Monday, December 31, 2018

HIRYU @ Tras Street - Inventive Japanese Cuisine But I Failed To See The Innovation & Creativity


HIRYU at Tras Street positioned itself as one that specialises in inventive Japanese cuisine, through the blend of Eastern traditions and Western influences. Helmed by head chef Raymond Tan who is known for his exquisite and contemporary culinary techniques among his regulars. He led the acclaimed Japanese restaurant Sushi Jin by award-winning Les Amis Group as well as Sushi Murasaki and Kurama Robatayaki, which he opened in 2015 and 2016 respectively. Both omakase and ala carte menus are available, updated seasonally according to the availability of the Japanese ingredients.

Tai Carpaccio 2.8/5

Starting off our lunch was Tai Carpaccio (available ala carte). Thinly-sliced white fish (snapper) with Shio Konbu, chives, shaved truffles, drizzled with truffle soy sauce. Thinly cut, yet each slice was full and luscious in the mouth. However, none of its flavours managed to seep through that thick coating of truffle oil. Being one of the most prized fish in Japan, it was a mistake to suffocate this beautiful plate of fish with that grease.

Uni & Toro Truffle Bruschetta 3.5/5

Anointed with gold flakes, here we had Uni & Toro Truffle Bruschetta (available ala carte). I overheard one of his regulars asking for it and I could see why. The seasoned Japanese chopped tuna was really rich and fatty, lending a boost of texture to the accompanying sea urchin, whose custardy texture reinforced that decadent mouthfill. The housemade toast had been buttered for extra aroma which made it even more heavenly but what I didn't appreciate was the truffle oil that trickled down my fingers simply because there was just too much of it. Instantly, I reminisced my first encounter with a Uni Bruschetta which took place at Terra. The execution was relatively cleaner - with just a dash of citrusy from a 6-month old homemade preserved lemon to highlight the key ingredient.

Hiryu Wagyu Sando 3.5/5

A crowd pleaser is the Hiryu Wagyu Sando (available ala carte). Indulge in the extravagant toast featuring char-grilled Miyazaki A5 Wagyu and sea urchin jam. I like how the toast help to sop up the flavours, fats and juice from the wagyu. A lot less on the salt level would be good as those on my plate had sort of blanketed the flavours from coming through. The delicate Uni was completely overshadowed.

Uni Tempure 4/5

When all things seemed so opulent, the unassuming Uni Tempura (available ala carte) captivates with its simplicity. Deep-fried in seaweed, that gives the mushy ingredient a lovable crunch and the accompanying sweet house-made Anago sauce complements its oceany flavour well.

ToroToro Caviar 4.2/5

Botan Ebi 4/5

Lunch omakase includes sushi and we had the ToroToro Caviar and Botan Ebi. I was quite amazed by the level of satisfaction I got from these small bites. I love the former alot with just toro toro and rice, coupled with a touch of seasoning, that allows me to relish its flavours fully. An unusual partnership between Ebi and Foie Gras, the latter delivers another kind of pleasure. The ebi was so sweet and succulent, it was not at all weighed down by the slab of rich foie gras.

Chilled Truffle Angle Hair 3/5

There are two 'Signature Donburi' items found on the Omakase options as well as the ala-carte menu, one of which is Chilled Truffle Angle Hair. Served in an exquisite handmade wooden box, drawing it open reveals a beautiful display of Sakura shrimp, scallop, sea urchin and caviar in cold angel hair pasta, topped with shaved black truffle. The firm and sweet fresh scallop was ideal for the chilled pasta and the savoury crispy Sakura shrimps made it quite moreish. I don't think the truffle oil works as a right agent to pull the ingredients together, especially when the Uni was masked by it.

Wagyu Claypot Rice 3.8/5

The Miyazaki A5 Wagyu Claypot Rice was our grand finale. After numerous trials and errors, this special claypot is picked for its ability to deliver the desired result that Chef Raymond has in mind. Interesting, there was no burnt rice (although I was very much dying for some), there was this elusive wok hei fragrance lingering in my mouth after each bite.


Slow-cooking the Miyazaki A5 Wagyu in the heat of the claypot rice is meant to keep the meat tender, while the rice remains plump and grainy. But given that beautiful marbling, I can imagine how just a little sear will do to release that juice and flavour trapped within the fats, something that slow cooking can't achieve. For a more varied texture too. Good for 4 pax, each portion is quite substantial. Besides Wagyu, in the "Choose Your Style" menu section, you can choose from a variety of meats such as Lamb Rack, Iberico Pork or Seafood that can be prepared in various styles.

Shingen Yuzu Mochi 3/5

For dessert, we had Shingen Yuzu Mochi. I thought 'Japanese Raindrop Cake" is a thing of the past but Chef Raymond revives it with a refreshing Yuzu twist. Found on the omakase dessert option as well as the ala-carte menu.

Warabi Mochi 3.5/5

I would recommend the rustic Warabi Mochi instead, which is also made in-house, covered with a nutty soybean powder and drizzled in Kuromitsu syrup. I love the matcha powder which has a slight bitterness to balance the sweetness. When everything is all about hyper and new, this brings me back to presence.


I feel an inventive Japanese cuisine can be more than uni, truffles and piling premium ingredients on top of one another, which in some cases, one gets undermined. When most of these ingredients are so delicate, they deserve to a single spotlight on them. At Hiryu, perhaps, ala carte would be a more satisfying experience by choosing a few of its creative and bold dishes to wow your senses.

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.

39 Tras Street
Singapore 078978
Tel: +65 67889188
Nearest MRT: Tanjong Pagar (EW Line)

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 12pm - 230pm, 6pm - 11pm
(Closed on Sun)

1) Alight at Tanjong Pagar MRT station. Take Exit A. Walk to Tras Street. Turn right on Tras Street. Walk to destination. Journey time about 5 minutes. [Map]

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