Daily: 17:30 - 23:00
Last order at 10:30pm
Hide Yamamoto's latest dining venture at Marina Bay Sands his a take on the chef's signature Japanese cuisine a twist of California. Dishes from this restaurant include a wide range of sushi and even flame broiled burgers.
HY California, located near the giant Louis Vuitton store at MBS, has a great view. Looking out at the Singapore skyline, it’s hard not to be impressed. But that’s not to say that other restaurants in the area don’t have equally stunning views, and in this respect HY California (yes, HY stands for Hide Yamamoto) does better than the others by offering above decent food. as the name suggests, the menu is definitely not traditional Japanese, with items like California rolls made with cooked beef and other travesties. But most things are done well, with the fried chicken deserving special mention for a perfectly fried batter. In fact, I actually prefer this place to the actual Hide Yamamoto restaurant at MBS, just because of the friendlier prices and more relaxed vibe.
Dropped by HY California @ Marina Bay Sands for lunch one weekday afternoon. This visit was prompted in part due to my previous visit to Hide Yamamoto and my curiosity was piqued when I learnt of the existence of a cheaper alternative - HY California. HY California offers indoor seating with a couple of counter seats and tables as well as al fresco dining along the pathway. Full length panels offer patrons who decide to sit indoors, a view of the pathway outside and plenty of natural light if you happen to dine during the day - a win win situation. Chicken Bento Set - There are various bento sets available for lunch but the sirloin beef bento set that I was aiming for had only 1 portion left so I went gave it up to my colleague and went for the chicken option instead. The presentation was aesthetically pleasing with small plates of sushi, sashimi, chicken, salad and tempura neatly placed within compartments in a wooden tray. Taste wise, everything came across as average and wouldn't seem out of place at "lower end" eateries like Sakae Sushi or Ichiban Sushi. Lunch for the 4 of us cost about $96, which isn't really expensive but the general consensus is that food quality hovers around the average mark at best. I can understand that HY California is a casual eatery but the service level, food quality and pricing somehow fails to convince me why I should choose it over the likes of Sushi Tei or Ichiban Sushi/Boshi. See all my pictures here.
HY California is difficult to miss as one strolls along the bayfront promenade. There is a poster showing its celebrity chef owner Hide Yamamoto and his impressive resume and it piqued my interest. I was particularly drawn to the chef’s daily special of a bento box with six kinds of appetizer for $20 on the day I checked it out. The bento box, which included appetizers such as sashimi tartare with baguette, yellow tail carpaccio and oyster tempura, was quite delightful and value for money. However, two other dishes that I tried were quite average. Ingredients in the ‘Singapore’ sushi roll, which was supposed to comprise tuna, salmon, avocado, tobiko, mango, rice paper, spicy miso aauce, did not blend well. The pancetta wrapped chicken thigh dish was over-priced with two chicken skewers for $12. The dessert – Japanese melted pudding – which was egg custard with bitter caramel sauce was quite nice with a smooth texture without being overly sweet. Overall, there is nothing outstanding about the eatery to merit a repeat visit.
One of my favorite hangout places in Singapore, the grand Marina Bay Sands. It might seem a little pretentious to many Singaporeans, of which I’d understand, but well, it gives a good vibe – an away-for-a-holiday feeling. This literally lengthy shopping mall houses countless restaurants, from the far from affordable celebrity restaurants to the well-robbing-a-bank-still-works restaurants – one would be spoiled for choices here. This day that I was here, I gave HY California a try.
I love the location of the restaurant, situated just by the bay, at the promenade. The best time of the day to be in the restaurant would be either early in the morning or in the evening. I would imagine the setting to be perfect, especially with the stunning skyline of the Central Business District of Singapore in sight. However, the satisfaction ends just about there.
The Bento sets are pretty complete, I thought. Small dishes of appetizers, fruits, and soup. I love the Saba – soft and defined meat with a coat of slightly crispy skin. Even though it might not be the biggest piece, it was worth the slow savoring. The Ginger Pork slices started off outstanding, but as it started to turn cold, which did not take long, it became tough, dry and flavorless, to my surprise. After the experience, I thought there might be a chance of redemption – that maybe it just happens that there are some hits and some misses.
But what eventually makes me decide not to patronize HY California is their service. So I’m not usually the kind who complains to the restaurant. And this time was no exception. But it so happened that things happened, and the service staff noticed there were ants crawling around. And yes – it was in the corners of the Bento Boxes served. My box alone had 4 of them, and my dining partner was a victim of it too. And I’m quit sure it’s not an isolated case. What throws me off is, even after acknowledging the problem, there were no signs of guilt, apology or meaning to compensate. Of course, I couldn’t be bothered, paid, and left, disgusted. It really wouldn’t have been so bad if the service staff didn’t know and it ended that way.