
Looking like a mere dot, a small piece of deboned wing is served with equal proportion of skin and meat and lightly drizzled with furikake. It is best eaten immediately while still hot to appreciate the flavor of the chicken.
Lamb, Yoghurt Sauce
Baby lamb shoulder is used for this course due to its tender and milder profile. It comes with creamy herbed yogurt sauce on the side.
Chicken Skin, Spices, Gochujang
A threaded skewer of chicken skin is grilled low and slow to achieve its crispiness and char, as the fattiness and collagen in the skin is rendered carefully to retain an ideal texture.
Wagyu, Jus de Boeuf
The last meat dish is the A5 Wagyu ribeye. Tender and flavorful, my only gripe was the size. It was easily finished with one bite.
Soumen, Warabi, Dashi
The carbohydrate dish is another highlight here, with the somen effectively combining the rich umami flavor of dashi with the comforting taste of chicken broth and garnished with coriander and the stalk of a wild Japanese fern. It is elevated with
the addition of chicken oil that adds depth and richness to the dish. This was really good and I could feel the rich flavor sticking to my tongue for a few seconds even after gulping down the soup.
Kyoto Uji Matcha Ice Cream, Fermented Banana
Hanazen makes its matcha ice cream inhouse and this dessert is served alongside fermented banana ice cream. The ice cream carried the strong bitter flavor of green tea, just the way I like it.
I loved the financier which was grilled perfectly with a crispy exterior, possessing a mild fragrance brought about by chicken oil.
All items at Hanazen are exquisitely prepared, despite char-grilled dishes typically having a more casual reputation. The sauces went well with each dish and one could see the careful thought that went behind each sauce pairing, taking flavor profiles into account. If I have any complaints about my meal here, it might be on the size of the courses – some extremely tiny or combined with other courses that I wouldn’t count them as separate courses. Given that the price is at S$250++ per person, having larger portions and more true standalone courses may do the trick.
30 Victoria Street
+65 9820 2963
Tuesday to Sunday, 6PM to 11PM