Thursday, September 29, 2022

IKO Restaurant & Bar @ Neil Road - Unique Modern-Japanese Bistronomy


Opening the doors to IKO Restaurant & Bar, you'll immediately be greeted by an eclectic playlist put together by IKO's new Chef-Owner, Dylan Ong. It goes hand in hand with the vibrant vibes, quirky decor and brand new modern Japanese menu to bring a whole new dining experience. Marrying Chef Dylan's love for Japanese cuisine and knowledge of European cooking techniques, you can look forward to a refreshed menu every couple of months.

Oysters 4.2/5

We had an appetising start to our meal with fresh, plump Oysters ($21 for 3pc) served with wasabi lychee granita and sake. It was extra refreshing and zesty with the dash of lime juice added.

Iko-Bee 3.8/5

Next was a fun snack, the Iko-Bee ($15). Inspired by Calbee and shaker fries, you pour sour cream and bottarga powders into a bag of homemade hand-sliced chips. Shake it all up thoroughly and pour them out to enjoy. The crisp chips were good to go with our sake drinks.

Negitoro Ice Cream 4/5 & Salmon Ice Cream 4.2/5

These are an innovative twist to your usual ice creams. The Negitoro Ice Cream ($18 for 2pc) has mini seaweed cones filled with negitoro, menegi and a surprise centre of cured egg yolk. Have this in a mouthful, and you'll get that oozy burst of yolk.

The Salmon Ice Cream ($18 for 2pc) uses the same crunchy seaweed cone, but it's packed with a richer mix of raw salmon, smoked salmon, crème fraiche and ikura. Similar to the negitoro, I would recommend enjoying this in a single bite to get the different layers of flavours.

Lil Basket 4/5

Adorably presented in a dim sum basket, these vibrant pink beetroot ‘baskets’ are stuffed with sweet Hokkaido snow crab, topped with slightly spicy avocado mousse and lime gel. This Lil Basket ($20) pays tribute to the local favourite kueh pie tee, transformed with Chef Dylan’s unique touch.

Hay Smoked Hamachi 4/5

Moving on to starters, the Hay Smoked Hamachi ($24) features hamachi seasoned in ponzu brown butter, served with scallion garlic oil, crunchy trio sesame, elephant stem and compressed green grapes. The distinctly tangy-sweet grapes were a clever addition to the nutty and richly seasoned hamachi.

Dope You Up Bowl

The indulgent Dope You Up Bowl ($42) was quickly wiped clean by my dining companions. You have a bed of ume shiso rice topped with A4 wagyu buri, bafun uni, lightly cured egg yolk, wagyu fat emulsion and a generous portion of ikura.

A4 Wagyu “Sukiyaki”

Another IKO signature that features A4 wagyu is the A4 Wagyu “Sukiyaki” ($28). Slices of A4 wagyu with shiitake mushroom, leek, scallion, egg yolk and fried perilla are served with white sukiyaki sauce to bring them all together.

The High SES Somen 4.5/5

As its name clearly describes, The High SES Somen ($38) has a luxurious combination of chutoro, Hokkaido snow crab, bafun uni and kaviari caviar, finished with clam sauce and chives. It's served chilled, and we enjoyed the exceedingly fresh and sweet seafood used. We had their starter portion, but you can also opt for it as a main at $48.

8 Hrs Braised Abalone 4/5

Here in the 8 Hrs Braised Abalone ($28), you are served a base of pearl barley cooked in rich abalone liver sauce, underneath slices of tender abalone alternating with shiitake mushrooms, paired with elephant stem and asparagus.

IKO 10
Miso Black Cod 4.5/5

The highlight of the Miso Black Cod ($36) is the black cod, which was marinated in miso for three nights before it was grilled to a lovely buttery texture. The sides are intricately put together with sweet pumpkin puree, Manila clams, umami grilled firefly squids, carrots, pickled daikon and roasted nectarines, finished with a creamy clam emulsion. There are many components here, but they complement each other well.

IKO 11
Hay Smoked Guinea Fowl 4/5

The Hay Smoked Guinea Fowl ($32 for Single) sits on up to 15 seasonal Japanese vegetables prepared in various ways, tied together with a flavourful homemade sake ume sauce. The medley of vegetables which included morel mushrooms and brussel sprouts provided varying textures alongside the tender fowl.

IKO 12
Yuzu Semi Freddo 4.2/5

For dessert, we had Yuzu Semi Freddo ($15). Fluffy soft pieces of mint sponge are accompanied by zesty yuzu curds, miso-caramel honeycomb and Hokkaido milk ice cream, drizzled with miso caramel. It was sweet and slightly tangy, just the right choice to end the night!

Photos and words by Jo. A girl who loves her Mala (麻辣) at Da La (大辣), discovering hidden food gems and a good cup of matcha latte. Note: This is an invited tasting.

IKO Restaurant & Bar
65 Neil Road
Singapore 088897
Tel: +65 88665218
Nearest MRT: Outram Park (EW Line, NE Line)

Opening Hours:
Mon-Thu: 12pm - 3pm, 530pm - 1130pm
Fri-Sat: 12pm - 3pm, 530pm - 1am
(Closed on Sun)

1. Alight at Outram Park MRT station. Take Exit H. Walk to Duxton Plain Park. Walk along the park to Neil Road. Cross the tunnel and take the staircase to Neil Road. Walk to junction of Neil Road and Craig Road. Cross the road and walk down Neil Road. Walk to destination. Journey time about 8 minutes. [Map]

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

藝 yì by Jereme Leung @ Raffles Hotel Singapore - Refreshed Menu By MasterChef Jereme Leung with New Specialities


藝 yì by Jereme Leung at Raffles Hotel Singapore has recently launched a refreshed menu. Put together by MasterChef Jereme Leung and Executive Chef Yap Poh Weng, 藝 yì continues to bring to you Chinese provincial dishes with a touch of modern artistic flair whilst retaining traditional flavours and classic styles.

Deep-fried Marinated Pork Belly with Black Garlic 3.5/5

The evening started with a couple of Chef Jereme's drinking snacks. First was a bowl of moreish Deep-fried Marinated Pork Belly with Black Garlic. These golden morsels had a thin, puffed-up crisp exterior that remained crunchy even after sitting out for a while. The pork belly still retained that expected tenderness despite being thinly sliced.

Pan-fried Cuttlefish Cake on Quinoa 3.5/5

Pan-fried Cuttlefish Cake on Quinoa had an enjoyable bouncy texture. I love the accompanying Spicy Tangy Salsa had all the zest of a green Nam Jim.

Hokkaido Scallops 4.5/5, Deep-fried Shrimp Balls 4.5/5
Sliced South African Abalone & Vegetarian Abalone 4/5, Crispy Pork Belly 4/5

We had an appetiser sampler platter. Hokkaido Scallops on Cordyceps Flower & Spinach Rolls in spicy sesame sauce epitomise the chef's artistic approach to the cuisine. A cold dish from the Zhejiang coastal province, the Hokkaido scallop sits on a 'ying-yang' handmade rolls of cordyceps flowers and spinach. The same goes for the Sliced South African Abalone & Vegetarian Abalone. A combination of freshly sliced South African and vegetarian abalone presented elegantly in a cocktail glass, Chef's Sichuan green pepper dressing laced the dish with a fragrant and citrusy note.

Deep-fried Shrimp Balls

The Deep-fried Shrimp Ball surprised me with its lightness- its crisped exterior had an airy-like texture, with a delightfully juicy and well-seasoned shrimp mixture that paired well with cheddar cheese. The Crispy Pork Belly didn't disappoint with crackling skin and tender meat.

Iberico Pork Roll wrapped with Crispy Seaweed 4.5/5

Iberico Pork Roll wrapped with Crispy Seaweed with Pickled Sliced Green Mango & Homemade Specialty Sauce is prepared with a 10-hours of careful slow-cooking of the pork in Chef's homemade brine. Next, it is wrapped with a layer of seaweed and then fried. The savoury, crispy seaweed gave the juicy, tender meat a nice contrasting crunch, while the sweet Specialty Sauce that carried a bit of sourness cut the meat's richness.

Double Boiled Chicken Soup 4.5/5

The Double Boiled Chicken Soup was nourishing with Fish Maw, Bamboo Fungus and Matsutake Mushroom, and the warmed coconut elevated the soup with a comforting coconut aroma. The softened coconut made this light soup pretty hearty too.

Poached Rice 4.8/5

The Poached Rice with Assorted Seafood in Shrimp Broth was wholesome and delicious with succulent seafood, singing with umami-ness from flavours imparted by the rich shrimp broth.

Double-boiled Hokkaido Milk and Ginger Pudding 5/5

Steamed Red Dates & Coconut Cake 5/5

The desserts are the highlights for me, especially the Double-boiled Hokkaido Milk and Ginger Pudding with Butterfly Pea Bird's Nest. It was mellow sweet, soft and soul comforting. The Steamed Red Dates & Coconut Cake was just as marvellous with its chewy texture and well-balanced sweetness.

Photos and words by Si An. A girl who is allured by travelling, loves the feel of freedom, smell of the rain and the aroma of fine coffee and food. Note: This is an invited tasting.

藝 Yi By Jereme Leung
Raffles Arcade
328 North Bridge Road
Singapore 188719
Tel: +65 63371886
Nearest MRT: City Hall (EW Line, NS Line)

Opening Hours:
Daily: 1130am - 2pm, 6pm - 930pm

1) Alight at City Hall MRT station. Take Exit A. Walk to Junction of North Bridge Road and Bras Basah Road. Cross the road. Walk to destination. Journey time about 5 minutes. [Map]