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GOTO in Singapore

Peech Sep 24, 2008 01:35 AM

Have a reservation for this Friday evening...has anyone been? Is it worth going?

  1. FourSeasons Sep 24, 2008 02:46 AM

    It is a Japanese kaiseki restaurant. It was recommended to me by a Japanese friend who likes it but I have never been there even though it was on my radar screen for a while. There are only 2 set menu: $180 or $280++. Look forward to your review.

    1. Peech Sep 26, 2008 10:02 AM

      Have to report that I found the restaurant to be very, very good. Great ingredients shipped in from Japan, including a very wonderful tofu...

      This is my blogpost which includes my lunch at Forlino:
      http://chi-he-wan-le.blogspot.com/200...

      8 Replies
      1. re: Peech
        FourSeasons Sep 26, 2008 10:33 PM

        After I wrote the reply back to you, I made a reservation at Goto for next Tuesday evening. Apparently, this week was completely full perhaps due to the influx of F1 fans in town. Thanks for your review. From the photos on your blog, I think the kaiseki is perhaps too traditional for me; I usually prefer more contemporary style but will let you know if I like it as much as you do.

        I agree Forlino has a gorgeous stunning view, especially if you go there for the evening. But your set lunch meal is a big bargain compared to what they charge for dinner. My review is rather mixed though, perhaps I went there not long after their opening. I liked the appetizer baby octopus salad but was disappointed with the lobster ravioli which I though was too bland for me. I wish I had sphaghetti with vongole and zuchini which my wife ordered that was really delicious. The final dish veal was rather disappointing as well. But i think I will return to give it another try.

        1. re: FourSeasons
          Peech Sep 27, 2008 11:55 AM

          Hi FS,

          I love creative/fusion restaurants and adore molecular gastronomy when both are done right. But funnily enough, I prefer my Japanese to be very traditional, with some creative/modern elements. Goto probably is pretty traditional for you, but I have been looking for traditional kaiseki that is well-executed.

          We deliberately went to Forlino for lunch, because if it didn't work out then at least the damage to the wallet would be a lot less. What I didn't mention was that my friends had large plates of tagliatele with prawns and cherry tomatos. This was apparently both delicious and came with very generous portions. They all raved about it.

          1. re: Peech
            FourSeasons Sep 27, 2008 11:26 PM

            No, I am not referring to fusion or molecular gastronomy. But in recent years, there are many younger chefs (30s, 40s) that are re-interpreting kaiseki with modern touch, maintaining the seasonal refined natural flavor with the freshest ingredients, but yet with their own signature styles. On my recent trips to Tokyo, I have tried Ryugin, Koju, Ariona de Takazawa, Banrekiryukodo and I was just simply amazed how great the meals were, and personally felt like the best meals I ever had. Don't get me wrong, I still like the traditional Kyoto style, but sometimes I feel a bit bland and the pace monotonous. And yes, absolutely agree with that whatever it is, it has to be done right. I certainly have tried many terrible contemporary ones too.

            Looking forward to your review of other restaurants in Singapore, and how you compare the dining scene here to Hong Kong.

            1. re: Peech
              k
              klyeoh Sep 28, 2008 08:07 PM

              Peech, since you like molecular gastronomy (and I assume that you're still in Singapore), why don't you give the Tippling Club in Dempsey Village a try? It's just opened a few weeks ago, but its new chef, Ryan Clift , was the one who put Vue de Monde on the Melbourne culinary map (Vue de Monde was voted best restaurant by the Melbourne Age Good Food Guide in 2007). I've not been there myself, but has heard some good things from people who've dined there:
              http://www.aziacity.com/sg/dining/rev...

              Prices are not cheap though, you can only choose from 3 degustation menus: 5-course (S$195+++), 10-course (S$310+++) and 15-course (S$420+++).

              1. re: klyeoh
                Peech Sep 29, 2008 03:02 AM

                Hi KL, I remember an earlier discussion where there was a comment that the Tippling Club did not measure up to Iggy's. I am not paying these kind of prices if I don't get the quality. USD 200-300 is a lot to pay for a meal, and I'd be really upset if it's not good "value".

                Tapas Molecular is a pretty good bargain. I remember the old Iggy's and thought it was good value, too.

                1. re: Peech
                  k
                  klyeoh Sep 29, 2008 09:05 PM

                  I think the Tippling Club got good reviews, e.g. from Singapore Business Times recently. They did receive some earlier (and quite suspicious) brickbats.

                  Still, I do agree that it's early days yet, and Tippling Club's prohibitive prices would put folks off something which may prove to be less than stellar. I thought new restaurants would have "promotional" menus to build up an initial client base, before upping the prices later on, but Tippling Club is bucking the trend here.

                  A couple of friends who've tried Vue De Monde in Melbourne, where Ryan Clift was head chef the last few years before he came to Singapore, liked his cooking a lot. But none of us had tried Tippling Club, and can't vouch if he can transfer his expertise/replicate his skills in the local/Singapore environment.

                  When we tried Alain Ducasse in Raffles Hotel a few years ago, it was horrendous. Without access to his usual food purveyors/supplies and support of his own kitchen crew, Ducasse in Singapore bore no resemblance to Ducasse on his home turf!

            2. re: FourSeasons
              l
              Lucil Oct 5, 2008 05:08 PM

              fourseasons, looking forward to your full report on Goto..

              1. re: Lucil
                FourSeasons Oct 6, 2008 04:49 AM

                Hi Lucil:

                Goto focus on very traditional Kyoto-style kaiseki. Very small exclusive restaurant, just 4 tables with Zen like simple yet refined interior. It was full that evening (on a weekday), sitting right opposite my table are well known local tycoons in Singapore. It was a long meal from 7:30pm till about 10pm; I think about 7-8 courses, unfortunately I can't remember all the details as it was a business dinner so I did not have the time to take note of them. The chef, I was told by my friends, was the main chef at the Japan Embassy here before he set up this restaurant. If you like traditional kaieseki, I will highly recommend this place as this is the best kaiseki I had in town. But like I wrote before, traditional kaiseki was a bit bland and monotonous for me.

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