Singapore: Shinji by Kanesaka?
For an October trip to Singapore, I'm considering a visit to Shinji by Kanesaka as a finale to the trip before heading to the airport. In particular, I'm looking at the Omakase menu at lunch. This level of Japanese food is simply not available where I live (Napa, California).
Any Chowhound comments on the food and service experience at Shinji? If you've had and enjoyed the Omakase menu, how much time should I allocate for the meal? I don't want to rush anything. Rather, I want to go off to the airport happy!
Thanks for your advice.
This will be my 2nd dinner review of Shinji Kanesaka Singapore. The first one took place more than 2 years ago. As far as I can remember, this is probably my most frequent visited Japanese restaurant in Singapore. In between these visits, actually I’ve been fortunate enough to be invited for business lunch twice, enjoyed the omakase menu in both occasions and had somebody picked up the tabs. Anyway, back to the dinner ... The hostess was friendly and efficient; she anticipated my needs well. For example, she thoughtfully provided me with ‘writing board’ upon knowing that I would take notes about my meal. The tea was filled promptly though I ordered no alcohol. However, unlike the earlier visit, I was not given any menu to choose this time. She just asked whether I got any allergy, after that essentially she said something like “We will take care of you and hope you enjoy the meal”
During this dinner, approximately I had 9 appetizers, 13 sushi pieces (including tamago) and 1 fruit dessert. A few dishes I especially enjoyed were:
-Autumn assortment of small items. This dish looked quite beautiful by Shinji standard (you can see the picture in the link below). I loved the mushi awabi (the steamed abalone was quite tender, a bit chewy and tasty) and ankimo (monkfish liver; it tasted like duck liver of the sea indeed – rich & creamy). There were also ‘cute’ crispy sawagani with Ok taste as well as not-so-bad grilled kamasu. The grilled Matsutake, from Iwate prefecture, and ginko were average
-Like the earlier visit, I ate creamy and sweet duo of uni with salt. I liked the bafun uni a little more than the murasaki one
-Meiji maguro (baby tuna, 6-month old) with ginger soy sauce was tender and light
-In Shinji, I usually liked the Chutoro better than Otoro. In fact, it’s probably the best place to savor this medium fatty tuna in Singapore. Here, the chutoro was buttery, oily yet still sufficiently ‘firmed’
I could not recall if there’s any bad dishes during this meal, but there wasn’t anything outstanding either. The sushi was about as good as my previous visits; they’re rather consistent even though I got more ‘interesting’ pieces such as kama toro, akagai & kohada. Some other sushi I had this time were: shima aji, sawara, aji, saba, uni, anago (two ways: with salt and sauce) and the crunchy tsubugai. Whereas for small dishes, the chef also served me kawahagi with its liver, ishigaki-gai sashimi, a small bowl of ikura and steam kanpachi with miso. The dessert was simple and of very good quality – Japanese pear and melon. The bar that Shinji set from my first dinner here was perhaps very high. During that time, I loved the abalone chawan mushi, crab wrapped in yuba and uni rice with ikura and negi toro. The food generally is still worth of 2-star by Michelin HK standard nevertheless
For this visit, Yoshi-san was “my chef”. Oshino-san was around and he seemed to be busy watching over the main counter and private rooms at the same time. Oshino-san, who took care of me in my first dinner meal, was friendly, playful and tried to engage conversation with guests; Yoshi-san (he’s been with Shinji Raffles too since opening), on the contrary, was focused and a bit rigid. The only time he said something when serving the food. He served 5 people at that time. Even, when I or other diners tried to engage him for a conversation, his answer tended to be short with hardly any smile. A bit surprising I thought, even I spoke more and had better customer-chef interaction in my broken Japanese with Tokyo’s Mizutani-san than with Yoshi-san.
At the end when the bill came, it cost me somewhere in between the price of omakase Wa and Shin – fair enough. Will I return here in the future? Almost certainly. But if it will be under my own pocket, I don’t think it will happen next year. Perhaps, I intend to visit Shinji St. Regis at that time; I enjoyed my lunch under Kikuchi-san. Here are some pictures of dishes I had:
re: Bu Pun Su
st regis is not s good as raffles, and chef kikuchi not on form , cold rice cold fish when i went.
raffles branch is good, around 1 star michelin in tokyo's standard for the sushi alone
try chef matsumoto, friendly chap , he remebers me after a visit 1-2 months prior. i get more interaction from him than the other chefs there