The first time I tried fugu or also known as pufferfish was back in 2015 when Fuku Fine Kaiseki Restaurant first opened in Singapore. The restaurant since has closed its door and you can't find this exotic fish until the recent opening of Guenpin at Maxwell Chambers, Japan's largest Fugu restaurant chain.This is their first oversea venture offering a delightful range of torafugu (tiger puffer fish) and snow crab cuisines.
We tried the Zeitaku Set Course Menu ($168/pax, min 2 pax) which comprises of 9 dishes. The set allows us to try both their specialty - Torafugu and Snow Crab. I have also indicated its ala carte pricing for those that do not want to go for their set course meal.
Parboiled Puffer Fish Skin Sashimi 3/5
Dinner at the new restaurant started with the Parboiled Puffer Fish Skin Sashimi ($14) with ponzu sauce. The fish skin has an interesting crunchy texture which is rather bland. You will need to dig into the ponzu for an elevated taste.
I still think the best way to appreciate the torafugu is to go for the sashimi. There is two ways you can enjoy the torafugu sashimi, either thin sliced or thick sliced.
Thin Sliced Puffer Fish Sashimi 4.2/5
I personally preferred the Thin Sliced Puffer Fish Sashimi ($28) which is paired with special ponzu soy sauce from Japan. The delicate cut allows me to taste the clean and sweetness of the torafugu on top of its chewy texture.
Thick Sliced Puffer Fish Sashimi 4/5
On the other hand, the Thick Sliced Puffer Fish Sashimi ($32) allows you to enjoy the texture of the torafugu more. This is possible because of the special aging process used by Guepin. If not the meat will be too hard and chewy. It is then topped with radish, ponzu soy sauce and spring onion to be eaten together. I felt the flavours were a bit complex for the appreciation of the puffer fish sashimi.
Deep Fried Snow Crab 4.5/5
The other highlight for me at Guenpin is their Deep Fried Snow Crab ($28). The crab karaage is marinated in a very delicious sauce that lifted the sweetness of the snow crab. I was told that they even got an award for the sauce.
Snow Crab Sashimi 3.8/5
This is probably my first time having Snow Crab Sashimi ($32). I thought it did not quite showcase the sweetness and texture of the crustacean. I still prefer it to be cooked.
Grill Snow Crab 4.5/5
It was a torturing 5 minutes wait for the Grill Snow Crab ($48) to be cooked. As it gets cooked, the aroma of the fire heating up the crustacean filled the air, making me salivate as it gets cooked. The sweetness of the snow crab seems more prominent when it is grilled.
Puffer Fish Hotpot 4/5
The other way to enjoy the torafugu is to have it with hotpot. The Puffer Fish Hotpot ($55/pax) comes with a platter of vegetables, mushroom, tofu and torafugu. Unlike the puffer fish sashimi, the meat used for the hotput comes with the bone. All the ingredients are cooked in a light bonito and seaweed broth, which the server will help you.
After finishing the hotpot ingredients, rice is added into the leftover broth to cook the porridge. Sea salt and egg is added for flavours. This is a comforting ending using the essence of the hotpot to cook the porridge. You can also add some ponzu sauce if you prefer it to be more salty.
Wrapping up the 9 courses Zeitaku Set is ice cream for dessert. diners have a choice of vanilla, yuzu, green tea or black sesame.
Ice Cream 3/5
You may ask whether it is safe to eat puffer fish, isn't it poisonous? Well, Torafugu, or also known as tiger puffer fish is one of the 22 kinds of puffer fish that are permitted for consumption by law in Japan. It is also recognised as one of the highest grade of fugu. Furthermore with AVA as the gatekeeper, I am sure it is safe or it will not be allowed to set foot into Singapore.
Note: This is an invited tasting.
32 Maxwell Road
Nearest MRT: Tanjong Pagar
Mon-Fri: 12pm - 3pm, 6pm - 12midnight
Sat-Sun, Eve of PH & PH: 5pm - 12midnight
1) Alight at Tanjong Pagar MRT station: Take Exit B. Turn left and walk to Maxwell Road. Walk down Maxwell Road. Walk to destination. Journey time 3 minutes. [Map]