Bone in pork belly
In Singapore’s crowded knit of Japanese restaurants, the arrival of yet another by way of Mikuni at the Fairmont Hotel may not raise many eyebrows. Not least because Mikuni takes up the former space of the long-standing Inagiku Japanese Restaurant after a soft renovation that is, to be honest, hardly noticeable to the naked eyes, it has also pretty much retained the original Inagiku structure safe for new plush chairs and an updated, electric blue-accented look.
Yet, the rebranding exercise has caught our attention. Not only has Mikuni added a brand new 11-seater room dedicated to robatayaki (Japanese grill bar); incoming chef, Moon Kyung Soo, is also not your typical 50-something Japanese chef with streaks of grey, but a suave-looking Korean with the charisma of a movie star. Belying his youthful disposition, Moon has 16 years of Japanese culinary experience under his belt, with his most recent stint as Head Chef of Hashi at Armani Hotel Dubai.
It is no wonder that Moon’s rendition of Japanese cuisine is refreshing as it is curiously delicious. A consommé of mushroom ($28) was served in a flame-licked coffee siphon with an upper glass chamber filled with lashings of bonito flakes, producing a vaporized clear broth that was visually impactful as it was intensely savoury. Moon’s new-style sashimi takes inspiration from Peru by way of a yellowtail tiradito ceviche ($38) dressed in an addictive concoction of olive oil, truffle oil and lemon jus. And his tempura of kari kari octopus ($35 – advance order required), which appeared seemingly simple at first, was clearly in another league – first vacuum-packed and cooked sous-vide in sparkling water, then lightly coated in batter and fried to reveal a succulently velvety texture.
While Moon’s ingenious creations are first rate, a trip to Mikuni is incomplete without the raucous robatayaki experience where you sit around an open-hearth surrounded by the season’s freshest produce. It’s fun to see the robatayaki chefs in action, serving food to diners via wooden paddles but it’s better yet to savour these grilled delicacies with a glass of chilled sake. And on this note, don’t miss the luscious robatayaki-style kinki fish ($160) and marbled tiles of melt-in-the-mouth grilled Kagoshima wagyu beef ($90). To top off the utterly refreshing dining experience at Mikuni, a lime green shiso leaf sorbet with popping candy is a must.
80 Bras Basah Road, Level 3 Fairmont Singapore
Tel: 6431 6156