Showing posts with label Mackerel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mackerel. Show all posts

Thursday, December 21, 2023

Butcher's Block @ Raffles Hotel Singapore - A Homage to Butchery, Wood-fire, and Hawai'ian Spirit


Having visited Butcher's Block before, my return was met with heightened anticipation, eager to explore the new culinary direction spearheaded by Chef Jordan Keao. Hailing from Hawaii, Chef Jordan brings his rich heritage to the forefront, seamlessly blending the art of butchery with the mastery of contemporary wood-fire cooking. The result is a symphony of flavours that spotlight fine seasonal ingredients in all their intrinsic fullness.

Scallop, Parsnip Blini, Kumquat Kosho, Shiso 4.8/5

Embarking on the IMUA tasting menu, a gastronomic adventure awaited. The evening commenced with a trio of snacks that set the stage for what would come.

The Scallop is a delicately crafted dish featuring a plump scallop perched atop a parsnip blini adorned with kumquat kosho, scallop roe, puffed barley, and microgreens. The marriage of flavours and textural contrast showcased Chef Jordan's finesse.

Roasted Beetroot Tartlet, Taleggio 4.8/5

An unexpected yet delightful creation, the Roasted Beetroot Tartlet unfolded layers of flavour with Taleggio cream, fennel blossoms, and micro-planed roasted macadamia. It is a clever play of textures and flavours in every bite.

Korean BBQ Wagyu Tartare 4.2/5

A morsel of delight, the Korean BBQ Wagyu Tartare presented hand-chopped A5 Saga tenderloin and Wylarah striploin. Seasoned with dehydrated kimchi powder, cold-smoked sesame oil, and other exquisite elements, each bite was a burst of flavour.

Hokkaido Milk Parker Roll with Konbu Butter 4.8/5

A complimentary delight accompanying the IMUA menu, the Hokkaido Milk Parker Roll with Konbu Butter was a testament to classic recipes crafted with precision. Fluffy as an Asian milk bun left us craving for more.

Smoked Sashimi Poke, Kukui nut, Ogo Seaweed, Herb Dashi 4.2/5

A contemporary take on the traditional Hawaiian poke, the dish featured Smoked Sashimi Poke with Kukui nut, seaweed, and herb dashi. It is a visual and flavorful homage to Chef Jordan's hometown.

Dry-aged Duck, Black Garlic, Grilled dumpling 4.5/5

A masterpiece of Dry-aged Duck Breast, grilled to perfection and paired with crispy duck tongue and a pan-seared dumpling. Accompanied by black garlic puree and chive emulsion, it was a symphony of flavours and textures.

Mackerel, Starfruit Curd, Hokkaido Ymepirika Sushi Rice 4.5/5

Grilled Japanese Mackerel on Hokkaido Yumepirika sushi rice, enhanced with starfruit puree, Swiss chard achar, and a side of fish broth. A nod to Hawaii's culinary influences, this dish elevated the appreciation of grilled fish.

Wylarah Wagyu Australian Striploin 4.5/5

The pinnacle of the evening was the Wylarah Wagyu Australian Striploin MBS 8-9, grilled over wood-fire. Drizzled with beef jus and paired with Kabocha squash bone marrow puree, it was a celebration of marbling and melt-in-the-mouth perfection.

Pumpkin Pie, Burnt Marshmallow Ice Cream 4.2/5

A deconstructed Pumpkin Pie rounded off the meal with marshmallow ice cream, a five-spice biscuit, roasted pumpkin puree, coconut mochi, and fresh passionfruit. It is a light and vibrant dessert that leaves a sweet imprint. Lastly, the Petit Fours of Hazelnut Chocolate Bonbon, Lilikoi Pate de Fruit, and Charcoal Macaron—adding the perfect final notes to a memorable dining experience.

Chef Jordan Keao's culinary finesse, coupled with Butcher's Block's commitment to quality, resulted in an evening of gastronomic excellence, a testament to the evolving culinary landscape at this esteemed establishment.

Note: This is an invited tasting.

Butcher's Block
Raffles Hotel Singapore
Raffles Arcade
328 North Bridge Road
Singapore 188719
Tel: +65 6337 1886
Nearest MRT: City Hall (EW, NS Line), Esplanade (CC Line)

Opening Hours:
Lunch (Thu-Fri): 12pm - 230pm
Dinner (Wed-Sun): 6pm - 945pm
(Closed on Mon and Tue)

1) Alight at City Hall MRT station. Take Exit A. Walk to Junction of North Bridge Road and Bras Basah Road. Cross the road. Walk to destination. Journey time about 5 minutes. [Map]

2) Alight at Esplanade MRT station. Take Exit F. Walk to Beach Road. Cross the road. Walk to destination. Journey time about 5 minutes. [Map]

Saturday, November 4, 2023

Homura by Kai @ Orchard Plaza - A Hidden Yakitori Omakase Inside An Unassuming Shopping Mall


Homura by Kai, nestled discreetly on the third floor of Orchard Plaza, is a yakitori omakase haven awaiting discovery. This unassuming restaurant opens its shutters precisely at 6:30 pm, revealing a cosy space with 12 counter seats that provide a full view of the chef orchestrating his culinary magic over a charcoal pit.


I had the 18-course Yakitori Omakase ($188), which promises an array of flavours and textures. The feast includes 3 Appetisers, 13 Skewers, 1 Signature Ramen/Soup, and a Dessert. There's also a slightly more modest 12-course Yakitori Omakase available at $138.

Chawanmushi 4/5

We embarked on this journey with a delightful Chawanmushi. This Japanese classic presents a smooth and silky steamed egg bathed in dashi broth and adorned with a slice of chicken and a mushroom. It's a soothing prelude to the meal.

Spanish Mackerel 4.5/5

A highlight of the evening was the Spanish Mackerel. At first glance, it might appear straightforward, but upon closer examination, it reveals two distinct textures. The top layer is slightly grilled to a delicate crisp, while the other half is served as sashimi. This clever preparation combines two different textural experiences in a single bite.

Chicken Neck 4.2/5

Chicken Skin 3.5/5

Chicken Heart 4/5

We continued the journey through the diverse world of chicken skewers. The Chicken Neck surprised me with its pleasantly meaty bite, while the Chicken Skin was delightfully crispy. Chef Roy even meticulously trimmed away charred bits, ensuring no unpleasant burnt taste lingered. The Chicken Heart offered a delectably tender texture, showcasing the art of grilling different chicken parts.

Shirako 4.5/5

Moving on, we encountered Shirako, cod fish's milt, a delicacy in season. Chef Roy coated it with a sweet sauce and grilled it over charcoal, adding a slight crispness to the exterior and a smoky aroma, all finished with a hint of sweetness.

Zucchini 4.2/5

Mushroom 4/5

The exploration of skewers continued with a focus on vegetables. The Zucchini, kissed by the fire and lightly seasoned with salt, brought out its natural sweetness. The Mushroom was perfectly grilled, preserving its juicy core.

Chicken Oyster 4.5/5

Chicken Wing 4.2/5

Next in line were the Chicken Oyster, a prized part of the chicken located on the back near the hip joint, offering a moist, juicy, and slightly silky texture. The Chicken Wing, as one might expect, was packed with flavour due to its bone-in preparation.

Gingko Nuts 3.8/5

Gingko Nuts made an appearance, with their green hue resembling grapes, though the taste was quite different, offering hints of sweetness and nuttiness after grilling over charcoal.

Japanese Yam 2.8/5

Japanese Yam, however, was the least favourite. The skin-on grilling left it somewhat dry, with a lingering aftertaste that might not appeal to all palates.

Chicken Gizzard 4/5

Chicken Cartilage 4.2/5

The Chicken Gizzard and Chicken Cartilage provided a delightful crunch, demonstrating the versatility of various chicken parts. These skewers were a testament to how even less common parts can be transformed into delectable treats.

Chicken Liver 4/5

Chicken Liver followed, my personal favourite among chicken innards. Typically enjoyed with chicken rice, it presented a unique flavour profile after grilling, resembling pig's liver more closely than the usual boiled variety.

Tsukune 4.5/5

The Tsukune, seasoned ground chicken formed into oval shapes, was a beloved dish in Japanese cuisine. It showcased the art of grilling and flavouring meat to create savoury and slightly sweet bite-sized portions of grilled chicken.

Quail Egg 4/5

The omakase feast culminated with Quail Egg, grilled and seasoned with pepper. Unlike the usual tough texture of quail eggs, these retained a soft, runny centre, a testament to Homura's grilling skills.

Ramen 3.8/5

The savoury part of the meal ended with Ramen served with an onsen egg and seaweed. The broth, light yet rich, was the perfect ending to a fantastic feast. Finally, for the grand finale, a scoop of Ice Cream, available in Matcha, Black Sesame, or Vanilla, rounded off the dining experience.


Homura by Kai offers an exceptional yakitori omakase feast where each ingredient is expertly grilled to bring out its full flavour. The chef and service staff provide not only delicious dishes but also a warm and attentive dining experience. It was a truly enjoyable and memorable omakase dinner.

Note: This is an invited tasting.

Homura by Kai
Orchard Plaza
150 Orchard Road
Singapore 238841
Nearest MRT: Somerset (NS Line)

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 630pm - 1030pm

1) Alight at Somerset MRT station. Take Exit D. Walk to traffic junction of Orchard Road and Killney Road. Cross the road. Walk to Orchard Plaza. Walk to destination. Journey time about 5 minutes. [Map]

Sunday, July 9, 2023

IKKOTEN @ Telok Ayer - Kyoto Kaiseki-style Omakase in Intimate 10-Seater Japanese Restaurant by Chef Brandon Low


Brand new along Telok Ayer Street is IKKOTEN, a Japanese Omakase restaurant helmed by Executive Chef Brandon Low. Chef Brandon has nearly 10 years of experience in Japanese cuisine and is now venturing into offering traditional Kyoto Kaiseki-style omakase.


IKKOTEN translates to "Paradise on Earth", and Chef Brandon hopes to bring the best quality of ingredients and flavours to his diners.


The 10-seater intimate restaurant space was intentionally designed to be clean and minimalistic, with carefully curated Japanese elements. I particularly value how diners can focus on the food in this space.


There is a lunch Omaksae from $88 catering to the working lunch crowd in the area. As for dinner, there is a 9-course Omakase ($198) and a 11-course Hana Dinner Omakase ($298). I had the opportunity to try the latter.

Sakizuke (Chef’s Appetiser): Sesame Tofu with Uni & Dashi Sauce 4/5

Our first course featured Sesame Tofu with Uni & Dashi Sauce, which uses homemade goma tofu. The seasonal Hokkaido sea urchin sits atop and adds a lovely briny creaminess.

Hassun (Seasonal Appetiser): Baby Sweet Fish Tempura 4/5

The seasonal appetiser, which featured Baby Sweet Fish Tempura, was a delight. Chef Brandon shared that he decided on this assortment of items to showcase a variety of flavours.

The sweet fish carried a slight bitterness, the summer fruit fig with egg miso and yuzu had a fun tangy sweetness, while the deep-fried broad bean stuffed with homemade fish cake and pickled vegetables topped with shredded bonito flakes had pleasing nuttiness, sharper tangy notes and savoury bites.

Suimono (Seasonal Clear Soup): Kyoto Clear Dashi Broth 3.8/5

Before moving into the sashimi, we were served a lighter course of greenling fish cooked in Kyoto Clear Dashi Broth.

Tsukuri (Seasonal Sashimi): Threeline Grunt Fish 4/5

Our first sashimi course was the Threeline Grunt Fish. Carefully grilled over binchotan charcoal, these slices were fresh and boasted appetising sour plum notes.

Tsukuri (Seasonal Sashimi): Otoro with Bubble Shoyu Sauce 4.2/5

Our next sashimi course was lightly aburi-ed slices of Nagasaki Otoro topped with a jiggly bubble shoyu sauce. The fatty cut of Otoro had a lovely smokiness infused within. It was a bit saltier than I'd liked with the unique shoyu, but I enjoyed how it was bursting with umami notes.

Chef’s Signature: Negitoro Crystal Waffle 4.2/5

Chef's Special was the Negitoro Crystal Waffle, a reimagined rendition of the classic negitoro and uni hand roll with elevated elements. It was topped with chopped bluefin tuna, Hokkaido uni and seaweed soy sauce on a piece of crunchy translucent rice cracker.

Yakimono (Seasonal Grilled Fish): Grilled Japanese Spanish Mackerel 4/5

The highlight here in the Grilled Japanese Spanish Mackerel dish was definitely its accompanying burnt egg sauce. It was such a unique touch which complemented well. Served on the side was pickled ginger flower, which served to clean your palette.

Takiawase (Seasonal Simmered Dish): Homemade Egg Tofu with Sea Eel 4/5

Next, we were served with the Homemade Egg Tofu with Sea Eel. This dish features in-season Anago topped on smooth egg tofu and a thickened dashi sauce made of kombu bonito. The additional touch of yuzu zest kept the savoury sauce more appealing.

Baby Abalone with Vinegar Jelly 4.2/5

While my dining companions had their beef course: Hay Smoked Charcoal A5 Wagyu Beef with Sesame Ponzu Sauce, Chef Brandon kindly helped replace mine with the Baby Abalone with Vinegar Jelly. The tender slices of baby abalone resulted from stewing for 6 hours. I enjoyed the gentle sourness in the vinegar jelly, combined with fresh yuzu zest and sweet micro tomatoes, which made this a refreshing palate cleanser before the donabe course.

Signature Donabe: Umami Cherry Blossom Shrimp Collagen Claypot Rice 4.5/5

The impressive Signature Donabe was one of my favourite courses. The claypot rice has Niigata rice cooked in a fish collagen dashi stock made from simmering fish bones for almost four hours. It was then plated with a spoonful of truffle caviar and a luxurious touch of 24K gold. Accompanying it was burnt miso soup and homemade pickles.

Mizugashi: Seasonal Fruits

Desserts were the classic Japanese Seasonal Fruits - Shizuoka Crown Melon, Kyoho Grape and Muscat Grape.

Matcha Pudding, Hojicha Tea

We also had a bittersweet Matcha Pudding and hot Hojicha Tea to complement the sweet fruits.


I especially appreciated how we ended our meal with a hot cup of Matcha freshly whisked right before us.

Donabe Onigiri

Chef Brandon also carefully shaped the leftover claypot rice into Onigiri for my fellow diners and me to bring home. It was wrapped in bamboo leaves, and we were taught how to best reheat them to enjoy the next day. It was such a lovely thought!

I found their omakase's price tag steeper, but IKKOTEN is one to consider if you are looking for a traditional omakase with modern elements incorporated.

Photos and words by Jo. A girl who loves her Mala (麻辣) at Da La (大辣), discovering hidden food gems and a good cup of matcha latte. Note: This is an invited tasting.

86 Telok Ayer
Singapore 048469
Tel: +65 8666 9924
Nearest MRT: Telok Ayer MRT (DT Line)

Opening Hours:
Daily: 12pm - 230pm, 7pm - 1030pm
(Closed on Sun)

1) Alight at Telok Ayer MRT station. Take Exit B. Cross the street and walk to destination. Journey time about 3 minutes. [Map]

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Full Circle by J-man @ Thye Hong Centre - Semi-Fine Dining Restaurant Hidden Within A Business Centre


Full Circle by at Thye Hong Centre is a semi-fine dining restaurant serving progressive Asian cuisine, helmed by Chef Jay Teo. Its circular logo, with a stray end, symbolise the start of a new journey for Chef Jay - from culinary school as a trainee to a fully-fledged Chef, then back to being an instructor, completing a full circle with him back being a chef once again. Weekdays dinner and Saturday lunch feature a $168 Tasting Menu, alongside an option for Full Wine Pairing $128 and Abridged Pairing $88.

‘Lap Cheong’ Croquette

Cured Mackerel

The Tasting Menu is really interesting. I experienced five unique 'snacks', followed by a 'bread' item with a wine pairing. We started with a rose to complement the savoury snacks.

Smoked Chicken Cigar

‘Char Siew’ Tartlet

Cured Mackerel and 'Lap Cheong' Croquette were served together, followed by Smoked Chicken Cigar and 'Char Siew' Tartlet. Though dainty in size, each was packed with flavours. The Char Siew tartlet came loaded with caramelised fatty goodness and was rich and mouth-filling.

Blue Swimmer Crab Broth

Oyster Bread

The items that made a statement for me were the Blue Swimmer Crab Broth and Teochew oyster puff-inspired Oyster Bread. 2kg of blue swimmer crab to produce a litre of broth; hence each bowl is a full-bodied broth with depths of flavours. Sandwiched between each fluffy bread is a plump oyster, complementing each other perfectly.

Hokkaido Scallop 4.5/5

Hokkaido Scallop features a refreshing mix of Hokkaido scallop and water chestnut. Green apple slices and ginger flower sorbet served with pickled jicama jus added to that lightness and crunch. After all the savoury snacks, this refreshed my tastebuds with its citrus-forward flavour profile.

Obsiblue Prawn 3.8/5

The next course was Obsiblue Prawn, served with piquant pineapple, bamboo shoot and tamarind chutney, and coconut cream spiced with kaffir lime leaves and tamarind oil. I love how the tropical flavours played out in this dish and the mingling of the cold and warm elements, producing a very cohesive dish.

Quail 2.5/5

One of the mains featured was Quail served in 2 ways - one with angelica root infused jus and the other deep-fried with a tempura batter. Either way didn't quite work for me.


Duroc Pork Belly 4.8/5

On the other hand, the Spanish Duroc Pork Belly was deeply satisfying. Each laced with perfectly crisped skin amazed me with its clean flavour and optimal lean meat and fats ratio. Drawing ideas from Korean BBQ, diners are given lettuce to wrap each piece of pork belly, with coriander pesto and fish sauce caramel on the side to slather them with. Similar to kimchi, there are also some pickles to help cut the meat's richness. I was surprised that I was able to finish all of it without feeling of being overloaded. Thumbs up for this dish!

Red Snapper 4.5/5

You can choose to add on a Red Snapper course (+$28). Reminiscent of otah, the snapper was aromatic with the warm notes of banana leaf. Slathered with laksa rempah and coconut, the snapper was delicious with punchy spices. The juicy pomelo salad served on the side was an equally thoughtful touch to the dish.


There's also a pre-dessert course - Chrysanthemum Jelly with Goji Berry Sorbet. The chrysanthemum scent was uplifting, and I enjoyed how the sorbet sweetened the jelly, which carries a slightly bitter note.

Porcini Parfait 4.5/5

Dessert was a Porcini Parfait with Miso Sorbet paired with sesame crumbles and poached pear. Savoury ice creams are common, but I rarely get to try a plated dessert that is so well executed. The porcini had a distinctive taste but melded harmoniously with the miso sorbet, with added textures and nuances from the sweet pear and nutty sesame crumble.

Sweet Endings 4.5/5

Summing up our meal was Sweet Endings, featuring 9-spice Madeline and adorable Kaya Toast Macarons. The latter had a crust creatively done by mixing real toast with meringue to create the bread-meringue crust. The kaya custard had just the right amount of sweetness for the pandan flavour to come through.

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.

Full Circle by J-man
Thye Hong Centre
2 Leng Kee Road
Singapore 159086
Tel: +65 80310141
Nearest MRT: Redhill (EW Line)

Opening Hours:
Tue: 6pm - 1030pm
Wed-Sat:12pm - 230pm, 6pm - 1030pm
(closed on Sun & Mon)

1) Alight at Redhill MRT station. Take Exit A. Turn right and walk down Tiong Bahru Road. Continue onto Leng Kee Road. Walk to destination. Journey time about 5 minutes. [Map]