Another new omakase restaurant has opened in Singapore, and this time it is Takahashi – the famed restaurant in Tokyo’s Ginza district. The Singapore outlet, which is located in Mohamed Sultan Road, is the brand’s first international outpost.
The Singapore outlet is helmed by Chef Rinto Sasagawa who has worked under Chef Jun Takahashi for a number of years.
The interiors of Takahashi is perhaps one of the most zen that I have encountered in Singapore. With rental prices at a premium in the Lion City, most omakase restaurants have little space aside from the counter, chef’s preparation area, kitchen and perhaps one small private dining room. In Takahashi however, they even have a miniature zen garden filled with sand, rocks, bamboo and even a small fountain. It feels absolutely mesmerizing to see this inside a restaurant!
For this occasion, I tried their Shugetsu dinner set which goes for S$320 which includes 9 courses plus 6 types of nigiri. They also have lunch sets available starting from S$180.
We started off with the Karesansui or Japanese Zen Garden Platter. The dishes that make up the platter changes depending on what the chef is able to fly in from Japan but may include delicacies such as monkfish liver.
The next course was aptly called Competition Between Two Eels. Two slices of eels were presented side by side, one is anago while the other is unagi. Both slices were lightly grilled. The unagi still had its skin intact which was delicate and crispy while the anago was tender and not dry despite having been grilled. In all honesty, the kind of unagi that I typically have is the one doused in sweet sauce. I have never had it grilled as-is before and I love the clean, unadulterated flavor.
Another highlight was the Signature Crab Croquette. The croquette itself was packed with a dense amount of shredded crab meat and it sat on a bed of crab bisque. The bisque was surprisingly light in terms of seasoning and easy to take in, a nice change as I often find shellfish bisque too salty for my liking.
The Chawanmushi course came next. While it was generously filled with scallops and nicely topped with crispy sweet potato, I was not quite used to the relatively thick gooey layer at the top.
The Nigiri course is one of the highlights of a meal at Takahashi. While the Shugetsu set comes with 6 nigiri courses, we were treated to 8 by the chef! The nigiri presentation came in two parts with a palate cleanser as intermission in between. Essentially it was divided between tuna and non-tuna nigiri items.
The first part consisted of reliable favorites such as herring, sweet shrimp, rock fish and stone perch.
The palate cleanser was persimmon doused in creamy tofu sauce. The persimmon was delightfully sweet.
The trio of tuna nigiri was presented in an order based on fat content. We started with akami and progressed to chutoro and otoro. It’s while having the fatty tuna that I got to feel exactly the juxtaposition between the melt-in-your mouth texture of the fish and the chewy and firmer-than-usual texture of the sushi rice at Takahashi. Serving it in this particular order was just apt for diners to appreciate the succulent qualities of the fish, especially with the last piece.
As we already had 8 nigiri just before, the special rice bowl that came was served in petite size. The Uni Ankimo Rice Bowl was especially creamy with a combination of sea urchin and monkfish liver. This was heavenly and included a thin film of crispy seaweed as well.
Continuing on this creamy-crispy contrast but in a more pronounced way, the Uni Abalone Handroll had deep-fried abalone topped with creamy sea urchin, monkfish liver sauce and a bed of sushi rice. There’s quite a bit going on here, but I thought the deep-fried qualities of the abalone really brought out its briny flavor.
The caramel sauce which was partially absorbed into the Tamago turned this into something of a dessert. It possessed a taste and texture not dissimilar to flan.
We ended the meal with a matcha tea ceremony and a duo of desserts – daifuku and mizu shingen mochi. Chef Rinto Sasagawa personally whisked matcha right before us. Although I normally don’t have tea so late in the evening, I thought it went well with the daifuku and mizu shingen mochi that was doused with brown sugar syrup.
Given that we had such a full meal, I was pleasantly surprised how the overall feel did not end up being too cloying by the end of the dinner. The dishes were fortunately not heavily seasoned, instead relying on the natural flavors and freshness of the individual ingredients. Overall, the dishes were exquisitely presented without being too theatrical. I particularly enjoyed the cooked dishes such as the two eels and croquette as well as the sea urchin courses towards the end. If you like the idea of having a satisfying meal against a zen backdrop, I do recommend coming to Takahashi.
4 Mohamed Sultan Road
+65 8877 0501
Open daily except Tuesday, 12PM to 10:30PM