I have noticed the dining scene in Singapore has been evolving with diners going for quality instead of quantity. That could be the reason why I am noticing restaurants offering tapas and small plate concepts in the menu. The demand to satisfy this growing group of diners seeking out fresh and quality food has also seen more Japanese restaurants offering Omakase using only in season freshest ingredients. One such restaurants is Shinzo Japanese Cuisine helmed by Chef Lawrence Chia who is trained under the famous Chef Yoshio Nogawa at the renowned Sushi Kaiseki Nogawa in the early 90s. Spending more than 23 years honing his skills as a sushi shokunin at Hinoki, Tatsuya and Tatsu, Chef Chia decided to start his own restaurant in Shinzo meaning heart in Japanese. Like his older brother celebrity Chef Ronnie Chia, Chef Lawrence Chia is acclaimed for his fine sashimi cutting techniques, premium sushi as well as classic and contemporary Japanese cuisine.
Chilled Tomato 3.8/5
The 8 Course Omakase ($168++) journey started with the Chilled Tomato from the Ehime region in Japan. The best way to enjoy the sweetness of the tomato is in its nature form. I can taste that the tomato has not developed to its full sweetness, with a tad of acidity.
Uni Tofu and Deep Fried Ebi 4.2/5
Next up I had the Uni Tofu and Deep Fried Ebi. This is my first time having the Uni Tofu. I applaud the creation adding a subtle sweetness of the sea urchin to the bland tofu. For those that find sea urchin has an acquire taste, this sea urchin tofu will be a good start to convert the palate. The deep fried shrimp is grilled to perfection paired excellently with a wasabi mayonnaise dressing.
Toro Tataki 4.5/5
The advantage of sitting at the bar counter is that I can enjoy in full view how Chef Lawrence prepared the Toro Tataki. The tuna belly was lightly seared and topped with sweet miso and finely diced onions. The melted in the mouth tuna belly was clean in execution, melted in the mouth and bursting with lovely flavours.
Chef's Seasonal Selection 4.5/5
Moving on is a platter of the Chef's Seasonal Selection of Baby Abalone, Hamachi and Herring Fish Roe. With all the freshness on a plate, what else can I complain? A new to me is the herring fish roe. Shaped in a jelly like cube form, each bite comes with popping surprises of fish roes.
Squid with Roe 4.8/5
This is the best time to have the Squid because it is in season and comes with roe. Stewed in a special homemade sauce, the squid was cooked to a nice springy tender with delectable creamy roe enhancing the whole enjoyment.
Kabura Turnip with duck and foie gras 4/5
The Kabura Turnip was steamed to a nice soft texture and beautifully paired with rich broth. Although the duck meat and foie gras have given the dish a luxurious boost in flavours and textures, I was already satisfied with just the superior broth and kabura turnip for a cleaner taste. However I am not complaining since both the duck and foie gras were beautifully executed.
This is the priced ingredient I will be having later. The sea urchin is air flown and sealed in sea water to retain the freshness and sweetness.
Assorted Nigiri Sushi Set 4.5/5
The Assorted Nigiri Sushi Set comes with the Hamachi, Sea Eel, Flounder Fin, Scallop and Uni on the plate. Of course all of them were so good but the sea urchin with its freshness and sweetness simply blown me off, bursting with unami.
Tuna Consomme 4/5
A change from the usual miso soup, the chef has specially prepared the Tuna Consomme made from a richly flavoured stock of tuna, leek, carots and seasonal vegetables boiled for hours. This felt like a shot of tonic, cheers to good health.
The sweetest moment of the Omakase experience is the birthday surprise from Chef Lawrence, Amanda, Charleen, Crystal and Nicole. A beautifully and delicious trio colour plate of Green Tea Ice Cream, Yuzu Sorbet, Kurogoma (black sesame) Ice Cream to celebrate my birthday. Thank you all for the happy memories.
If you find the the Omakase set menu I had is expensive, then you should not miss the Early Bird Omakse Special at $68++ starting from 1 April 2014 between 6pm - 730pm, diner has to end their meal before 730pm. For lunch crowd that has difficulty getting a seat at Shinzo, despair not as the restaurant offers 3 different bento box set ($25-$35) for takeaway too.
Shinzo Japanese Cuisine
17 Carpenter Street
Tel: +65 64382921
Nearest MRT: Clarke Quay (NE Line)
Mon-Sat: 12pm - 3pm, 6pm - 1030pm
(Closed on Sun)
1) Alight at Clarke Quay MRT station. Take Exit E. Cross the bridge. Turn left towards Carpenter Street. Walk to destination. Journey time about 5 minutes. [Map]