C'était un dîner grâce à notre serveuse préférée. D'abord, je n'étais pas trop enthousiaste à l'idée d'une dégustation de bœuf japonais; ce serait trop riche, trop lourd, et un peu trop écœurent, je pensait. Mais cette serveuse connaît très bien nos goûts, nos préférences (après tout, elle nous connaît depuis son bulot de Beni), et elle nous a promis que ce serait bien équilibré et nous l'adorerions. Alors, il s'est avéré que le dîner était super: la cuisine était très délicat et raffiné, un délice absolu. Pour un dîner lourd avec du boeuf, il s'est avéré étonnamment léger. Bien que les portions soient petites, on peut donc vouloir commander un plat supplémentaire (ou trois comme nous). De plus, nous avons été bien choyés par notre serveuse, qui nous a empilés avec du saké et des desserts gratuits. Cela, je pense, a rendu notre expérience culinaire supérieure. Nous retournerons (lorsque notre serveuse préférée sera là bien sûr).
We've resisted going to Wagyu Jin for some time now. The Husband wasn't too keen on their Japanese beef-centric omakase ($248), typically eschewing the very fatty Japanese meat in favour of its less fatty more full-bodied American relation; and I couldn't quite imagine managing 12 courses of beef, typically eschewing cholesterol-heavy red meat in favour of its cholesterol-light white cousins. But our favourite waitress was posted there and well, let's just say she's very persuasive...and so we found ourselves chasing away the blues at Wagyu Jin one fine Monday night. Also, it's just as well that we're eating beef, seeing as chicken prices are now through the roof.
Our resistance was, in part, our presumption that the meal would get too much, too fast, too jelak. So it was to our surprise that dinner was nimble, well-finessed, and polished. Portions tend to the modest (and indeed a friend said that she left dinner still hungry), so unless you're on a diet, you may want to supplement with a couple of dishes off the ala carte menu. Which was exactly what us greedy-goats did... so we ended up waddling out of Wagyu Jin, content and satiated.
Another tip is to get the house pour of Junmai Gaiginjo, an in-house brew. I've always prejudiced against house pours, thinking them middling and an insidious profit marker; but the sake was absolutely sensational. Juicy and well-rounded, it married the dishes perfectly.
We kicked off dinner with the appetizer course of Hokkaido Hairy Crab, paired with somen seasoned with black truffle, and crowned with caviar, hojiso (shiso flower), purple shiso, and gold flakes. NGL, we felt damn baller eating this 😎
The first beef course was a sumiyaki duo of meltingly tender A5 yonezawa sirloin from the Yamagata prefecture, flamed over binchotan and then topped with kimchi for the one, and wasabi for the other.
I never used to care for abalone, until I had abalone done Japanese-style. The saying "simplicity at its finest" is paramount to the Japanese mastery in cooking abalone, and the awabi course of a luscious hunk of abalone, sitting pretty in a pool of liver sauce, drizzled with yuzu oil, and sided by a rice ball, was *chefs kiss* outstanding.
Very possibly the best katsu sando I've ever had the pleasure of eating, the Chateaubriand Sando of a strikingly sumptuous A5 omi beef tenderloin, wedged between buttery brioche schmeared with mustard for some bite, was extraordinary.
We ordered 3 additional a la carte dishes, starting with the Shabu Shabu ($36), with beautiful ribbons of A5 Tochigi beef, scalded pink with daikon broth, and accompanied by an unctuous chilli-oiled goma sauce.
The Nodoguru ($36) was a slab of black throated sea perch, lightly torched to showcase its mild sweet flesh, plonked upon a chunk of vinegared sushi rice.
The Wagyu Udon ($25) was pure comfort in a bowl comprising just three components: velvety silks of wagyu sliced shabu-shabu, slippery smooth strands of inaniwa udon, and the most exquisite consomme. For sure a must-try.
Aaaand, we're back to regular programming: featuring Japanese pearl rice swaddled in an A5 Hida Beef from the Gifu prefecture, blushed with a shade of garlic, and flanked by a wedge of crunchy kkatugi.
The Teppanyaki course marked a brilliant finale to the meal with A5 miyazaki beef steak (how they managed that incredibly even rosy hue is astounding on its own), fragrant garlic fried rice stippled with beef nubbins, delicate miso soup, and pickles so yummy I asked for seconds.
Dessert was refreshingly fruity: a lush musk melon wedge intense with sweetness, and melange of strawberry, pear, and orange dice, blanketed in a clear yuzu-tinged jelly.
A complimentary treat, the dark chocolate tart from sister concept Cheryl Koh a couple of doors away, was decadent and opulent, yet remarkably nuanced and balanced. I'm not particularly fond of chocolate but I actually finished this on my own.
1 Scotts Road Shaw Centre #02-12
Tel: 8940 0741
Open daily from 12noon to 2.30pm for lunch; 6.30pm to 10.30pm for dinner