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I have been meaning to come to Hakumai for their omakase. But it was a little difficult on my end to get a friend who was willing to splurge on omakase as Hakumai needs all parties (sitting) at the counter seats to be having omakase. Even if 2 friends was doing omakase with 1 friend ordering the kaiseki set which ranges from $69 to $198 from the set menu. Hmm…
And on the day of our dinner, while looking for the unit #01-50A to the restaurant, I was a little surprised shocked to see a small door when I came from Tanjong Pagar MRT station. Thankfully, that was not the main entrance. Pasted on the door was a small sign asking patrons to continue walking straight before making a right turn. Ha.
Upon seated, head chef Gary Ng asked us for our preferences. To which, my friend said “sashimi and sushi” which meant he was going for ‘Hakumai sushi omakase’ while I chose to have sashimi, sushi and some dishes from the kitchen. Meaning I went for ‘Hakumai omakase course’.
And so, from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12), we ordered:-
1) Hakumai omakase course, $168 comprising of:-
(A) Appetizer – Comprising of baby sea eel, corn and shirauo. My friend’s appetizer had oyster instead of baby sea eel. And that’s because I told chef Gary I don’t take beef and oyster.
(B) Assorted sashimi – And on my plate was a small bowl of flying fish marinated with truffle with a huge variety including swordfish (slightly torched), scallop (slightly torched and not shown in picture as it’s hidden beneath), mentis shrimp (cooked), surf clam, salmon (slightly torched), hairy fish roe, yellow tail, Spanish mackerel (slightly torched) and sweet shrimp. And I have to say, chef Gary was very generous with the variety and serving. The slices were pretty thick!
(C) Dish #1 from kitchen – Baby abalone which was pan-fried with butter
(D) Dish #2 from kitchen – Meat ball of Spanish mackerel, mixed with truffle. I did not like this though. While the exterior was fried nicely such that it was slightly crispy, the meat within was a little dry.
Due to the (silly) 3000 characters limit, continue to read my review on other dishes here: PART2
So the differences between my $168 omakase course and my friend’s $168 sushi omakase were my 3 dishes from the kitchen and 2 additional pieces of sushi which he had. In fact, when we were onto our sushi, we asked chef Gary how he determine the end to the sushi. And we were told there’s no limit. “You can keep eating till you’re full. But more sushi means more costly,” chef Gary joked.
So yes, Hakumai provided a very value-for-money meal. If omakase is not for one, there’s the set menu too. Although one would need to sit at the table seats if ordering from the menu. Will I recommend Hakumai? Definitely for its value. But not if one is looking for a very authentic experience in terms of ambience and sushi. Since not everyone may agree bigger is better.
PS : I am a blogger too! Lifestyle blog, Food Blog
Japanese cuisine is my favourite cuisine of all. This time round my foodie partner, Eric and I explored Hakumai Sushi & Omakase. The restaurant located in a corner of International Plaza. The location is conveniently accessible with walking distance from Tanjong Pagar MRT station. Hakumai serve a selection of choices in a lunch bento sets which is great value in business district.
We decided to try Pitan Tofu S$7.00 which is well-received in reviews. Indeed a good tofu with very smooth pitan above. Awesome combination with the presentation and taste!
Chirashi Sushi Gozen set S$39.80 serves with a bowl of prawn broth and truffled flavoured chawanmushi. Sweet delicious broth serving that left a deep impression over it. Fusion of truffle sauce with chawanmushi is indeed tasty. As for the set, we are quite pleased with it. Fresh thick sashimi slices with flavorful japanese rice complete the meal.
Another set that we tried is the Sanshoku Mini Don Gozen set S$36.80 which comes with three small rice bowls. Pork belly, unagi and mashed salmon with truffle oil. Every bits of the bowl gives us a chance to taste. My favourite was the salmon bowl with nicely mashed bits with natto and truffles infused.
Hakumai does served interesting dishes with reasonable pricing. If you are working in the CBD area, you could try out their set lunch offers which is relatively cheaper than the regular menu though. However, do not expect much from the services. One of the service staff seems to rush people to leave by clearing the dishes on our table and some actions that indirectly telling us that they are closed for lunch operating hours.
For more review: http://hazeldiary.com