fantastic fine-dining japanese at this quiet corner in the oh-so-posh palais renaissance.
but first, sorry about the quiet! it’s been a couple nights of post-work preparation for my final driving theory test – and I’m pleased (and you probably worried) to be one step closer to being an adult, license and all.
it makes me feel celebratory – and I wish I could have capped it off with dinner at this exquisite little japanese place.
this place ranks itself amid the high-falutin’ japanese joints like tatsuya and aoki, and similarly offers a well-priced lunch menu and a more luxurious (and wallet-bleeding) a la carte menu. now, I haven’t been to the posher sushi bars that serve you an omakase on a pedestal raised high by at least a couple zeros (hi there, shinji, won’t you show some pity?) but this place figures top of its higher-than-middle class in my estimation.
it’s surprisingly casual though – where you might dress for a date with the sushi chef at aoki or tatsuya, this place is sartorially yummy-mummy-brunchy.
but OK, enough perambulating – let’s get started on the food.
we were here on a saturday lunch for their sets, all of which are accompanied by a handful of gently cooked udon noodles in a clear broth, spring onions floating poetically atop.
(dessert included, but later.)
the options are impressively large – permutations of raw fish on rice, cooked options like eel and beef and chicken – it’s not that sparse menu all too common offered at lunch (almost-explicit statements of pity and miserliness).
I had a sashimi salad, my friend a barachirashi or diced fish-and-stuff on japanese rice. and it was delicious.
I didn’t manage a shot that captures how impressive this long plate of generously-piled greens dressed with a tangy-sour dressing of radish and yuzu, topped with thick meaty slices of a selection of fish and soft sweet scallops, and showered with fried shards of puffed-up vermicelli.
but besides the delicious freshness of the firm fish, pleasingly meaty in its luxuriant thickness, my favorite part might just about be the lavishly doled out tobiko bursting in every mouthful. one of my favorite ingredients, and in such greed-gratifying amount.
the larger pearls of ikura made a great showing in the chirashi too – peeking and bursting between the cubes of squid and fish and egg. it’s a fantastic rendition of the dish – toppings here win out the already-great version at aoki, but the latter wins points with my companion for the seasoned rice (it’s unseasoned here).
it’s a small quibble though – the dish wins out overall for me for both taste and aesthetic quality.
it should go without saying that the fragrant wasabi is freshly grated and naturally light-green, and the pickled ginger tender and sweet, great accompaniments to the food.
we finished with a a scoop each of yuzu sorbet and matcha ice cream, the first refreshing and non-icy with bits of candied peel, the latter a creamy not-too-sweet melting dessert.
I’ve probably exhausted my store of (and your patience for) adjectives, but language is incredibly inadequate that way – I wish there were some better way to describe how relaxing the meal was, and how gratifyingly satisfying.
big more-than-generous portions give worth in a class of restaurant not often known for that trait, staff are earnest (if still slightly unseasoned), and lunches here a fantastic deal. must-visit.
#01-07 Palais Renaissance
390 Orchard Rd
tel +65 6736 0100
$$$: lunch sets average at fifty, and à la carte prices stretch to the same heaven all top japanese restaurants seem to aspire to