Although the restaurant's namesake is French and Italian-trained, and although none of Hide Yamamoto's other 4 restaurants in Japan serve Japanese food, he's surprisingly chosen to open his first Japanese restaurant here in Singapore. You may, like me, hold the mistaken pre-conceived notion, that despite his pedigree, the Japanese cuisine at his eponymous restaurant wouldn't be that great, but boy were we bowled over by our meal. It was nothing short of awesome, and one of the more memorable ones I've had this year. Everything was executed with effortless flair and absolutely faultless. Not a single wrong move made here.
Hide Yamamoto serves up 5 different styles of Japanese cuisine, separately located at the sushi area, ramen section, teppanyaki tables, rotaba grill and sake bar. Don't worry, you're not restricted to wherever you sit, you can still order from the other menus even if you sit in a different section. Bits of the chef's east-west fusion style invariably find their way into all 5 menus, but you don't quite realize it because the cuisine, most of their sushi menu anyway, adheres to the traditional.
We were craving sushi, and opted for seating right at the counter, a favourite spot of mine because you get every dish explained in detail to you by the chefs. You inevitably get an education in Japanese cuisine. Besides, it's always entertaining to watch the chefs at work.
Service was excellent as well. The staff anticipated our every need and we never had to call for any staff over. Our cups of green tea were never empty, and the staff was right by our side to take fresh orders barely 2 seconds after I flipped open the menu. Such efficient service was despite the fact that the wait staff always left our section to let us to dine in private. It's as if they had some kind of sixth sense as to when we needed to be waited upon.
One small teensy weensy note though, on closer inspection of the bill, we realized that our green teas, which were refillable, cost a whopping $9 for the iced one, and $5 for the warm one. I don't know how rare the green teas were, but we thought that a difference of $4, just for ice, was a bit excessive.
We opted for the Sushi Course ($160), which started with a Trio of Amuse Bouche comprising a Jellyfish drenched in a light ponzu sauce and fish roe. The texture of the jellyfish, unlike the Cantonese-style we're so used to, was very crunchy. Almost crisp, in fact. A most pleasant corresponding texture to the refreshing taste of this.
The Pickled Snapper didn't look particularly appetizing (it does look a bit like fish bait) but it was delicious. It had a very salty yet tangy flavour. Like a chewy, raw fish version of pickled radish.
The last appetizer was Grilled Octopus brushed with a delicate sweetish sauce. The chilled octopus had a thick, meaty but still mildly chewy texture. Very delectable.
Next up was the Sashimi course with plump slices of amber jack, blue fin tuna and tiger prawn that were impossibly fresh. Excellent stuff.
The steamed course was up next, a Chawanmushi dressed with sea urchin and, here's the kicker, truffles. The smooth and flavoursome flan was infused with truffle oil and interspersed with minute-sized diced truffles. Best chawanmushi ever.
The grilled course of a Chuck Beef Roll stuffed with diced vegetables was mouth-wateringly good. The tender juicy beef rolls of sweet marinated root vegetables had a nice charring, accenting this with a delectable smokiness to the juicy rolls.
The deep-fried course of Crabmeat Balls with grilled green peppers was also wonderful.
The crabmeat balls were so light and fluffy, they didn't even taste deep-fried. They had a poofy texture, like the insides were aerated, and so well-drained we forgot this was supposed to be a deep-fried dish.
The Sushi course was the most anticipated, having such an amazing buildup with the rest of the dishes, and they didn't disappoint. Every one was impossibly fresh, with the clean and sweet flavours of the sea. The perfect moulds of vinegared sushi rice, and just the right dab of freshly grated wasabi was all it took to leave the focus on the raw fish. We started with Flounder, already sprinkled with salt, so there was no need for salt. This is a very delicate and mild fish, so soy would have overwhelmed its taste. (p.s. apologies for that very extra intrepid grain of rice photobomb)
The Kinme Snapper Sushi was sweet and mild.
The Ark Shell Clam Sushi was the hardest for us conservative eaters to stomach, because of its very raw bloody taste and relatively chewy texture. Its taste is akin to raw cockles (Kang will like this).
Oh we loved the Medium Fatty Tuna Sushi for its melt-in-the-mouth texture.
The Salmon Roe Nigiri, with a crisp seaweed wrap, was bursting with a seafresh sweetness.
The Miso Soup, with cabbage strips added for sweetness and dimension, is relatively delicate. I very much like this version, it's not too salty and fairly light.
We supplemented with stuff from the ala carte menu, starting with the Tuna Sushi Combination ($50), a trio of sushi comprising Fatty Tuna Sushi. The picture says it all.
Medium Fatty Tuna Sushi
And the Blue Fin Tuna Sushi. To be honest, I would have been extremely happy eating this grade of tuna, it was just that fresh and sweet and awesome.
The Salmon Sushi ($8 each) was unbelievably sweet and clear. We promptly re-ordered another 2 of this.
The Truffle Edamame ($13) is an absolute must-try here. We loved this. Aromatic and delicious. Truffle really does go with everything, doesn't it?
The dessert course aptly named "Full Moon", an artfully plated macha roll cake topped with mango cheese cream, macha ice-cream, and mango sauce, macha white chocolate bits, and chocolate balls was a play on so many different textures of macha. The fruity sweetness of mangoes balanced out the naturally bitter tones of macha. This was a well-thought out and satisfying dessert.
I like my desserts light and refreshing and the citrusy Guava Sherbet ($4) was a bull's eye. Icy cool and palate-cleansing, a very good end to an equally excellent meal.
We'll definitely be back.
8 Bayfront Avenue
Marina Bay Sands
#02-05 Atrium level
Tel: 6688 7098
Open daily from 12noon to 3pm for lunch, 6pm to 11pm for dinner