If there is one other difference in terms of the restaurant industry after COVID-19 hit us, is that good Japanese omakase restaurants have become very difficult to book.
A few months’ or even a year’s wait-list is not unheard of, and many of them come with price tags that just go higher and higher.
The Michelin Guide Singapore has also finally included Sushi Masaaki as a “new” restaurant in the guide; and I think it should at least get a star.
A bit of background: Owner-chef Masaaki grew up by the Kamo River in Kyoto, Japan and began his appreciation for fish at an early age.
As a way of life, he developed a relationship with food and started working at 18 to learn fine Japanese cooking. He was previously at Sushi Ishi Intercontinental Quyside. Fast-forward to present and he now helms his own omakase restaurant Sushi Masaaki.
Parking available at South Beach Avenue Carpark, Basement 3, Lobby A. Take lift to ‘B1’.
The modern contemporary décor makes a striking different with pink dancing Gucci cranes – a space you get to experience during dessert time.
Interiors don some contemporary décor, as room dividers and washi sheets mimic undulating Japanese mountains and clouds.
The sushi counter is crafted from a 250-year-old Japanese Cypress (Hinoki) wood and sanded to a soft, porous state ‘til it emanates a sweet citrus aroma and naturally glows.
His take on omakase menu combines traditional cooking techniques with the finest ingredients from Japan air flown directly from Toyosu Market.
The result are sushi pieces with natural yet distinct flavours.
A note that Masaaki’s operating hours are from Tuesday to Sunday, with lunch from 12pm to 2pm and two seating times at dinner at 6pm and 8:30pm.
Choose from 4 omakase-style menus, starting with Yui ($180++) with Seasonal Starter, Appetiser, Seasonal Sashimi, Sushi, Hard Roll, Seasonal Rice Bowl, Soup, and Dessert.
The Sakae Omakase ($250++) has all the items of Yui — Seasonal Starter, Appetizer, Seasonal Sashimi, Special Dish, Sushi, Hard Roll, Seasonal Rice Bowl, Soup, Dessert – plus a Special Dish.
The Miyabi Omakase ($280++) goes further with a Seasonal Platter.
For the ultimate sushi and sashimi experience, order the Ren Omakase ($380++) featuring Seasonal Starter, Appetiser, Seasonal Sashimi, Hot Dish, Seasonal Platter, Sushi, Hand Roll, Seasonal Rice Bowl, Soup, and Dessert.
To me, a huge part of the Omakase experience other than the food, is the interaction with the Chef.
While some Japanese Chefs can appear shy or even awkward in speaking to customers, Chef Masaaki was clearly at ease in communication, willing to explain more about the sushi pieces such as origin and process, while peppering with a touch of humour.
Therefore, the entire room of diners were feeling comfortable and relaxed, rather than uptight.
His sushi rice is also mixed with three types of vinegar including the Akazu red vinegar, with texture that is firm-chewy on the outside and soft on the inside.
My favourite dish was Uni Cake with hairy crab (which he jokingly described as a very shy crab), topped with indulgently creamy uni and caviar. The uni used was not just a tiny piece, but a small block befitting of the word “cake”.
Truly an explosion of flavours and textures in the mouth.
Would put this as my person Top 5 omakase restaurants in Singapore.
26 Beach Road, South Beach, #B1-17 Singapore 189768
Tel: +65 8688 1555
Opening Hours: Lunch 12pm – 3pm Lunch (Last seating 1pm)
Dinner 2 seatings 6pm & 8:30pm (Tue – Sun), Closed Mon
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10 Best Japanese Omakase Restaurants In Singapore
Sushi Kou 鮓煌 (Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Center)
Ren Lounge (South Beach)
Rockon Tokyo (Tanjong Pagar)
Ginza Shinto (Mohammad Sultan)