After that disaster of a dinner at Sushi Mieda, the Hubs was turned off sushi for a spell. I, on the other hand, couldn't wait to exorcise that dinner with properly good sushi. And where else better to do that than Shoukouwa, Singapore's most distinguished Michelin-studded Japanese restaurant.
There's just two omakase menus for dinner, the Miyabi for those of the genteel appetites at $320, and for the gluttons, the 19-course Hana ($480), the latter which we had, because #FatLifeChoseMe. I use "course" loosely, because they were mostly single mouthfuls of sushi. And while Shoukouwa is priced at the very top of the range, dinner was indubitably worth every penny. Well, of the Hub's wallet, that is, heh.
Shoukouwa was subliminal. The seafood was unbelievably fresh (any fresher, it'd be alive and kicking), and treated with an almost reverent restrain by Shoukouwa's chefs. It was exquisite in its straightforward, uncomplicated approach. A bonus: the menu comprised my favourites, and none of my dislikes, so there wasn't a need to replace the akagai this, or surf clam that. All things considered, Shoukouwa was the perfect antidote to curing a bad sushi-resultant aversion to Japanese food.
Service was faultless as well. The pace of dinner was Japanese train clockwork-precise. The chef, and the staff, took the time to elaborate how each fish was prepared, what cut of the tuna we were eating, and even took out an iPad to illustrate what the fish in its whole form looked like. Great learning for sushi virgins, less so for the experienced regulars.
And then there was the world-class entertainment, courtesy of this epically pompous buffoon and his young date. We'd already noticed them when they sauntered in, one a pot-bellied, over-the-hill Caucasian with a grey horseshoe for hair, and the other, his vapid, clownishly-made up barely-coherent SPG. But we really sat up and took notice when he very sagely explained to his date that the abalone had been steeped in sake for 3 days "to disinfect it". He then asked, without irony, the chef "since when was bonito a fish?". And when he saw the chef searing the tuna nigiri with white-hot coals, he educated the airhead that it was "to heat up the fish". I thought they hit peak stupidity when they got into a conversation about different "sal-men car-viars", but then they queried the chef how he kept the eels so soft, I was sorely tempted to tell them it's coz the Japanese massage their eels with baby oil. They were so odious, so repugnant, it's remarkable the chef kept his composure. I mean, we were barely keeping it together giving our friends a blow-by-blow account of dinner. There's the ill-informed, but they weren't it. They were simply obnoxious, which only served to aggravate their dismally low IQs.
First course was the Makogarei, marbled flounder sashimi, clean clear light.
Next up was the Kinki Ponzu, kinki fish poached shabu-shabu style and drizzled with ponzu sauce.
The Mushi Awabi was a plump juicy abalone steeped earlier in sake for 3 days (not to disinfect it!), steamed, and then draped in a velvety rich abalone liver sauce.
The Katsuo Norisyouyu, of bonito, was topped with a soy-sauced seaweed.
The Kegani, was a medley of steamed hairy crab, Mozuku seaweed, uni, shrimp, and shiso flowers.
And we get to the sushi courses: Kasugo - baby seabream. Special mention must be made of the sushi rice at Shoukouwa: they serve the most perfectly seasoned morsels of vinegar-ed rice ever. Honestly, even without the fish, I would be happy eating just the sushi rice.
Kinmedai - golden eye snapper
Akami - tuna
Chu-toro - medium fatty tuna
The Otoro (fatty tuna) which confounded the jack@ss with the chef's sear-treatment.
The Uni (sea urchin) was, in the words of a reviewer after dining at a New York sushi restaurant opened by a sushi chef trained by Jiro Ono, arguably the best sushi master in the world, "like frozen yoghurt that tastes like the bottom of a sailboat".
The sushi courses were punctuated by the Nodoguro, a grilled black throat sea perch served with sushi rice. Simplicity at its finest.
Hotate - scallop seasoned with Himalayan salt
The Ikura, of salmon roe was enlivened by the bed of soy-dressed sushi rice.
I usually prefer cooked shrimp, but the Botan Ebi (sweet shrimp) was incredible: the sweetness was so delicate, so exquisite, it was almost like sweet milk.
Anago - sea eel burnished with sweet teriyaki
Misowan - miso soup
Tamago - omelette
We rounded off the gut-buster of a dinner with the dessert course, or Mizugashi, with an impossibly sweet musk melon and iced grapes.
1 Fullerton Road
#02-02A One Fullerton
Tel: 6423 9939
Open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 12noon to 3pm for lunch; 6pm to 11pm for dinner;
Sundays from 6pm to 11pm for dinner;
Closed on Mondays