Thursday, April 17, 2008

Shin Kushiya @ Vivocity

Charcoal-grilled foie gras with caramelised apple.

I heart my liver.

The facade might not strike you with its simple, almost dull colours and design but once you step into the restaurant, you'll find yourself in a rather dark hall, which somehow reminded me of Japanese lacquerware. Look ahead and there you'll find a purple-coloured, shimmering veil separating this hall from another sitting area, with a view. A view of the harbour. And the Sentosa Island. I can only imagine how beautiful the night will accessorise this space. I hate to spoil this intimate moment between you and your imagination, but I need to comment on the background music. Typical Top 40 J-Pop which could have been easily replaced with something from the Buddha-Bar series. Ok, perhaps they are trying to keep it real. And well, I do enjoy a J-pop or two sometimes.

Shin Kushiya specialises in Kushiyaki cuisine, which is basically charcoal-grilling, with a wider range of skewing ingredients as compared to yakitori. A special charcoal called Bincho-tan is used as it has higher heat capacity and emits much lesser smoke. To the yous and mes, it means not having to leave the restaurant with an overdose of eau de sate parfum.

The foie gras was not hearted for no reason. These slightly-larger-than-Sugus gems were soft and literally melted in the mouth, releasing the distinctively aromatic, smoky foie gras scent. The cuts of apple provided a nice crunch and sweetness. I wished it was sourer.

The other skewer-grilled dishes such as the Shoyu Yaki Onigiri (Japanese rice ball with soya sauce marinade) and Aspara Maki (asparagus wrapped in thinly sliced pork) were rather unexciting as compared to le foie gras. To me, at least. There are many more signature skewer-grilled dishes to choose from.

I didn't quite get the Hiyashi Koimo or Japanese mini yam garnished with lime zest, served chilled. The texture was soft but since there was no filling, it was rather boring. To quote Simon on Brooke's performance yesterday, "it was a bit like ordering a hamburger and getting only the bun".

Served piping hot, the Sake Chazuke or grilled salmon with rice in hot broth looked interesting. She gave an OK-lah expression when asked about the taste. Ok-lor.

Sushi rolled with Norwegian Smoked Salmon, ebi fry, cheese and asparagus. I must confess that I chose this based on the nationality of the salmon. Yes, blondes are more interesting in some ways. The fact that it's smoked also intrigued my curiosity. The taste was rather bland for a typical slice of smoked salmon. The prawn was tender and crunchy but the cheese, I thought, served no purpose as it did not accentuate the taste of the roll. Avocado would have been appreciated. For a smoother texture, at least.

A staple, the Cha Soba or Japanese Green Tea noodle was served chilled with a homemade dipping sauce. The noodle was al dente but the portion was small. The dipping was rather typical (perhaps that's the definition of homemade) but I did enjoy the grated daikon that came with the dipping. Am I being demanding or is it a common practice not to include sesame seeds for the dipping?

It has all the right ingredients; top-notch service, beautiful setting, great view and grilled foie gras. But somehow, from this experience, the meal seemed rather incomplete. What's missing? Memorable dishes, perhaps? And why does Kristy Lee Cook keep haunting me at this point?

Price list:
Cha Soba - S$9.80
Foie Gras - S$8.80
Aspara Maki - S$2.80
Hiyashi Koimo - S$4.80
Sake Chazuke - S$5.80
Shoyu Yaki Onigiri - S$1.90
Smoked Salmon Ebi Fry Maki - S$12.80

Shin Kushiya
#02-120/1/2, Vivocity
1 Harbourfront Walk
Singapore 098585
Tel: (+65) 62758766

Are you prepared for your grand finale in Hokkaido?


durianberry said...

eau de sate parfum? Can I buy it and spray it on my food to make it smell like smoked ham? ;D I'm sold by how you describe foie gras! Before this my thought on eating duck liver is "eww"

CUMI & CIKI said...

great blog! well researched.. just one quest, and sori to be so ignorant.. but what does ths mean? 'The foie gras was not hearted for no reason'...cheers :) (blur chick)

team bsg said...

whats missing is of course and as usual the nice lady(ies) enjoying the spread as much as you do ( her feminine delicious images )

ling239 said...

"slightly-larger-than-Sugus gems"

sugus !! a good description and bring back school time memories...^_^

Anonymous said...

Exhibit A: Charcoal-grilled foie gras with caramelised apple
Conclusion: Utterly decadent.

Exhibit B: The Cha Soba or Japanese Green Tea noodle, which is arranged ever so much prettier than my Tahini Soba.
Conclusion: So bloody unfair. Why can't I have mad food arrangement skills liddat wan? *cries*

Big Boys Oven said...

I just had japanese last nite and seeing them again this morning totally melted me. Lovely & Divine!

sc said...

so unfortunate that most of the food is mediocre though it looks good :(. guess AI got more of your attention rather than the food while posting this? :p

Xiu Long Bao said...


Didn't quite enjoy the hot broth rice. Tastes like baby food.

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

foie gras cheaper then there something wrong with the portions or the pricing??

mimi said...

eau de sate parfum.... mayb in future got this type of perfume in the market...XD

KampungboyCitygal said...

man ..sigh man! blonde is alwiz more interesting..must blind fold my man whenever theres some blonde chick passing by

JOjo said...

Yea, totally agree on the part that the cheese serve no purpose...
Cos i just had some kind of maki from Sakae wrapped with cheese which taste so-so only =(
Btw, Yeah! NTU got new canteen *lol*
Exam driving me nuts...Your turn soon hor? All the best ya!

Nic (KHKL) said...

durianberry, ohhh, yes, it's very's like the layer of fat under those roasted crispy duck skin...only more aromatic...nice!

cumi & ciki, hey, no worries abt the quest...i can be very shiok sendiri at times and kinda self-vocabularize my words (the gila me, hehe)! well, since heart means love, i suppose hearted means loved...which translates into "the foie gras was not loved for no reason" :D

team bsg, oh, yes, you have a point there, man! i enjoy the spread and if they enjoy the spread too, it'll makes a gastronomically orgasmic exploration. definitely!

ling239, hehe, i guess that was the only way i could describe the size of the foie gras..haha! ya, those days of sugus, paddle-pop and choki-choki...really miss those days...haha!


Comment on:
Exhibit A - An absolute heart-stopper (literally and metaphorically). In other words, the killer.

Exhibit B: Hey, yours look ok what...i think the solution is simply one of those bamboo mats and a nice lacquerware...i think can get at only S$2 here...well, mine definitely lacked in the "homely" department, unlike your priceless, warm version :D

big boys oven, haha! where did you go for japanese food last night? nothing like good food to remind you of other good food, eh? and yeah, i'm still thinking abt the foie gras...hehe

sc, i have a feeling you can read my mind lah! or perhaps my writing was obviously skewed towards AI...haha! the funny part was both the contestants mentioned in the post were in the bottom 2 y'day...*scary*

xiu long bao, OK lor...hehehe...i forgot why you ordered that...perhaps if you opt for the non-broth one in the menu, it'll turn out better...well, i dun mind going for my liver again..hehe

joe, yupe, checked the bill again was indeed cheaper...well, i guess the price did reflect the sugus size lah...and i think i can take 2-3 skewers at the same time..haha...

mimi, ya lor, perhaps it will be the latest trend...perhaps next season is all about food and eau de sate parfum will be the "must have" on every fashionista's dressing table..hehe

kampungboycitygal, aiyah, everyone got different taste mah...some like blonde, some like brunette and some like bald (aka britney..haha)...hmmm, perhaps that's why some girls dye their hair blonde hor...hahaha

jojo, wah, havent visit sakae in years fave is still sushi tei..hehe...NTU with new canteen?? wah, this i dunno leh...perhaps i shd hv lunch there sometime...yeah, same here..mine'll be end on apr til early may...all the best to ya too!!! :)

Sugar Bean said...

Wow, still a Japanese post, guess you really love Japanese food! Haha, but blondes are more interesting? Be careful of all Asian girls here. :)

Alexander said...

Woo... that looks yummy. Looks like someone has done his research on that place. Well done! :)

Alex's World! -

yammylicious said...

Charcoal-grilled foie gras? gosh... my favourite!! but i nv try charcoal grill be4!! slurp!

fatboybakes said...

i lurve foie gras...and this particular rendition looks like it could give me spasms of pleasure...

brad said...

nice! and the food seems quite reasonable also, i didn't know shin kushiya pricing is in this range. lol

yeah foie gras so cheap? authetic? hahah

brad (ladyironchef)

CUMI & CIKI said...

ah.. it all becomes clear! my bad..(only 4hrs sleep) and good play on words ;P

Hazza said...

Like the look of those skewers. Much nicer looking than regular yakitori.

JeromeFo- 杰龙 said...

Charcoal-grilled foie gras is super awesome! =)

~Christine~Leng said...

another Jap food review! gosh... making me crave for more ;P
The skewered dishes looks appealing man!
The blonde chicks... always one's fav.. luckily not Chris's! ;P *relieved*

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I guess the easiest solution would be to invest in all these tableware and dishware... A good place would be Jonker St. in Melaka, where I'm from. I remember last year taking my Italian pals there and there were so many shops selling the stuff...

What's your schedule like, KL-wise, if ever? Dinner at my place one day with a coupla others maybe? Or maybe I should just get a bigger place first with a working kitchen, haha.

Nic (KHKL) said...

sugar bean, i do enjoy japanese food! but not as much as hokkien mee and ckt and nasi lemak...same goes to the blonde thingy, i guess..hehehehe...

alexander, thanks! well, kushiyaki is indeed something new to me and i thought it's worth exploring...well, for the foi gras at least..haha!

yammylicious, oh, that was my first time too...kinda like satay with a much softer texture..and the apple kinda reminded me of cucumber/onion :)

fatboybakes, spasms of pleasure, eh? hehehehe...i shook too when i first bite into it...really nice. but i still cant decide which is my all time fave; foie gras or fried lard...

brad, yeah, i was surprised with the pricing too..haha!

yupe, i guess it is authentic...but the size was really, really tiny...i can wallop 5 pcs at one go, i think..haha...

cumi & ciki, no prob! i like to play with words and sometimes, get shiok sendiri in the making...haha! 4 hrs? that, only 2 last night..*yawn*

hazza, oh, definitely...i read that yakitori is limited to chicken and bird (as tori means bird in japanese)...guess this has better variety...

jeromeFo, hey, thanks for stopping by! haha, i agree...foie gras is already a delicacy. plus charcoal-grilling, awesome indeed!

christine, hehe...i think i still have a few more J-posts before May arrives...all for my ohana-chan :)
haha, glad to hear Chris doesnt like blondes...hmm, maybe i shd ask him myself...hehehehe....

kenny, oh, definitely...but these stuff tend to get a little pricey, me think. that's why i resort to this famous S$2 shop in singapore for affordable tableware...

oh wow! thanks for the invite, bro! that'll be great! i'll be back in kl every weekend...starting next month (after my exams)...will email you later!

Simon Seow said...

I heart Foie Gras. Please take me to a good place for Foie Gras when I come to Singapore mid of May. Thank you. :P

Nic (KHKL) said...

simon, ooohhh, foie gras! okie, let me know lar your schedule! :D

Anonymous said...

shin kushiya in vivo city.they have nice food and tasty foods and they have a good restaurant but they dont pay enough to thre employee and the working time is 13hours and theres no more holiday for the employee of shin kushiya and thats not double pay for sad for the employee of shin kushiya i hope they will realize that and increase the salary of their employee 1100$ is not enough for 12hrs working time..thank u..