Mikuni got on my radar after I attended Savour 2014. I'd enjoyed their truffle kampachi immensely, which left me hankering for more.
For weeks now, we've tried and failed to get reservations at this Japanese restaurant. Strangely enough, we managed to secure reservations at the last-minute for a weekend dinner. Even stranger was how empty the restaurant was when Addie and I arrived for dinner last Saturday. Methinks it's because the restaurant occasionally hosts large groups, which sometimes results in the full capacity.
We got seats at the sushi counter; it's my favourite seating as it allows for maximum interaction with the chefs. Also, I was hoping for a glimpse of their executive chef hottie. The Korean-born Chef Moon didn't serve us personally but his fleeting appearances were sufficient eye-candy entertainment for the night (ahem, I'm a married woman now, so I've a "see-little-bit-good-enough-and-no-touch" policy).
There are 2 kaiseki menus here to choose from, the more wallet-friendly 6-course Spring Dinner Course ($158) and the more extravagant 7-course Mikuni Grand Tasting Tour ($220). We couldn't decide between the 2, and got both. We figured we'd pick off each others' menus and sample everything! Chef Moon's modernisation of traditional Japanese cuisine, and his creative fusion of the west and east made for fare that was unique and novel. Both kaiseki menus were excellent, but the standouts were the beef courses.
Despite the inordinately long wait for our kaiseki, I'd still give the service here a thumbs-up. Observant and attentive, the chefs and serving staff displayed a humble warmth that was very welcoming and grounded. I never once felt like I was in a uppity fine-dining restaurant.
The starter Otoushi Course, with a creamy Hokkaido sea urchin with airy cauliflower foam, was paired with a refreshingly chilled Hokkaido botan ebi bisque with tenshi sauce.
The Sashimi Course, featuring the best of the seasonal tokusen sashimi of tuna, yellowtail and seabream, all fresh and thickly sliced, were superb.
Next up was the Grilled Course of melt-in-your-mouth miso marinated butterfish fillet, sided by a leaf-wrapped steamed chewy yomugi mochi, pickled pink ginger flower, roasted Japanese yam, and a netted crisp of fried silver fish.
The Deep-Fried Course, a smelt fish karaage with bunches of grilled salmon roe and asparagus, were accompanied by a delectable truffle miso mayo dip and green tea salt upping the flavour palette.
The highlight of the Spring Dinner Menu, the Beef Course, comprised 4 unbelievably tender miso braised kagoshima beef short ribs, cut with pearl onions and a drop of wasabi. Grilled organic green beans and carrots from yamanashi lent a constrasting crunch.
The last complimentary course was a small cup of slurpy Somen Noodles in a delicate bonito broth.
The Dessert Course was a balanced traditional Japanese red bean paste monaka with green tea ice-cream. But I really caught my fancy was the digestif sweet potato cider that smelled like liquid potato chips!
And we're onto the more pricey Mikuni Grand Tasting Tour where the appetizer Otoushi Course, a duo of Kyoto pumpkin accented chawanmushi lavishly topped with caviar, was coupled by a grilled kumamoto oyster laced with Hokkaido uni and shiso ponzu.
The Sashimi Course for the Grand Tasting Tour was more decadent than the one for the Spring Dinner Menu, with fat melty slices of toro (yums), yellowtail,
And Hirame beautifully garnished with monk fish liver and edible flowers.
The Grilled Course was made up of a grilled seabass nodoguru shioyaki seasoned simply with salt, Japanese yam with red miso, chestnuts, sweet potato, myoga
The Tempura Course reminded me of those kinder bueno chocolates, where you pop open the beancurd skin shell to reveal the surprise goodies of tenshi prawn, Hokkaido uni, and shiso stuffings, sitting in a pool of creamy pumpkin gravy and topped with grilled salmon roe and seaweed straw.
The Beef Course was a sumptuous fillet of Kagoshima wagyu brushed with hoba miso yaki, supported by porcini mushrooms, carrots and leek.
The Noodles Course, with green tea soba noodles dunked in hot bonito broth and tagged with a few slices of slow cooked duck breast was comforting, especially in the cool chill of the restaurant.
The Dessert Course, was a melange of ice-cream, sorbet and fruits, encompassing Japanese traditional anmitsu, black beans, vanilla ice-cream, fruits espuma, and gula Melaka.
We also ordered a couple of nibbles from the ala carte menu, and first up was the Truffle Kampachi ($30), the reason for our dining at Mikuni in the first place, and this didn't disappoint. The confluence of the savoury soy, piquant yuzu, aromatic truffle and sweet yellowtail was pure orgasmic heaven. Without a doubt a must-order here.
The Edamame ($15), served steaming hot and seasoned with Amami island sea salt, was instrumental in quelling my hunger pangs while waiting for Addie to arrive (an hour later because she'd mistakenly thought our reservation was fixed at 7.30pm instead of 6.30pm!).
Complimentary Prawn Crackers, paper-thin and sprinkled with a fragrant herb medley, made for very addictive snackers.
A trio of complimentary pickles, comprising radish (very common in Korean banchan), attractively pink jellyfish that was ultra crunchy and a stack of sesame-d ginseng root which got my pick of the lot.
80 Bras Basah Road
Fairmont Singapore Level 3
Tel: 6431 6156
Open daily for lunches from 12noon to 2.30pm; dinners from 6.30pm to 10.30pm