The best new japanese restaurants in singapore salt magazine

The Mohamed Sultan stretch is seeing a revival of sorts with several new restaurants livening up the stretch. One of the newest (and prettiest) Japanese restaurants is Esora. Chef Shigeru Koizumi, who had a stint at Odette before launching this place, grew up in the mountainside town of Nasu in Japan. “I have always had an immense love and respect for nature. This affinity has instilled in me a sensitivity and curiosity to uncover the best of every ingredient. My passion for the best produce drives me to seek out nature’s best during the micro-seasons, and these ingredients are reflected on Esora’s menu.”

Some of the highlights include the unique Foie Gras Monaka. The chef updated the traditional monaka with a savoury twist, filling it with seasonal ingredients.

To brighten up the buttery foie gras, he added Japanese mikan and fragrant kaffir lime, plus a sprinkling of peanuts for textural contrast. Sooth your belly with the hamo broth with matsutake mushroom and sudachi lime, before tucking into grilled kinmedai fish, followed by the Omi wagyu from Shiga’s Okaki farm. The flawlessly executed beef is served with white maitake and Amanaga pepper. After multiple courses, the wagashi “box” served at the end of the meal surprises with a whimsical rendition of Japanese sweet treats.

Diners can also enjoy a pairing of premium teas from Taiwan and Japan. “Our tea-pairing programme is one that takes a different approach to traditional Japanese fine dining. As part of the pairing, different infusions, served both cold and warm, create a complementary flight to each meal that embodies a balance of precision and emotion,” says the chef.

Hailing from Osaka, Japan, Sushi Chiharu specialises in Edomae sushi, a style that pre-dates the invention of refrigeration. This means stronger flavours, as much of the seafood is cured, marinated, or cooked in order to preserve it. Hidden in the back of Tamaya Dining, Sushi Chiharu is its own entity, serving up refined, traditional Japanese cuisine prepared by chefs hailing from Insyokujin College, a culinary academy in Japan. The restaurant works closely with the college to pick the cream of the students, who work at Sushi Chiaru Osaka, before a few of those are chosen to work overseas for a limited period. If all this is a little confusing, let the quality of the food speak for itself. Sushi Chiharu’s 10-piece nigiri set ($90, $140 as part of the omakase menu) showcases this with the best seafood sourced from all around Japan, premium Haenuki rice, and each piece made just before you’re ready to eat it. Highlights include buttery, scored squid topped with squid ink salt and Japanese lime; as well as lean tuna cured in a mix of shoyu, sake, and mirin. There’s also anago (sea eel), which they first boil, and then grill atop a sasa leaf, imparting a subtle, earthy fragrance to the eel. The final sushi course is the impossibly-fluffy Kerayaki, a take on the traditional tamagoyaki, made with locally-sourced eggs and just a touch of sugar.

Contemporary Japanese food executed with precision is what you’ll find at Rizu. Set in the heart of Duxton Hill, Rizu serves up a modern take on Japanese fare, set in a cosy and convivial atmosphere perfect for a laid-back dinner or even client meetings. On the menu are crowd-pleasers such as maki rolls in fun flavours like lobster mango, crunchy spicy tuna, and eel with foie gras; assorted nigiri sushi; hearty mains like wagyu steak and an extremely tender miso marinated black cod, as well as French-inspired appetisers like sake-marinated foie gras terrine. A well-curated sake list personally put together by founder and owner Hisamizu Takahashi showcases lesser-known sake varieties from all around Japan, and reflects Takahashi’s passion for authentic Japanese produce. Don’t forget to save space for dessert – a light and palate-cleansing matcha rare cheesecake that feels all too easy to have too much of.

For a fun night out with friends or even a solo meal, head to Jinjo, a relatively new sumiyaki restaurant by the Les Amis Group, at Shaw Centre’s second level. Grab a counter seat or a table near the sake bar, and tuck into a variety of seasonal ingredients cooked over the charcoal grill. Items in the menu may include Ishikawa premium white fish Nodoguro (black throat sea perch), Miyazaki style chicken neck or satsuma-Imo, the humble but delicious sweet potato harvested in Okinawa during autumn and winter. Accompany these smoky items with lighter bites like the yaki goma tofu served cold with a touch of red miso. This creamy sesame beancurd is made in-house a day earlier and allowed to rest to achieve a silky smooth texture. Pair these with chilled sake or Japanese craft beer. If you’re dining with your mates, complete your meal with a comforting hot pot filled with short-grain rice from Nagano, partnered with a range of ingredients such as unagi, Hokkaido King Crab or US 400-day grain fed Angus sirloin and truffle. Round off with Jinjo’s daily made warabimochi sprinkled with kinako powder – we love the ultra light and fine texture of the rice cakes.