What do you look for in a Japanese fine dining restaurant? Really nothing short of brilliant – Quality cuisine, freshness and skills, attention to details, premium service experience, and that unspeakable X-factor.
EZOCA at Quayside Isle has almost all of that, especially when it comes to authenticness. As what EZOCA’s owner Katsutaka Kobayashi says, “Many Japanese restaurants in Singapore only look traditional, but when you look into the details, you will soon realise it is not”.
The traditional sukiya style interior featuring imported red cedar is elegance and exemplified, simple yet bringing out a dignified zen Japanese feel. The restaurant was extremely beautfiful.
Even though I felt slightly ridiculous wearing a jacket to Quayside Isle (where so many people are in berms and slippers), EZOCA really stands out from all the rest of the casual dining and tapas restaurants in that row.
It is almost perfect. Almost.
The food was more expensive than I imagined, where the first item on the menu – one piece of broiled tuna belly was already at $20. A sushi platter of 7 kinds and 1 roll is $82. Lunch sets starts at $75. In which case, I ordered a 5-course kaiseki at $175 per person which was more ‘value for money’.
Otherwise the cuisine, prepared by Chef Shinji Morihara who used to helm Fairmont Singapore’s Inagiku, was outstandingly superb, with a few mind-blowing dishes. (On that note, I only went to Inagiku once because its food did not warrant its very high price then.)
The starter is a humble Deep Fried Japanese Taro with Shrimp and Beancurd Skin Sticky Sauce ($28 when ordered ala carte), a wonderful blend of textures with a taste I can still vaguely recall. It is that impressionable.
Mind you, the Grilled Japanese Unagi Bowl with Miso Soup with Pickles is $69 per bowl. It is freaking delicious, but it is still $69. The highlight is really the Japanese Koshihikari rice specially flown in from Ishikawa, and only Japanese mineral water is used to cook. It makes all that difference to the fluffiness, texture and taste. FYI, ordering the rice alone would have cost $16.
Service was pleasant and polite, but it wasn’t top-notch. If food and price is first-rate, I would have correspondingly expected service to be swift, confident, and extremely attentive – whereas it felt like somebody was afraid to break a bowl anytime. Perhaps they are new.
I can’t imagine its clientele though. Would Japanese businessmen and tai-tais go all way to the light-hearted Quayside Isle, brave some sweat, to indulge in a classy fine-dining meal? If you are up for a masterfully prepared Japanese cuisine, EZOCA could be your answer.
EZOCA Japanese Cuisine
#01-12 Quayside Isle, 31 Ocean Way (Sentosa Cove) Singapore 098375
Opening Hours: 11:30am-3pm, 5:30pm-10pm (Tue-Sun), Closed Mon