Showing posts with label Matcha. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Matcha. Show all posts

Saturday, July 13, 2024

Toku Nori @ Telok Ayer Street - Reinventing Handrolls with Their Own Special, Modern and Unique Take



Toku Nori, a new Japanese restaurant, is nestled on the second and third storeys of a pre-war heritage shophouse along Telok Ayer Street. The name "Toku (特)" translates to "special" in Japanese, and true to its name, Toku Nori is reinventing handrolls with its unique touch. The 40-seater sushi bar counter dining space infuses traditional design elements of a Japanese handroll bar with contemporary aesthetics, offering an inviting ambience for a memorable dining experience.

Handroll: Hotate Roll 4/5

We began our dinner with a selection of handrolls, each crafted by the chef right before our eyes at the sushi bar counter, served and timed to individual pace. The Hotate Roll ($9), paired with yuzu koshi, lime, and chives, was a delightful start. The premium-grade japonica pearl rice, Koshihikari, provided a sublime balance of moisture, stickiness, and subtle sweetness that complemented the scallop's natural sweetness. The yuzu koshi and lime pairing heightened the overall flavour profile, making each bite a refreshing experience.

Handroll: Maguro Roll 4/5

Next, we had the Maguro Roll ($8), featuring smoked onion cream, crispy shallots, and melt-in-the-mouth maguro. The combination of flavours and textures worked harmoniously, offering a delightful textural enjoyment that left us craving more.

Handroll: Engawa Roll 4/5

The Engawa Roll ($9.5) was another highlight, aburi for a touch of smokiness before being wrapped into a roll with shiro miso and roast garlic. The slight char from the aburi added a depth of flavour that elevated the delicate engawa.

Premium Roll: Foie Gras Roll 4.2/5

For a more luxurious experience, we opted for the Foie Gras Roll ($16). The creamy foie gras, given a kiss of fire from the torch, was paired with a garlic soy glaze and spicy leek, resulting in an explosion of flavours that was both rich and satisfying.

Premium Roll: Wagyu & Uni Roll 4.5/5

The Wagyu & Uni Roll ($16) comprised of wagyu karubi, Hokkaido sea urchin, and caviar. This luxurious combination of fatty, melt-in-the-mouth wagyu, the sweetness of uni, and the umami from the caviar created a heavenly flavour profile that left us wanting more.

Izakaya Platter

Kakuni Pork Belly, Aburi Salmon Crispy Sushi, Maguro Popper, Chicken Rib 4.5/5

In addition to the sushi rolls, Toku Nori offers a selection of izakaya items. We sampled the Kakuni Pork Belly ($14/2pc), Aburi Salmon Crispy Sushi ($16/3pc), Maguro Popper ($12/3pc), and Chicken Ribs ($14). Each item was well executed, delicious, and perfectly complemented with alcohol, making them ideal for a casual night out.

Wagyu Sando 4/5

The Wagyu Sando was another standout dish. The rich, buttery wagyu was sandwiched between lightly toasted, golden brown bread. The exceptionally tender wagyu and the slight crunch of the bread created a delightful mouthfeel that was both satisfying and memorable.

Sakura Matcha Latte, Yuzu Matcha, Housemade Warabi Mochi 4.2/5

To wrap up our meal, we enjoyed the Housemade Warabi Mochi ($12), which was airy and soft, presented in three different flavours: kinoko, goma, and matcha. For matcha lovers, we had the Sakura Matcha Latte and Yuzu Matcha, both of which used ceremonial-grade premium tsuki matcha, offering a perfect balance of flavours to end our meal on a high note.

Toku Nori is a gem in the heart of Telok Ayer Street, offering a unique and modern take on traditional Japanese handrolls. Its inviting ambience, attentive service, and innovative menu make it a must-visit for anyone looking to explore the delicate art of sushi and handrolls. Toku Nori promises an exceptional dining experience that will leave you coming back for more.

Note: This is an invited tasting.

Toku Nori
200A Telok Ayer Street
Singapore 068638
Tel: +65 8082 6536
Nearest MRT: Tanjong Pagar (EW Line), Telok Ayer (DT Line)

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 1145am - 230pm, 530pm - 11pm

1) Alight at Tanjong Pagar MRT station. Take Exit G. Turn left and walk down Telok Ayer Street. Walk to destination. Journey time about 6 minutes. [Map]

2) Alight at Telok Ayer MRT station. Take Exit A. Turn left and walk to Telok Ayer Street. Turn left onto Telok Ayer Street. Walk down Telok Ayer Street. Walk to destination. Journey time about 5 minutes. [Map]

Friday, September 15, 2023

Ginger.Lily @ Hilton Singapore Orchard - Newly Refreshed Afternoon Tea Experience with Nikkei-inspired Delights


Embark on a four-part journey of Savoury, Sweet, Thirst and Take Me Home with Ginger.Lily's newly refreshed Nikkei-inspired Afternoon Tea menu. Thoughtfully curated by Director of Culinary Vijay and Executive Pastry Chef Cindy, they seek to bring diners to experience a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian flavours and ingredients.


A minimum of 2 diners per table is required, at $58++ per person for food only or $78++ per person for an additional glass of champagne. Included in the set is a choice of 2 hot teas per diner from an extensive range of 10 premium tea varieties.

If you prefer delicately flavoured teas like me, I would recommend Ginger.Lily's house blend, The Ginger.Lily. It is a specially put-together blend of tea leaves paired with goji berries and perfumed with mild florals and exotic fruits.

Welcome Drink

We were first served with a Welcome Drink of tangy-sweet pink guava and yuzu.

Nikkei-style Salmon 4/5

The trio of Nikkei Savouries started with an appetite lifter, the Nikkei-style Salmon. It had fresh cubes of salmon paired with crispy quinoa, cucumber strips and a generous pour of yuzu sauce.

Shishamo 4.2/5

Next, we had a fried piece of meaty Shishamo sandwiched between a lightly grilled mantou bun. It had a mild kick of heat from jalapenos and sriracha.

Sando 4.2/5

The last of this segment of savouries was the satisfying Sando, a well-fried chunky piece of Kurobuta pork laced with sweet tonkatsu sauce and black garlic aioli in bread.

Nikkei Nigiris 4/5

We were surprised to find out about this next part! Not only was it the first time for us to have sushi at an afternoon tea, but it was also carefully torched to finish by the chef at our tableside. The Nikkei Nigiris feature three pieces - the Foie-Gras, Maguro Chu-Toro and White Fish.

Nikkei Nigiris

While the sushi rice was a little more loose than we would prefer, we appreciated the freshness of each. The Maguro Chu-Toro was served with orange ponzu glaze and wasabi, while the White Fish had Shiromi chilli. My favourite was the melt-in-the-mouth Foie-Gras with a brush of ginger-flavoured teriyaki sauce.

Japanese Inspired Sweets 4.2/5

We moved into the Japanese-inspired sweets gorgeously presented in a layered turquoise drawer. Aside from the Red Tea Azuki Dorayaki and Scones, we were recommended to make our way through from the top to the bottom, progressing from the lighter to the more decadent flavours.

Matcha & Sudachi

Despite hoping for more intense matcha notes in the soft Matcha & Sudachi roll cake, it was a lovely, refreshing piece with tangy sudachi notes.

Japanese Mango Cheesecake, Muscat Anise Shortcake, Strawberry Miso Tart

Other featured sweets were the Japanese Mango Cheesecake, Muscat Anise Shortcake and Strawberry Miso Tart, which had an oozing filling of strawberry bits upon halving.

Mikan Cacao Pepper Choux, Sesame Finger Cookies, Hokkaido Potato Moelleux

The more assertive flavours are brought out in the unique Mikan Cacao Pepper Choux, nutty Sesame Finger Cookies and Hokkaido Potato Moelleux.

Scones 3.8/5

We ended off with an afternoon tea staple, scones. The Cranberry Scones and Vanilla Scones came in two pairs, accompanied by a side of strawberry apple jam, yuzu chocolate creme and clotted cream.

I found the scones a tad doughy, but I was particularly surprised to find myself enjoying the yuzu chocolate creme. I'm not usually a fan of a similar citrusy combination of chocolate and orange, but the yuzu here is distinctly bright and balanced off very well with the darker chocolate.

Nikkei Sour 4.5/5

I adored the new Nikkei Sour concocted in-house. It is part of a selection of Nikkei-inspired cocktails designed to pair with the refreshed afternoon tea pieces and their all-day dining. The Nikkei Sour is crafted using Matcha distillate and a Macchu Pisco base, boasting a light, fruity and citrusy profile.

Save a table for Ginger.Lily's afternoon tea at There are 2 seatings, with the first seating from 1pm to 3pm and second seating from 3.30pm to 5.30pm.

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.

Hilton Singapore Orchard
Level 5
333 Orchard Road
Singapore 238867
Tel: +65 6831 6273
Nearest MRT: Somerset (NS Line)

Opening Hours:
Daily: 8am to 1am

1) Alight at Somerset MRT station. Take Exit B. Walk to ground level. Turn left onto Orchard Road. Walk down Orchard Road. Cross the road and 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]

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Gyutan-Tan @ Tras Street - Singapore's First-Ever Ox Tongue Specialty Restaurant


Gyutan-Tan is the newest kid on the block along Tras Street, which opened in November 2022. It is Singapore's first-ever gyutan (ox tongue) speciality restaurant, showing the ingredient in various forms such as delectable appetisers, chargrilled mains, donburi and teishoku.

Sumiyaki Gyutan Set 4.2/5

Not to be missed at Gyutan is its Sumikayi Gyutan Set ($20). The lunch set includes fluffy mugimeshi (a mix of rice and barley), two kinds of Japanese pickles, salad with lemon olive oil dressing, tororo (grated Japanese mountain yam, and a choice of oxtail or miso soup. The grilled 4mm thin cuts of gyutan are incredibly tender and cloaked in fragrant binchotan char. The pairing of grated Japanese mountain yam with the fluffy mugimeshi was new and enjoyable.

Cold Roasted Gyutan Carpaccio 3.5/5

We tried the Cold Roasted Gyutan Carpaccio ($15) under the chilled appetiser menu, which is only available during dinner. A delightful appetiser featuring thin slices of cold-roasted gyutan, arugula, crunchy pickled white radish, and parmesan and finished with a drizzle of sweet balsamic glaze.


Pork Kakuni 3.8/5

We tried a few a la carte dishes available only during dinner, starting with the Pork Kakuni ($18). While the 4-hour braised pork belly is richly flavoured, the texture can be more tender. It shows that other non-beef tongue dishes are also available on the menu.

Gyutan Demi-Glace Stew 4/5

The Gyutan Demi-Glace Stew ($20) is a classic French-braised gyutan chunk. Once again, the sauce is rich and robust. However, like the braised pork belly, I preferred it to be more tender.


Premium Gyutan Shabu Shabu 4.2/5

The highlight at Gyutan-Tan has to be the Premium Gyutan Shabu Shabu ($28). The dashi-based hotpot comes together with premium gyutan slices and vegetable platter. It is unique, as I don't remember ever having ox tongue for shabu shabu. It also demonstrates the versatility of the ingredients in different cooking methods.

Homemade Egg Pudding 3/5

Japanese Tiramisu Parfait 3.5/5

Complete the meal at Gyutan-Tan on a sweet note with the Homemade Egg Pudding ($4) and Japanese Tiramisu Parfait ($11.50). The egg pudding was smooth and silky, not overly sweet, same for the tiramisu parfait's sweetness level. Hence I enjoyed both desserts.

Matcha Affogato 4.2/5

The crowd's favourite was the Matcha Affogato ($11.50). The green tea is whisked at the tableside and then poured onto the plate of vanilla ice cream, warabimochi and white chocolate, paired with kuromitsu.

Note: This is an invited tasting.

41 Tras Street
Singapore 078980
Tel: +65 83213359
Nearest MRT: Tanjong Pagar (EW Line)

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 1130am - 330pm, 530pm - 10pm
(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]