Spoil yourself with an Edo-style omakase for lunch or dinner at Rén Lounge, located next to JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach.
Named after “rén” (Mandarin for “people”), Rén Lounge is an ideal venue for savouring fine Japanese food at value-for-money prices.
Unlike the usual Japanese omakase restaurants in Singapore, the space is initially designed by renowned contemporary designer Philippe Starck, and he truly made it a sight to behold.
Complementing this modern space are the special creations of Chef Samuel Lau, backed with seven years of experience in Japanese restaurants.
As a sushi chef previously from the Michelin-starred Shinji by Kanesawa (St Regis), he honed his skills and talent and now brings it to Rén Lounge.
This is a dual dining concept.
There is counter dining meant more for Japanese omakase; and gastrobar for more casual Japanese food, Western dishes and bar snacks.
For a longer and fuller meal, delight in an omakase as you sit in one of the sleek counter seats at the centrepiece kitchen and watch the Chef Samuel and team in action.
Each omakase set have varying items of seasonal appetisers, sashimi, sushi, soup and dessert, depending on the timing and pricing.
Available for lunch are the Yuki Omakase ($100), Yume Omakase ($180); while Icho Omakase ($180), Hana Omakase ($250) and Chef’s Special ($350) are for dinner.
Here are the items that go into an Omakase: (pictured below is the Hana Omakase, and subjected to change depending on the season and availability of ingredients.)
Begin your gastronomic journey with a trio of delicate appetisers, prepared using seasonal ingredients.
Ankimo is known as the foie gras of Japan, as it is made anko (monkfish) and kimo (liver). It is simmered in shoyu and sake to contrast its innate creaminess.
There are also Sea Snails or marine escargots prepared simply by marinating and blanching to bring out a tender, succulent texture.
To complete the appetiser is Herring Roe, also known as soft roes or milts, considered a high valued delicacy. They are found fresh in spring and early summer so you can expect its flavour at its finest.
At Ren Lounge, no farmed fish is used – only carefully sourced wild-caught fish are served for sashimi.
Chef Samuel believes farmed fish bred in close quarters are more prone to bruising. Plus, their flavour and smell have an unusual quality.
Explore a selection of sashimi specially made for the season:
What I had included Amberjack – a fish best enjoyed when in season as it is firm, fatty and fleshy when at its peak; Saba (Silver Skin Fish) in which the fish’s skin is scored and lightly seared (aburi) to release more flavours from under the skin.
My favourite sashimi slice was the Kinmedai, a fish best with skin left on and lightly seared, as it releases the flavour and aroma from the oils.
A delicate yet balanced combination of ama-ebi (spot shrimps), uni (sea urchin), ikura (cured salmon roe) and caviar (sturgeon roe).
The natural sweetness of the shrimps blends with the richness and creaminess of the uni, while hints of briny flavours pop out from bursting ikura and caviar.
Yakimono is grilled or pan-fried Japanese food. Enjoy a sample of classic yakimono with a tuna cheek is marinated in a sweet braising liquid and carefully grilled.
Served with accompanying fresh grilled soramame (Japanese brown beans). The sweet savoury taste of the fish complements the bold flavours and fleshy texture of these summer beans.
Enjoy a selection of six nigiri sushi featuring Tsuyahime Japanese rice as the base.
Tsuyahime is a compound of “tsuya” (which means shiny) and “hime” (which means princess or a lady of higher birth). And as a rice variety, it is very white, uniformly polished and naturally sweet.
This makes each nigiri balanced in flavour. You don’t need additional seasoning – a dab of fresh ground wasabi is enough.
Depending on the freshly flown ingredients, the nigiru sushi may include Hirame (flounder): a mild tasting fish perked up with a splash of sudachi lime; Shima aji (striped jack) a summer fish with a fatty yet firm texture and mild, smooth flavour; to Maaji (horse mackerel): its shoyu-marinated flesh is fully flavoured while its tough skin is scored to allow flavour to seep in.
One of the highlights is definitely the Otoro (tuna belly), the prized part of tuna as it is the fattiest part of the belly, high in marbling that makes it melt-in-your-mouth-tender.
Also available was the Kawahagi (thread-sail tilefish). This creamy delicacy is considered rare and often served marinated in its own liver for a silky texture.
To complete the sushi was Anago prepared two way – one is salted while the other is slathered with anago tsume. Special mention is that the 16-year-old dark, sweet tsume sauce was a gift to Chef Samuel by his mentor.
Your omakase is not complete without the final dish – donburi. This rice bowl is topped with negitoro (chopped fatty tuna), ikura (cured salmon roe) and fresh ground wasabi.
This is followed by Soup such as a bowl of delicate, clear, dashi-simmered miso; and Dessert which can be an in-season fruit from Japan.
The interiors cover different dining areas – from lounge to an island centrepiece to private rooms.
This is where you can catch up with friends over bar snacks, light meal and drinks at the lounge.
Moving on to mains, there are the recommended Australian Angus Sirloin Steak ($26.80), Lamb Rack ($32.80), Garlic Fried Rice with Unagi ($15.80), Chirashi Rice Bowl Teka – of marinated lean tun ($28.80), Bara ($32.80), and Maguro Zanmai ($36.80).
Light bar bites include Ren’s Crispy Mid Wings ($14.80 for 6 pcs), Kaki Fry ($13.80), Pork Ginger Roll ($15.50), Unagi Kebayaki ($20.80), Ebi Tempura ($13.80) to Tori Karaage ($14.80).
For oyster lovers, don’t miss the fine seasonal Live Oysters ($28.80 for ½ dozen) that are served fresh, or gratinated in Kilpatrick or Rockefeller – baked with cheese and cream spinach.
For a more intimate dining experience, book a private room and enjoy your personal space.
#01-01 South Beach Avenue, 30 Beach Road, Singapore 189763 (Entry by Nicol Highway. Parking @ Lobby A, B2/B3)
Tel: +65 6983 4825
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 2:30pm, 4:30pm – 10:30pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun
* This entry is brought to you in partnership with Rén Lounge.