Singapore – Located near The Scarlet Singapore along the row of quaint shophouses is a brand new 14-seater Omakase Restaurant, Wa-i Sushi. It is not very conspicuous but it is these sort of places that turn out to be hidden gems. The place is decked in wooden furnishings and offers the freshest and finest seasonal ingredients air-flown from Tokyo’s Toyosu Fish Market three times a week.
Here, the house is led by executive chef Simon and Steven, Chief Simon was our guide for the night, a veteran with over 30 years of experience, took us on a little trip to Japan over dinner. Starting with Unagi (freshwater eel) and Tofu accompanied by Octopus with Seaweed. The cold bonito base marinated with the seaweed was atypical with a spicy kick of chilly padi! we loved the little kick of heat that went very well with the bouncy octopus. The Unagi was standard textbook execution with silken soft tofu to mellow out the saltness.
Sashimi –Kanpachi (amberjack), Otoro (fatty tuna), Hotate (scallop) with Uni (sea urchin) and Hobo (red gurnard) with caviar and gold flakes. Yes, gold flakes! it was pretty and decadent and made merry with the artistically plated Sashimi. Each piece of Sashimi was sliced expertly and the good temperate control was perfect. Ever had a piece of Sashimi that was too cold? the flavour would be muted. The fatty tuna had us smiling from cheek to cheek and the flame-kissed Hotate deserved a mention for its light smoky flavour.
The Crab Claw, Radish, Shiitake Mushroom, Carrot and Burdock Root Soup was an upmarket take on the simple oden soup. It was simple, light yet very warming like a hug from the inside. The vegetables retained its natural sweetness while blending into the overall soup dish.
Grilled Akoudai (or Akou, red gurnard in English) looked a bit dry when it was served to our table and we were thinking why was there a lemon for a braised fish? Our first bite reviewed deep umami from the miso, the lemon highlighted the freshness of the fish and the tender texture of the flesh broke apart easily with our chopsticks. We were also happy with the two large generous pieces and fish and felt that a bowl of rice would be perfect with the dish.
Flame Torched A5 Wagyu Beef, A5 needs no introduction as one of the most premium grades of beef(roughly 58SGD for 200grams) and I was spoilt by Chef Simon with the 5 pieces of lightly touched wagyu slices. The delicate knife skills of the chef also shines, just look at that carrot!
Shima-Aji (striped jack) with Mayo and Tobiko (flying fish roe) Nigiri provided a gentle introduction to raw fish with the tender and neutral-tasting Aji mixing with the little pops of Tobiko and finally having the creaminess of the Mayo envelope the mouth. A good starter into the Sushi course.
Minced Otoro (fatty tuna) Gunkan (warship) Sushi was a little on the cold side but the flavours of the fatty tuna come alive as it warms up in your mouth. We loved the crunchy seaweed and asked for a few more slices.
Normally the Sushi Chef would apply just the right amount of wasabi to your Sushi, in the case of our Kinmedai (known as Splendid Alfonsino or Golden Eye Snapper) with Wasabi Tobiko (flying fish roe) and Truffle Nigiri, the Wasabi came in the form of the Tobiko. Interesting the Truffle melted into the fish and we could no longer see it but the smell and the subtle taste of the truffle permeated with each bite.
Having the Otoro (fatty tuna) Nigiri was a process of turning a delicate piece of fish from solid into a liquid. The light and flavorful seafood perfumed oil permeated more with each chew, the oiliness coating our mouth and mellowed into the sushi rice with a slight crunch from the seafood. You are missing out in life if you have not tried good Otoro.
Uni (sea urchin) Hand roll, our very generous chef once again wrap a few significant pieces of Uni into a traditional hand row style that is not often seen in Singapore. Yes, the taste of the sea coated our mouths once again. The Uni is slightly slimy and not everyone’s favour but I personally cannot get enough of it.
We ended dinner with a nice surprise from the Black Sesame Ice Cream accompanied with Wafer and topped with Mint Leaf. The Black sesame was deep in flavour while being light of the sweetness level. This complemented the crispy wafer really well.
Price – The Omakase is priced at $200+ per person
The food, while not excessively experimental, is familiar Japanese, executed at a high level of expertise and in generous portions big enough to justify the premium you’re paying. The freshness of the seafood is on point and you won’t go wrong dining at Wa-i Sushi with an “almost guaranteed oral climax” during the meal(I admit to having a few). Reservations are recommended as they are usually fully booked.
Tuesdays to Saturdays:
Lunch: 12pm to 2.30pm
Dinner: 6pm to 10pm
(Restaurant is closed on Sundays and Mondays)
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.