Sushi Chiharu by Tamaya Dining may not be well known in Singapore but its flagship restaurant in Osaka is a three-time Michelin Bib Gourmand awardee from 2016 to 2018. The 12 counter seats restaurant is hidden in the ground floor interior of Tamaya Dining. The restaurant pays homeage to the Japanese Edo period (1603 to 1868) when the lack of refrigeration technology meant that special marinating techniques had to be employed to preserve fresh seafood. These techniques include boiling, and curing with salt, vinegar or soy sauce.
Pumpkin Soup 3.5/5
I have the 18-course omakase menu ($140++), starting with the Pumpkin Soup. The pumpkin soup is reduced to a puree, thick and creamy. The sweetness of the pumpkin is perked by the saltiness of the caviar on top.
Taraba Kani Kimi Sunose 4/5
The King Crab is first grilled before being topped with an egg and vinegar sauce. The sweetness of the king crab meat with its smoky aroma is delicious on its own. I didn't feel that it needs the egg and vinegar sauce at all.
The Sardine are paired with radish and comes in a ponzu sauce. The citrus-based sauce with its tartness complement the fatness of the sardine excellently.
Maguro and Horse Mackerel 4.5/5
For some fresh sashimi, we have the Maguro and Horse Mackerel. It literally swam down my throat.
Hamo Tempura 3.8/5
Next I have the Hamo Tempura which is Daggertooth Pike Conger, a type of eel. Coating the tender and moist eel in a thin batter, for a play in texture.
Ika Somen 4.2/5
The meal moves on to a series of sushi, starting with the Ika Somen that is topped with black squid ink salt. Just a little of the salt, accentuated the whole dimension of the little parcel. Following that is the clean tasting Kisu or also known as sand borer.
Aji Sujime 4.2/5
Initially I thought the Karachi looks like a piece of beef but it is actually tuna cured in soy topped with a dollop of mustard. I didn't quite enjoy the treatment of the tuna, preferring its original taste. As for the Aji Sujime which has been cured with vinegar, I find it more receptive especially how the vinegar helps to cut through that strong flavour of horse mackerel.
I love Uni and when the chef asked me to receive it with my open palm, it felt like a piece of gold is bestowed upon me. The burst of sweetness from the uni as it dissolved in my mouth is heavenly.
Botan Ebi 4/5
Ebi Roe 4.5/5
Next I have the Botan Ebi in 2 ways. First the Ebi Head is stuffed with sushi rice and grilled over fire. The chemistry between the fire and crustacean shell emits the aroma that fragrant the rice. However one needs to be careful eating this and not let the shell cuts your tongue. As for the Ebi Roe, it is served on top of the botan ebi to appreciate the sweetness of the prawn.
The Barracuda is served aburi style, lightly torched on the surface, giving it a delectable smokiness.
The other sushi that stood out is the Anago, sea eel on sasa leaf. It is first grilled over charcoal fire on top of the sasa leaf and then roll with rice. It is so soft and sweet that literally melted in mouth.
I thought the Scallop was a bit of a disappointment. The scallop is cured in some soy-based sauce which I thought it masked the natural sweetness of the scallop.
Initially I thought the Kerayaki is a cake but this is actually an egg sushi! It is so light, fluffy and smooth, sandwiched with some sushi rice. I was lost of words when it caressed my taste buds and dissolved into thin air.
Miso Soup with Water Lily 3.8/5
Japanese Melon 4.5/5
Like every Japanese meal, I finished off with a bowl of soup before moving to dessert. I had the Miso Soup with Water Lily which helps to wash the dinner. Last but not least, we have the Japanese Melon which is very sweet and juicy.
Stepping into Sushi Chiharu, is like stepping into a hidden restaurant away from the buzz at Cuppage which is usually packed with dining crowds. There are a few hits and misses for me. For the misses, they are probably those that uses the tradition of curing the fresh ingredients which I do not know how to appreciate.
Note: This is an invited tasting
Sushi Chiharu by Tamaya Dining
45A Cuppage Road
Tel: +65 68353639
Nearest MRT: Somerset (NS Line)
Mon-Sat: 6pm - 1130pm
Sun and PH: 6pm - 1030pm
1) Alight at Somerset MRT station. Take Exit B, C or D. Walk to ground level on Orchard Road. Cross the road. Walk to Cuppage Road. Walk down Cuppage Road. Walk to destination. Journey time about 5 minutes. [Map]