MAI by Dashi Master Marusaya at Bukit Pasoh is a new dining concept by Marusaya, an established wholesaler of Japanese katsuobushi (dried bonito) since 1962. Here at MAI, you will have a taste of its Satsuma 2-year-old hongare-honbushi, made from skipjack tuna that is dried and fermented over 2 years instead of 1 year, a fermentation period which is more commonly practised in the market for commercial use. From a range of speciality dishes featuring all-natural dashi prepared from their signature aged katsuobushi, MAI wants you to enjoy the more sophisticated flavour of its katsuobushi.
Shabu Shabu 3.8/5
The set lunches are meant to be relatively more affordable. $29 can get you a Shabu-Shabu Set with US Black Angus Beef or Hokkaido Pork. Among all the set lunches I tried, the Shabu-Shabu not only brings out the most of the dashi stock, but it also allows you to appreciate the meats as well. For the same price, I recommend getting the beef, which pairs really well with its house dips - dashi ponzu and sesame.
Each set lunch includes a variety of sides and condiments - Chawanmushi and Miso soup with seasonal topping, bonito flakes and a bowl of claypot rice cooked with dashi. To flavour your rice, there are wasabi-flavoured konbu, ikura and Japanese pickles.
A4 Japanese Beef Toban Yaki 3/5
A4 Japanese Beef Toban Yaki Set ($49) may be luxurious, but it's rich and buttery miso sauce overpowered everything on the plate, including my dashi rice. Bonito flakes were added upon serving, but they seemed to just add on to the saltiness of the sauce.
Prawn, Scallop & Oyster Toban Yaki 3.5/5
A much lighter option would be the Prawn, Scallop & Oyster Toban Yaki ($32), in which the seafood is seasoned with shoyu, sake, mirin and yuzu juice. The sauce that had the seafood sizzling in was rich with yuzu flavour and definitely paired better with the rice compared to the buttery miso sauce.
For sharing, one of the mains to try is Donabe - a traditional Japanese claypot cooked with Hokkaido Yumepirika rice, dashi, soy sauce, Japanese sake, and simmered with ingredients such as unagi or salmon. The rice itself was delicious, with herbal nuances of Sansho pepper. It takes about 40 minutes to prepare each donabe, so please do pre-order it.
Fish Jerky 4/5
The dinner menu features speciality sides such as this moreish Half Dried Bonito Fish Jerky. Other than the Shabu Shabu, none of the other lunch items really showcases the beauty of Marusaya's aged skipjack tuna as much as this humble fish jerky. Perhaps the omakase lunches and dinners may be a better option, with more courses featuring the dashi broth.
Words and photos 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.
MAI by Dashi Master Marusaya
46 Bukit Pasoh Rd
Tel: +65 63278414
Nearest MRT: Outram Park (EW Line, NE Line)
Mon-Sat: 12pm - 3pm, 6pm - 11pm
(Closed on Sun)
1) Alight at Outram Park MRT station. Take Exit H. Turn right onto Teo Hong Road. Walk to destination. Journey time about 3 minutes. [Map]