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?
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
1 Harbourfront Walk
Tel: (+65) 62758766
Are you prepared for your grand finale in Hokkaido?