Landing from Tokyo’s Ginza, Sushi Ichi is the first restaurant in Singapore to offer a blend of two distinctive Japanese culinary attitudes featuring top-tier Kyoto Kaiseiki Ryori first, followed by premium Sushi in their degustation menu.
Cuisine: Japanese sushi, kaiseki & omakase
Visit: November 2013
Price: Very expensive (omakase 450 SGD/person, cheaper and simpler menus also available, lunch is a much better deal starting at 60SGD)
Chefs: The sushi chefs Keisuke Ohno, Seiji Sudo & Yukinori Kawakami together with an acclaimed Kyoto Kaiseiki Ryori craft master Chef Hiroki Sudou, put their strengths and combined multiple decades of experience on the table at Ichi to the service of their privileged guests.
Atmosphere: Simple decoration and humility are the essence of Japanese hospitality and the chefs and servers all dressed in traditional kimonos, bowing and smiling live up to their cultural pride. The tapestries, seasonal floral arrangements and tableware using old japanese techniques fly the diners up North to the island of Honshu, where both Tokyo and Kyoto are located. From ceramics (elevating aesthetic pleasure) to cyprus custom-made chopsticks (that are easier to use), the details are thoughtfully incorporated to aid comfort and joy from the dining experience.
Food: Based on seasonal ingredients freshly imported from the famous Tsujiki market in Tokyo, the menus are modified almost daily. Yet, coming across the house specialties – the wild Bluefin tuna and sea urchin – is not a rare treat since the chefs’ connections at the market assure the attendance on the first auction daily and the produce is then exported to Singapore four times a week.
A kaiseki style amouse-bouche is the eye-pleasing treat from the master Chef Hiroki Sudou. Raw fish and seafood, tofu, vegetables and herbs in a fresh, tempura or pickled form can all appear next to each other beautifully arranged on a plate. The small bites whet your appetite and are best enjoyed with a sip of saké.
Then comes the sushi and sashimi, both of a superb quality. The rice is very important in the case of sushi and at Ichi the chefs master it wonderfully. The quality of the fish is top grade and ranks amongst the best in Singapore.
The sashimi is served on a bed of radish shavings with seaweed, accompanied by a generous portion of pickled ginger. House-made ginger tastes just so much more fresh and less acidic as it does not need to be preserved for a long time in a jar like its kin staring at you from the supermarket shelves. At Ichi, they replenish your ginger each time you eat it, which for ginger addicts like me, is a godsend feast.
Some fish is purely cut, other slightly seared by fire at the back in the kitchen and some sea creatures need to be wrapped in a sheet of seaweed.
The magic uni is such a case. As one of the Ichi’s specialities, the uni does not disappoint. Its texture is exquisite! Melting like an orgasmic pleasure that sends pangs of pleasure across the body, the unique flavour of uni (hence the name??) lasts long after you ate it.
The chef then serves a savoury eel accompanied with a sweet sauce mellowing its quite intense and for some acquired taste. Although a high quality fresh eel does not smell as repulsive as it sometimes can with an average eel and at Ichi it tastes just right.
Rolls arrive by the end. Usually filled with pickled japanese vegetable or tuna-based handmade rice rolls, are cut into yummy morsels of delight before the deserts arrive.
Concluded in a genuine Kaiseki spirit, a sweet plate of japanese sweets covered with fresh berries and freshened up with green mint leafs, makes the desert. The japanese sweets are often less sweet than our palate is used to, but that is the exact charm of them. A fruit sorbet and creamy ice-cream served in a glass please the more Western palates, so balance of satisfaction is achieved, as it should be in a genuine kaiseki meal.
Drinks: Sake list is very good, but the wine list is extraordinary for a sushi restaurant. Not many japanese restaurants pride themselves on a wide selection of wines, but at Ichi they do not forget the wine lovers. The wine, as in most places in highly-taxed Singapore, is not cheap so it may add considerably to your bill. Beer and tea would be the cheapest options to accompany your meal here.
Opening hours: Lunch: Tue: 12.30pm – 3pm; Wed-Sun: 12noon – 3pm
Dinner: 6.00pm – 10.30pm ; Closed on Mondays.
Address: Scotts Square building, 6 Scotts Road, #02-02, Singapore 228209
Contact: +(65) 6299 0014