“We still want our eyebrows!” Cheryl Lee joked, as she took her seat in front of the teppanyaki grill at Teppan by Chef Yonemura, the latest celebrity chef restaurant to open at Resorts World Sentosa. Dinner was about to begin at the Japanese-French establishment by Kyoto-born chef Masayasu Yonemura, who had invited Singapore Tatler and four of our favourite society gastronomes to a private dinner on the restaurant's first day of operation. No strangers to fine Japanese cuisine and service, Lee and company (Marilyn Lum, Adrian Ng and Loh May-Han) were expectedly thrilled, while expectations were notably high.
Needless to say, no eyebrows were harmed that evening. Though it wasn’t because the soft-spoken chef of one-Michelin-starred Restaurant Yonemura Kyoto fame was in town to oversee the launch of his first outpost outside Japan. With quiet confidence, his team showcased their sharp culinary and service skills; be it theatrically grilling the delicate wagyu beef or explaining the origins of the richly flavoured, premium green tea that was paired with our eight-course dinner. “The restaurant has Japanese hospitality down to a pat; genuine service with a heart,” said Adrian after the meal.
Equally evident was how each dish reflected Yonemura’s French culinary training and fascination with high quality Japanese ingredients; from the amuse bouche of kombu-marinated flounder paired with a refreshing pear spring roll, to the clam and lobster bouillabaisse with gruyère cheese appetiser, to the bowl of garlic rice, and, most remarkably, the nicely seared wagyu beef served with zucchini, fried shallot, a homemade peanut butter sauce, ponzu sauce and grated radish. Of the eight courses, three were prepared using teppanyaki, which only left us craving more.
The restaurant is divided into two private rooms: an eight-seater and a 13-seater, which can be further split into two smaller rooms. And while this means that you’ll be enjoying efficient service as you would at a fine dining restaurant, Yonemura keeps the overall dining experience at the restaurant rather casual and friendly, just as you would want at a teppanyaki restaurant anyway.
Loh May-Han: "The wagyu steak was no doubt my favourite dish. It was grilled to perfection—lightly charred on the surface, succulent on the inside. The accompanying sauces and side dishes were great options to have, but the meat was already superb on its own or with a light sprinkle of sea salt."
Marilyn Lum: "The clam and lobster bouilbaisse was one of my favourite dishes of the evening. The combination of fresh clams and lobster paired beautifully with gruyère cheese. Service was also excellent and the staff had a good understanding of the menu."
Adrian Ng: "My favourite dish was the Crêpe Suzette for dessert, especially since we got to see the chef demonstrate his theatrics and build up the beurre from scratch with caramelised sugar, butter, orange zest and Grand Marnier!"
Cheryl Lee: "I enjoyed the restraint showmanship in the way the Teppan plating was done, the careful way in which each fresh ingredient was slowly cooked to coax the flavours out, the generally shy Japanese chefs who warmed up after some cajoling and, of course, the right dining crowd that elevated the dining experience."
Photography: Max Chan/101TeamWork
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