A concept born out of pandemic situation, Nozomi refers to “Hope” in Japanese and serves quality Japanese Claypot Rice (Donabe), Donburi & Bento Set at affordable price.
Inconspicuously located at the far end of Millenia Walk’s Nihon Food Street , this is one store which you could possibly walk by unnoticed, or even not pass by at all.
Other Japanese restaurants along the same Japanese-themed food street include Gochi-So Shokudo, Kurama Robatayaki, Chabuton, Gyu Jin Shabu Shabu, Miyako Teppanyaki & Grill, Sushi Murasaki and Saboten.
For the record, their sister restaurant Yoshi Restaurant at Forum The Shopping Mall offers Kyoto Kaiseki Fine Dining Omakase from $258 onwards.
Plus I remember Michelle Chong recommending Yoshi.
Leveraging on its former strength, Nozomi imports seasonal and quality ingredients straight from Tokyo Toyosu Market.
After which the food will be prepared “Kaiseki Ryori” style – by adopting various cooking methodologies to allow true essence of the ingredients to speak for itself.
I was particularly curious about their take on Japanese Claypot Rice, and how it would differ from the rest.
Available in Salmon & Ikura ($30) and Bamboo Shoot & Mountain Greens ($28), I went for the Sakura Ebi ($30) option.
I was slightly surprised it was served with a bowl of white rice (loaded with Sakura Ebi nevertheless) rather than an actual claypot. (By the way, I did check with the staff and they assured me that it was prepared in a claypot before serving in a bowl.)
Given its plain outlook, I honestly had some reservations.
Went for my first bite and I was pleasantly surprised.
While it did not bear mind-blowing flavours, the fluffy white rice steamed in dashi stock, savoury crispy sakura ebi and its light seasoning miraculously blended together to produce a harmonious refined flavour.
From the Donburi section, there are the familiar favourites such as Barachirashi Don ($28), Wagyu Beef Shigureni Don ($28), Ebi Tempura Don ($24) and Oyako Don ($16).
While the Pork Kakuni Don ($28) sounded promising, I thought it could do with a heartier portion and more-tender mouthfeel for greater satisfaction.
My comfort bet went to Salmon Trio & Ikura Don ($24) which came neatly plated with a trio of salmon sashimi, aburi salmon and salmon mentaiyaki. To diners who love all things salmon, this is the bowl for you.
Point to note, unlike regular sushi rice that we usually come across, their rice is prepared using red vinegar.
This gave the grains a lighter sourish note that didn’t overwhelm the accompanying fresh ingredients.
Even though not extensive, they also serve ala carte sides like Unagi Kabayaki (Half $26), Oden ($20), Nankotsu Karaage ($9) and Mentaiko Cheese Balls ($11).
I took a liking to their Pork Kakuni ($28) which they braised pork belly in their house-concocted sauce.
While it tasted rich with umami flavours, my only qualm was the pork belly which could use a little more fats to derive that melt-in-your-mouth texture.
If you have been a fan of Yoshi, you may want to try out Nozomi which has a friendlier price-point to cater to changing market demands.
At the same time, their delicate flavours and level of commitment to offer fresh seasonal produces without compromising on quality is what I would return for.
Nozomi by Yoshi
9 Raffles Boulevard #02-06, Millenia Walk, Singapore 039596
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 2:30pm, 5pm – 9:30pm (Mon – Sun)