We Went On A Gastronomic Journey At Mikuni And Loved It


October 15, 2017 | BY Dudi Aureus

The all-new culinary team revamps the menu, giving us new reasons to visit the restaurant again.

Even with all the new Japanese restaurants popping up in Singapore, we always have a special place in our hearts for Mikuni. A stalwart in Japanese dining, it continues to impress diners with consistently good food that boasts three different cooking stations and a comprehensive kaiseki menu.

So when the restaurant announced that an all-new culinary team would be handling the kitchen this year, our hearts skipped a beat. Would they be able to prepare our lobster uni yaki or truffle kampachi to the previous high standards?

The first order of the day—meeting Mikuni’s new ‘dream team’. Chef de cuisine Masa Nakao, who spent most of his career working at Japanese restaurants in the US, helms the live sushi station; master chef Eric Yong brings over 31 years of experience to the teppanyaki counter; and sous chef Makoto Nakada, formerly of the Minoki Group in Japan, takes charge of the main kitchen. Overseeing everything is executive chef Uno Keisuke, who’s no stranger to the Japanese dining scene.

(Related: Keisuke Uno Brings A World Of Influences To The Helm At Mikuni)

At least 90 per cent of the menu have been revamped, but the chefs made the decision to keep the restaurant's signatures, with only light tweaks made without sacrificing on taste. Why stick to the same old when there are so many new and delicious dishes to try, right?

A good starting point is the sushi counter, where chef Nakao expertly slices fish air-flown from Japan. We had the day’s best catch—otoro, salmon, uni and Hamachi—sliced to our desired thickness and brimming with all the fresh flavours minus the fishy aftertaste. The presentation also deserved mention; the slices were presented in a box full of ice, decorated with a fence, bamboo and leaves.

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We thought we’d seen the best of what chef Nakao could offer, but that was until we tried his meaty offerings. The first thing we noticed was the heavenly scent of wagyu being torched, which instantly set our mouths watering. The meat was tender, juicy and so flavourful that chef didn’t recommend dipping it in soy sauce or wasabi. As for the foie gras, the pan-fried liver was served atop vinegared rice, with nori holding it all together. It stood out for its buttery taste and texture.

We then move on to the next station where master chef Eric Yong had the teppanyaki counter all fired up to cook us the prized Miyazaki wagyu beef. It had a deliciously smoky char with an inside that remained pinkish, tender and extremely juicy, and it was served with different four different sauces—garlic soy, teriyaki, anticucho, wasabi—to accentuate the flavours.

(Related: 5 Of The Best Japanese Restaurants In Singapore)

We were then ushered into the robatayaki room, which almost felt like stepping inside a refrigerator. It's kept extremely cold so the ingredients stay fresh, so don't forget to take a jacket with you if you're planning to dine here. 

Chef Keisuke started us off with the foie gras chawanmushi, which had all the treasures of the sea (caviar, uni, salmon roe) complementing the warm and creamy foie gras-infused egg custard. The saury fish topped with sea urchin was rolled up with the grilled matsutake in the middle and provided an earthy balance.

Desserts were good; the pear surinagashi was infused with Japanese sake (instead of the typical red wine), and the sake yuzu consomme was a good palate cleanser after a filling meal. We just felt we could have enjoyed them more if we were not in a freezing temperature.

Mikuni, 80 Bras Basah Road, S(189560), tel: 6431 6156, email singapore@fairmont.com

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