Japanese Dining Omakase Style
Saturday's dinner was ah-mazing. Nothing short of excellent food, hilarious conversations, and great company. My boss took me to this tiny restaurant out in Carpenter Street, Singapore, called Shinzo. They serve sushi, sashimi and Omakase style dinner. I never thought Omakase was a way of Japanese dining, I just knew about it because there's a restaurant called Omakase back in Manila. Little did I know that that place is nowhere near "omakase". Apparently, omakase is a form of Japanese dining wherein they serve you each course without you knowing what comes next. Basically, like a surprise. In Shinzo, there were at least ten courses. I would think this is much like a Chinese lauriat.
I was told that ingredients are flown in from Japan every morning, especially the fish they serve. The place only seats about twenty at a time. They chefs are so attentive to each diner, they watch you like a hawk. Just when I put my chopsticks down, the servers swoops in to take my plate and the chef places a new one before me. They tell you what you are served and how you are supposed to eat it (eat the sushi with truffle upside down--- rice part facing up) to get maximum flavor. Everything was so fresh and tastes so clean. I was served tofu as first course and I don't like tofu. But this "fish-flavored" one was gone in a flash. The sashimi plate came next: divine. This was the first time I tasted tuna toro (o-toro), the fattest belly part of the tuna. It was so silky and creamy, if I wasn't told, I wouldn't be able to tell it was fish. I was instructed to just use a drop of soy sauce so that it will not overpower the delicate sweetness of the fish. Then came the whelk, it's basically a sea snail. It was interesting some parts tasted like octopus other parts tasted like foie gras.
That was the appetizer part. Then I had the turnip soup. I never thought that turnips can be cooked. I usually eat them raw with a little salt. What a revelation :) It came with salmon roe, it's like popping bobas, pops in your mouth and delivers a slightly salty taste to enhance the flavor of the soup. Next came the river trout (I think that's what it is called) cooked in clarified butter. The contrast was sublime: delicate yet rich seasoned just right. By this time I was getting full, and I was bombarded with sushi after sushi I couldn't keep track :). I even forgot to take photos of the remaining courses. What I found really unique is the yuzu log served with some of sushi. It's like dried yuzu rolled into a log and covered with crushed pomegranate. It's tart with a little bit of sweetness and amazing yuzu aroma. It takes away any after taste with all that sushi and makes you go another several sets :). After a few dishes, I forgot to keep track and take photos of what was being served. I was told by the chef to eat slowly and enjoy each bite as he noticed I was gobbling everything up :). Lastly, they served the desert: Yuzu sorbet. What a treat. It was light and slightly sweet with a little tang and very fragrant. It's a smell I wish Jo Malone would create. :) It was so good, we asked the chef if we can order a bucket from them. He turned us down but gave us an extra serving of sorbet. :) . The service of this place is excellent. The servers are attentive, the dishes are explained and presented well, the chefs are genuinely nice.
I can't tell how many dishes are actually in the omakase as at around the 10th serving I already refused to eat anything, I was just too full. But not too full for that extra treat of yuzu sorbet. :) As the night wore on, we requested the server to put one several songs for us. They gamely put up with our songlist from Mariah, Michael Jackson, Charlie Puth, etc. with the chefs occasionally dancing to the beat. Dinner was five hours long and it was wonderful.