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Aug 17, 2010 08:53 PM

Anyone tried Waku Ghin yet?

Hi, I've not found many reviews of Tetsuya's new restaurant in Singapore - has anyone on this forum tried it yet? I've got a reservation in 2 weeks time and I've chosen this over the other 2 new restaurants at MBS (Santi and G Savoy)....thanks.

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  1. Yesterday we had dinner in Guy Savoy. It was good. I would give it One Michelin Star, but prices for European standards are at Three Michelin Star+ levels, so a bit too expensive.

    We had a look at Waku Ghin too, but they only offer an 8 cours set dinner for S$400. We were not that hungry.

    Santi only offered 4, 8 or 10 course set dinners. The 4 cours was close to S$200 and did not appeal to me.

    1. Hi mutely:
      What is your verdict on Waku Ghin? The Strait Times' food critic Wong Ah Yoke wrote today that it was almost flawless, perhaps the best restaurant in Singapore, and the entire meal even better than the chef's original restaurant Tetsuya in Sydney.

      10 Replies
      1. re: FourSeasons

        The SMH good Food Guide results are out today. Tets lost a chef's hat and Terry Durack says something to the effect of Tets Sydney being too staid and predictable but his Sing outpost is the new frontier. Sounds expensive though but then Sing is the brave new world now...

        1. re: mikey8811

          I guess once you've reached the stratospheric peak of fame as Tets had, the only way you can go next is down :-(
          I missed Tets' simpler days in Rozelle, before his move to Kent Street, and the fuss which followed.
          Haven't checked out Waku Ghin, and S$400++ is pretty steep by Singapore standards.

          1. re: klyeoh

            I offered my reservation to a good friend so that she could celebrate her husband's birthday on that very night (she called late and couldn't get a table till Oct)...so I'll have to plan a trip back to Sg in Oct to try it personally.....they thoroughly enjoyed themselves!

            i did have a very good meal at Yazawa (Japanese BBQ) and was pleasantly surprised that night when they told me they still had a small supply of japanese beef available. Can't compare to the previous time I was there (when everything was wagyu) but still hands down best yakiniku outside Japan. In case you're not aware, they are offshoots of the very excellent Jumbo Yakiniku in Tokyo.

            1. re: muttley

              Till October...you mean the reservation has to be made 1-2 months in advanced?

              Anyway, thanks so much for the recommendation of Yakiniku Yazawa. I went there last night, had a really good time. Definitely the best yakiniku in town. The waitress told me that the Japanese beef is unavailable now, and will be in short supply as well in the future. So we have to settle for Australian beef" which is still pretty good.

              1. re: FourSeasons

                i was lucky to have mine booked within 2 weeks but it's now at least 2 mths out to get a table (the review on ST doesn't help!).

                glad you liked yazawa....the ban on japanese beef export in japan has been lifted for a couple of months now and hk has resumed import but there's no sign of sg ava relaxing their import ban anytime soon....

                1. re: muttley

                  2 months!!! Wow, this sound more like the dining scene in Tokyo.

                2. re: FourSeasons

                  Address/contact details:

                  Yakiniku Yazawa
                  11 Unity Street
                  #01-01 Robertson Walk
                  Tel: 62352941

                  Open: Dinner only, last order: 11.30pm

                  1. re: klyeoh

                    Wow! Last order 11.30pm! Unheard of for a high end restaurant!! By the time one finishes the multi-course tasting menu, it'll be morning!! Ha!

                    1. re: Charles Yu

                      Well, Robertson Walk also happens to be quite a hangout for the Japanese expat community for their late-night drinking binges. They really do late nights.

                3. re: muttley

                  Hi Muttley, thanks for the transfer of reservation in Waku Ghin on 16 Oct.....dinner was awesome and we had a great time....service was very good...will definately go again...I love the organic Cape Grim Beef and my friend likes the Australia Blackmore Wagyu with wasabi...we were so honour to have a master of tepanyaki to cook for us whom just newly join Waku Ghin from Japan...thanks!!

          2. I finally tried Waku Ghin. It is very good but just way too expensive. In all, it cost $470++ (without drinks) pp with its 10 dishes tasting menu at $400++ and an ala carte order of Canadian lobster (turns out to be the most outstanding dish of the evening) at $70++. I think it is probably the most expensive meal I ever had in Singapore.

            All together 11 dishes including 2 desserts. Out of which I rated very highly 5 dishes, including the caviar uni with bontan ebi, the Cape Grim Beef, Canadian lobster and the 2 desserts (a cheesecake and Kyoho grapes). Service was excellent. I would probably agree with the ST's food critic that this is the best restaurant in Singapore now, better than my current favorite Fifty Three or Guther's or Iggy's, though I have to say the price is also twice more expensive.

            The waitor told me that advanced booking of 1-2 weeks is needed to secure a reservation though sometimes one can get it sooner due to cancellation. There are 2 rounds for the dinner, the first one started at 6:00pm and the second at 8:30pm.

            2 Replies
            1. re: FourSeasons

              ouch. i'd rather eat 2 meals at gunther's or shinji!

              1. re: sg_foodie

                Shinji Kanesaka's dinner omakase is almost just as expensive, starting from $220++ all the way to $450++.

                I like Gunther's but certainly not in the same league as Waku Ghin.

            2. I wish people wouldn't go :) My fear is that with success there the other places will take note and start to raise their fees. 180++ used to be the standard in Singapore for tasting and had held for some time. Then the kaisekis and now this are starting to raise the game. I expect you'll see Iggys and Gunthers over 250 by year's end if not higher :(

              36 Replies
              1. re: pcypert

                Your fear is well & truly real, pcypert. In fact, even "middle of the road" Bonta Italian restaurant in UE Square, hardly in an exclusive part of Singapore, has come up with a jaw-dropping S$1,000+++ white truffle-and- Beluga caviar set menu recently! Or, you can opt for the cheaper S$388+++ set menu. These kind of prices would have been unimaginable in the pre-casino days a year or so back.


                1. re: klyeoh

                  gees. I was reading about 9-course meal at The French Laundry. It's 250 USD. That's a two-time top of the world restaurant that is completely justified. I'm not saying these other meals aren't good... but I've had some of the recent tastings around the region (not just Singapore) and most aren't really worth more than 100 USD if that. But everyone keeps paying so they all try and top each other.

                  When you have 4 or 5 top restaurants you're differentiated by price. When everyone's trying to be a tasting menu place and you have like 20 you just keep having to raise and raise to seem "more exclusive and unique". Unfortunately most are just average fine dining (Laris Shanghai I'm looking your way) and just keep raising their rates because folks on business accounts or with more sense than taste buds pay.

                  Special one-off menus can be high... that doesn't bother me. But a chef with a 400+ dollar restaurant here... I mean sure stuff is airflown in, but it pales to food in countries where you get it there that extra bit fresher and actually in season...

                  1. re: pcypert

                    No doubt about it, dining scene is Singapore is more expensive than U.S. but the country's economy is growing 12% while U.S. GDP is barely making just 1% growth now. That probably explain the difference as well. The market place will sort out this issue. If there is no demand for 400+ restaurants, then they will die down. Simple as that. And if you have not tried any recent tasting around this region that is worth more than 100USD, you probably need to travel to Tokyo.

                    1. re: FourSeasons

                      I do as much as I can :D Moving to Shanghai soon and will replace my weekend trips to Thailand for food to Tokyo and surrounding areas. Can't wait to explore more regional Japanese cuisine.

                      There's great stuff happening in the region for sure, but in my opinion too many of these places survive based on a perception that this is the price you pay for this specific meal type. I know people take it personally here, particularly speaking to locals, but it's just not quite where it thinks it is in the region (but getting there quickly). I have no issue paying 400 dollars for a meal if it's a 400 dollar meal... but I've had far too many 800 dollar for 2 meals that left me unsatisfied and only a small handful that have prompted me to return.... and I almost always let the chef decide and go through folks known by chefs and what not to be sure I'm checking them at peak time for them and not catching them unawares...

                      1. re: pcypert

                        I understand what you meant by local people taking it personally; I gave a few harsh comments on the legendary Babbo's and Sushi Yasuda on the New York Board a couple of years ago and immediately get a backlash over the criticism that such institutions are beyond reproach to them. But this is certainly not the issue here. Your criticism is welcome but would have been better if you had tried Waku Ghin before asking others not to try the place. From the comments on your well designed blog, you had no problem paying $800 for 2 at Gunther's yet in my opinion, Waku Ghin is clearly superior to the food in Gunther's in every aspect from the ingredients to the service standard. You clearly think that Waku and other recent high end places will have an unhealthy impact for others to raise their prices. I believe that the free market system will sort out these problems. There are still tons of places that offer decent prices of food at every level and that will not disappear just because of the existence of Waku. And I suggest that you still need to explore more on the local dining scene if you think that Summer Palace at Regent is the best Cantonese restaurant in town. And please note that Meile Guide is really a guide more for the expatriates and tourists community rather than serious foodies in this region.

                        1. re: FourSeasons

                          My dear Mr Four Seasons, you Japanese foodlover you. I'm surprised you haven't thrown yourself into Chowhound's current hottest thread yet - "Is Japanese Food Over-rated" started by Japanese-American Chowhound, Toomuchfat:


                          It got > 190 posts within 10 days, and Chowhounds (Japanese food lovers vs Japanese food skeptics) are practically shooting each other. Ha-ha!

                          1. re: M_Gomez

                            I don't venture to outside of Asian Boards anymore, too contentious out there.

                            1. re: FourSeasons

                              I know how you feel. I'd been flamed a few times myself. But I don't mind. It's good to be treated like any other poster instead of a senior citizen that I am.

                          2. re: FourSeasons

                            Ok FourSeasons, in about 10 days time I will be in Singapore again and try to make sure that I do go to Waku Ghin. Sad thing about Singapore though is that regardless of the price it seems as if things are 99% perfect. There is always this 'BUT'. In fact in the whole of Asia there is always this 'BUT'. Now I live in Macau and since prices here are much lower than elsewhere, I am perfectly ok with the 'BUT's, but coming from Europe where you do find the 100% restaurants at cheaper prices than the 99% restaurants in Asia, I always find it hard to tell Europeans which restaurants not to miss out on visiting Asia. Actually I have yet to give one single restaurant in Asia my own 3 Michelin Stars.

                            1. re: tkamp

                              You miss my point. I am not saying Waku Ghin is worth $400; I think the food is very good but it is still overprice so it is up to each individual if he or she is willing to pay that price. But what I do have objection is for somebody who has never tried the place to make a judgemental call to avoid the place due to the price tag. And I certainly don't understand how some expatriates, just because they have lived in this region for a few years, despite their still very limited exposure to the wild diversity of food in the region, would conclude that "it's just not quite where it thinks it is in the region" or "always this BUT". Of course, if you refer to fine dining western food, you will find better restaurants in Europe, no doubt about that, just like you will find for Chinese/Japanese/Thai/Korean/Indonesian food, 100% of those restaurants here are at cheaper price with better quality than those 99% in Europe. But I am sure the fine dining scene here is still superior to the Asian scene in Europe, which is quite frankly quite pitiful. If you have not collected your own Michelin 3 star in Asia, that probably means you have not worked hard enough to find the gems. And don't just focus on fine dining scene, the whole Asia has much more diversity that that.

                              1. re: tkamp

                                Michelin 3* restaurants in Europe, especially London and Paris, are way more expensive than their 3* counterpart in Hong Kong, Macau and Japan!!!!

                                1. re: Charles Yu

                                  Maybe true, Charles, but then those should not have 3 (but 2) stars in my point of view. (Even for a 2 Star restaurant I still think Robuchon in Macau is a complete gift prisewise especially during lunch).

                                  FourSeasons, I think it is good that you mentioned that people can only judge if they have been there (regardless of the price). I was not arguing with you about that and I will go to the place. It is just that I will have to prepare myself with a light lunch and no late afternoon snacks in order to go for the 8 course set meal.

                                  Then in comparing the Asian restaurants in Europe with those in Asia for a start I got to be honest in saying that (except for Japanese) I generally do not like Asian food as much as Western, but to make it more complex I rule out any restaurant that uses MSG.

                                  1. re: tkamp

                                    IF I don't consider the price as a factor, I actually enjoyed my meal at Waku Ghin more so than the last meal I had at Robuchon Macau last December. None of the dishes at Robuchon had a "wow" factor though they were all pleasently good. I would just rate 1 star on that meal in Macau while I would probably give a low to mid 2 star at Waku Ghin.

                                    1. re: FourSeasons

                                      You are even more demanding than I am. Yesterday I had the pleasure to go there. Honestly I think Waku Ghin deserves a full 10 out of 10. It is for sure the best restaurant in Asia and the best in the world that I have seen so far. The ingredients itself are all the outmost top of top. On top of that they clearly do enough extra to give it a bit of a 'wow' factor. The only comment I may need to make, is that quite some olive oil is being used, which I like, but others may have a bit of a problem with it. Then the price: I do not even think S$400 for their 10 course meal is expensive! I would say the costs of the ingredients are already S$200. It is just that I may only want to eat a 10 course meal once a year. So from a commercial point of view I doubt if it is smart of them to keep on going this way, but for the time being they seem rather fully booked every night.
                                      I will post some pictures later.

                                      1. re: tkamp

                                        Glad you enjoy the food at Waku Ghin. I was worried that you give another "BUT" this time:-) I agree it is the best restaurant in Singapore; will not rate it the best in Asia because I have a few better meals in Tokyo before. Not doubt it set a new benchmark in the local dining scene.

                                        1. re: FourSeasons

                                          Best fine dining meal of the year for me and by some distance. Not even close with Caprice, Robouchon (Macau), Universal, Drawing Room, Bo Innovation (by even further).... Quay was a little closer.

                                          1. re: PTG

                                            Yesterday it was time again for me to give Robuchon in Macau another try. I had not been there for a year. It was flawless and it certainly had a wow factor. I will no longer dispute their 3 Michelin stars.

                                            1. re: tkamp

                                              Hi tkamp:
                                              What is so different about Robuchon Macau this time that you elevate it from 2 to solid 3 stars? I am actually going to Macau soon so your comment may just persuade me to revisit there again.
                                              Have you tried Tim's Kitchen at Lisboa? I thought that was an excellent restaurant.

                                              1. re: FourSeasons

                                                I must admit that last time I had a dinner there was 3 years ago and last year 2 lunches. All were excellent, but indeed missed the wow factor. Yesterday it was there, though you must be into white truffles, otherwise you could not have eaten anything.
                                                I have been to Tim's Kitchen a few times in the past. Always considered it a 1 star place. They may have tried a little harder the last couple of months to get the 2.
                                                How long will you stay in Macau?

                                                1. re: tkamp

                                                  I am actually a regular visitor to Macau, will stay there perhaps 3 days on upcoming trip.
                                                  Well, I really like Tim's Kitchen. The first time was 2 years ago, a solid 3 star meal, every dish was fantastic. Then I went back again last year but was not as impressive as the first time, probably agree with you it was more like a 1 star on this second occasion. Anyway, will want to go back there again this time.

                                                2. re: FourSeasons

                                                  I visited Robuchon last week again. Back to 2 Stars (Still better than anything else I have ever eaten in Macau or HK. Let there clearly be no misunderstanding about that). Some dishes missed the wow factor and some others were very very good (Caviar related), but not extremely innovative. For all those that come to Macau and will have only one restaurant to chose, still go there!

                                                  Actually I would like to grab this opportunity to discuss some other Macau restaurants. Il Teatro in Wynn got a Star in its last edition and I had not been there for a while, so I had to give it another try. After 4 years the menu was still the same, so I already got a little worried before I even started ordering. The food was totally average. I just cannot believe that this restaurant managed to get a star, unbelievable. You may give it a complete miss!

                                                  Then recently Horizon in the Crown hotel got a new French chef that used to work in the Raffles Hotel in Singapore. The menu has not changed yet, but if you happen to go there ask for Guillaime to come to your table with some suggestions, He is more than happy to do that and yes, I think he should be able to nail it.

                                                  I got a bit of a relief too when I visited one of my favourite's in Macau, which is La Bonne Heure. They never managed to enter the guide. Koji, the chef, told me that Michelin will simply not put bistro style restaurants in their guide, but I think food wise they deserve to be in there!

                                                  1. re: tkamp

                                                    In the "old days", Michelin will not even include places like L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, as it's seen as a casual eatery. But the Michelin folks have changed their outlook somewhat in the past years.
                                                    I think HK/Macau folks are currently putting TOO much emphasis on the Michelin Guide. La Bonne Heure should be proud of their cuisine, with or without inclusion in the Red Guide. And HK/Macau diners should not lower their opinions about that restaurant just because it's not mentioned by Michelin. I kinda missed HK/Macau's dining scene before the current Michelin craze came about. At that time, it was the local foodies themselves who decided what's the best in HK, not some French inspectors.

                                                    1. re: klyeoh

                                                      Exactly, agree 100% !!! klyeoh.

                                                      tkamp, let there clearly be no misunderstanding about this, Michelin is giving out star to noodle shops like Ho Hung Kee and Mist, why on earth do you or anyone think they simply not put bistro style restaurant in their guide ?

                                              2. re: PTG

                                                I don't think Bo Innovation is in the same league as Caprice or Galera Robuchon. BI may have a few interesting dishes but overall package, especially taking into account of wine and service is lacking for a 'fine dining' venue

                                                1. re: Charles Yu

                                                  You need new spectacles :-) tkamp is talking about "La Bonne Heure", not "Bo Innovation"!!!

                                                  Actually Michelin craze is only overflown in this forum. None of my friends in Hong Kong actually even talk much about that guide book. Basically, most think it is a book written by the gwailo for the gwailo market, that's it. And if it is good for the tourism business, then it is good for Hong Kong. But there is not much influence to what and how they eat. And good popular non-Michelin restaurants are still doing very good business, just try to book a table at Sheung Hing!

                                                  @skyliner: Michelin need to give a star to HHK to appease the local crowd, to make them look like they understand local market. But for bistro, I would think they would rather be more hesitant because they considered that as an area of their expertise. So far, the critics of the guidebook in Asia has focus on their selection of Chinese restaurants, not their Western selection.

                                                  @tkamp: I have actually walked passed "La Bonne Heure" so many times over the past few years but never stepped in. Just realized the Japanese chef was actually trained by Robuchon himself and work as the previous chef at Galera Robuchon. Thanks for this recommendation, I will try it on my next trip to Macau in March!

                                                  1. re: FourSeasons

                                                    Four Seasons, our friend Charles Yu was replying to an earlier thread posted by PTG which mentioned Bo Innovation! :-D

                                                    1. re: FourSeasons

                                                      FS, I think you got a point on the bistro. I guess what I want to say mainly is in seeing what Michelin is doing to the HK guide, why one still takes it seriously and try to understand the logic behind the selection of restaurant in the guide, it is a pure random selection/star allocation of good restaurants, that's it. For the star given to HHK or Mist, I think you are right, they just want to make some buzz and to make it looks like more of a HK Michelin guide.

                                                      1. re: FourSeasons

                                                        Hay Fourseasons! May be both of us need glasses?! Ha! Me the rim ones, you contacts?!
                                                        I was actually replying to PTG's post of Dec 08 where he mentioned Drawing room and Bo Innovation with Caprice and Galera Robuchon!

                                                        1. re: Charles Yu

                                                          is anyone going to galera robuchon on 5 Mar when the man himself is cooking? it's around $3600 per pax (food only)....i've booked don alfonso (half the price of robuchon) the following sat instead - father and son are cooking, so not sure if i want to spend 2 consecutive sat nights in macau.....

                                                          1. re: muttley

                                                            @muftley : thanks for the info, sound interesting but I will only be in Macau from 9-11, so will have to miss Robuchon event. We actually have chow meets in HKG on 11 & 12th luncheon. Wanna join us?
                                                            @Charles: wanna head to Macau on the 12th evening for don Alfonso? Ahh...too much food!!!

                                                            1. re: FourSeasons

                                                              @fourseasons: I would love to join you on the 11th for the chow meet, please send me the details.....(how do we exchange detalls without pm feature on this board???)

                                                              1. re: muttley

                                                                @muttley: I just posted my email address on my profile. Please write to me and then I will provide the details to you.

                                                          2. re: Charles Yu

                                                            @klyeoh @CharlesYu. : my error, how embarrassing! It did not occur to me Charles was responding to an old post...

                                                            1. re: FourSeasons

                                                              My friend!! Too much great food blocking your brain cells?! Ha!! You should, like Peech, start eating 'salad' to cleanse your system before the big chowmeets!

                                                    2. re: FourSeasons

                                                      have u tried restaurant andre by andre chiang?? if u have how would u compare it with waku ghin??? price point andre seems much cheaper...

                                                      1. re: Lucil

                                                        No, I have never tried Andre. I did have lunch once at Jaan in Swissotel, still helmed by Andre Chiang back then, and came back really disappointed. But that was lunch, perhaps Andre was not there.

                              2. I am unfortunately allergic to shellfish. Would Waku Ghin and Santi still be worth it? I'm assuming they'd be able to cater to this dietary requirement.

                                9 Replies
                                1. re: Elgreenholio

                                  I agree with you that normally top restaurants should be able to deal with special requests. Problem is that it may be a bit difficult for a 10 course meal. When you make a reservation, do let them know and of course let us know the response.

                                  1. re: tkamp

                                    after starting this thread almost 6 mths ago, i'm finally getting to eat at waku ghin in 2 weeks time! really looking forward to it....will finally make it up to my wife for giving the original reservation away last year....

                                    1. re: muttley

                                      Don't forget to post back your experience.

                                      1. re: penang_rojak

                                        Best meal I've had in Singapore for sure (would hesitate to say best in Asia as there have been some great meals in Japan). Wine pairing was also excellent and service was exquisite. Memorable dishes were the uni/caviar/ebi on frozen egg yolk, alaskan king crab steamed with sea salt and drizzled with lemon/extra virgin olive oil, lobster and scampi cooked with the best broth and the teppan grilled abalone with a very refreshingly light tomato sauce. Desert was the only disappointment - had the strawberry shortcake and their house special white cheesecake. Highly recommended.

                                        1. re: muttley

                                          I've yet to visit Waju Ghin nor Santi, but my fellow restaurant critic (who happens to head up the S.E.Asian judging panel for SP World 50 Best) says both Waku Ghin and Santi are v good.
                                          I did try Andre's 8-course Octa menu though. It is artisanal, profound and top-notch. His baked foie gras jelly topped with black truffle coulis is one of the best foie gras I've had in recent times. I say its profound because Andre has put alot of thought into mapping each of the courses (and ingredients) with his culinary philosophy.

                                          1. re: evechen

                                            I'm relatively new to Chow and am impressed that some of the fellow contributors (klyeoh, Four Seasons, M Gomez, in particular) have thick wallets... to have eaten at some of the finest dining institutions in S'pore + rest of Asia. Will definitely pick your brains for my next food trip.


                                            1. re: evechen

                                              Always welcome another Chowhounder on the China/SE-Asia board, especially a Singapore-based one. Speaking for myself, I'm neither in the F&B nor food business, nor do I write for any magazines, nor contribute to any publication. Like most other Chowhounders, we simply love to share our love of food with others of similar interests with us. Do hope to meet you sometime for a local Chowmeet.

                                              1. re: klyeoh

                                                Would love to join a Chow meet - I assume it'll be over good food? When and where is the next one scheduled? And how often do you meet?

                                                1. re: evechen

                                                  Definitely over food. The last few ones were initiated by FourSeasons, and I was also in a couple of meals when Toronto CH Charles Yu was in town. They are all in HK this week for Charles Yu's Chowmeet.