Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Shinji by Kanesaka

I fear that words are not quite enough to do justice to the mini-epiphany I had at Shinji by Kanesaka.

It was sheer magic and poetry.

Shinji Restaurant 1

sushi counter carved from the trunk of a 220 year old Japanese cypress or hinoki tree

Shinji by Kanesaka, which opened in late July, is the first overseas outpost of master chef Shinji Kanesaka, who runs a two Michelin-star restaurant in Tokyo. The austere and spare dining room, with the sushi counter as the centrepiece, set the mood for the next two hours of epicurean bliss.

Shinji Restaurant 2

the master at work slicing otoro
At lunch, 3 sets ($75 for 9 pieces, $125 for 12 pieces, $180 for 15 pieces) and omakase ($250) are available. We opted for the $125 Tsuki lunch and placed ourselves in the capable hands of master chef Koichiro Oshino.

Shinji_1 yellowtail
Sushi 1: Japanese Yellowtail

Shinji_2 Squid
Sushi 2: Ika (squid), with a sprinkle of salt

Shinji_3 Chutoro
Sushi 3: Chutoro (medium fatty tuna belly)

Shinji_4 Otoro
Sushi 4: Otoro (fatty tuna belly)

Shinji_5 Mackerel
Sushi 5: Mackerel

Shinji_6 Marinated Maguro
Sushi 6: Tuna marinated in soya sauce

Shinji_7 Ikura
Sushi 7: Ikura (salmon roe)

Shinji_8 Aji
Sushi 8: Aji (horse mackerel)

Shinji_9 Uni
Sushi 9: Uni (sea urchin)

Shinji_10 Ebi
Sushi 10: Cooked ebi (prawn)

Shinji_11 Clam
Sushi 11: Boiled Clam

Shinji_12 Anago
Sushi 12: Grilled anago (sea eel)
Every single piece of sushi was an amazing work of art. Served at the perfect temperature (rice slightly warm, raw fish slightly chilled), moulded to the perfect balance of seafood and rice to bring out the full flavour of the seafood.
From the top-grade unctous buttery otoro and creamy briny-sweet uni, to the marinated maguro and the tender ika, every thing was just so delicious - stunningly fresh and sweet - that try as I could, I couldn't pinpoint my favourites.

Shinji_13 Maki

Assorted maki and tamago (not shown)
Even the maki was superb, with a wonderfully fragrant toasted nori sheet. The only jarring note came from the miso soup, which was not as tasty or complex as I had been expecting.

Shinji_14 Matcha Dessert

Matcha mousse with Azuki beans

Beautifully rounded off with a matcha mousse which somehow managed to be light and yet with a deep rich green tea fragrance at the same time.
When can I go back?

Shinji by Kanesaka
Raffles Hotel #02-20

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