Waku Ghin, recently ranked 39th on the coveted 'World's 50 Best Restaurants' list.
The name 'Waku Ghin' is derived from two Japanese words: ‘Waku’ means to 'arise' (like water pouring forth from a hot spring) and 'Ghin' means 'silver', which is Chef Tetsuya's favorite color found throughout this stunning restaurant.
That same personal imprint and attention to detail is also on exhibit in the main dining room which seats 25 guests per seating, for an exclusive view of the Singapore skyline.
Chef Tetsuya is the first person appointed Sake Ambassador outside of Japan, making his selection the best in the world.
Mon - Sun: 18:00 - 20:30
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Originally I was put off by the price to dine at Waku Ghin. I mean, I could have gone to a very nice authentic Japanese restaurant and ended spending lesser. Well, in the end, I still opt for Waku Ghin because it was something that I have not tried and I should, at least try it once in my life.
I did not make the reservation, my friend did. He told me the reservation process was not exactly pleasant. Accordingly to him, he was not allowed to make a reservation on the phone. He had to write in to them, and then they confirmed availability to him via email. Ok, that’s weird to us.
Interior – One word, posh. Although most of the food was prepared in front of us, we left the restaurant without smelling like the food we ate, I guess they spent a lot of money on the ventilation (or whatever you call that). We were seated on high chairs, and to be frank, it wasn’t really comfortable for ladies who wore stiletto heels – could not find a relaxed position to rest my heels. I have an issue with high chairs – really. There was a dining place and also a place for desserts. This was quite a smart arrangement because normally, people would loiter in the restaurant longer for the dessert so at least the seats over there was more comfortable and with a nicer view.
Food – Dining in Waku Ghin was full of surprised. There was no standard menu; you would be served based on what’s available for the day and what’s fresh. It was a 10-course meal and most of the food were prepared and cooked right in front of us. My personal favorite would be the most photographed food on Instagram – Marinated Botan Shrimp with Sea Urchin. The Oscietra Caviar, Braised Canadian Lobster with Tarragon, and the Char Grilled Beef were very nice too. Why did I know the food name so well? That was because I was given my personal menu after the dinner. I saw the chef cooked some of the dishes, and seriously, I thought the cooking was simple, but I did not understand why the dishes could turn out to be so nice? I felt that the quality and passion of the chef tells it all.
Desserts were great too, generous servings, macaroons, chocolates and more.
Service – Like typical fine dining, the staff and chef introduced the food to us after serving us. Service staff was very attentive because we were the only two diners in that “room”, I had fun guessing the ingredients in the Marinated Botan Shrimp with Sea Urchin. The Japanese chef was friendly and we had small talks – talked about our trip to Japan and where to find nice good in Japan.
The talking and casual chats, believe it or not, enhanced our dining experience greatly. Sometimes dining was not only about the food we put into our mouth, it was also about who you dined with, the ambience, the interior design, the service staff, and the chef. They, in one or another way, represent the restaurant and contributed to our wonderful dining experience.
We were lucky to be slotted for the following week when we made our reservation at Waku Ghin. Others had to wait 2 to 3 weeks.
Credit card was required to confirm the booking. After the phone call, the staff proceeded to send an email where we needed to return the confirmation form via email or fax. Not taking beef, it was also at this stage where we highlighted our dietary restriction. Do be careful of the cancellation fee though. $400 (which is also the full cost of the 10-courses degustation meal) is charged for no show or for cancellation after 6pm one day prior to booking. So I say, even if sick also must turn up!
There’re 2 seatings. One at 5.30pm, and the second at 8pm. We went for the earlier one. And it was magical as they pulled the door open for us when we were 5 steps away from the entrance. We waited at the bar for a short while before we were led to 1 of the 4 private dining rooms. Also know as the chef’s kitchen.
We knew we were in very good hands of the staff as they pulled the chairs for us, provided hooks to hang our bags, etc. And we kick started our seafood omakase with the chef showing us a tray of ingredients which was to be used for dinner. And with that, we started our dinner:-
1) Carpaccio of tuna with bitter salad – Served with ponzu dressing, this was refreshing. (Although I noticed the other couple in the same room as us were served fresh oysters)
2) Marinated botan shrimp with sea urchin and oscietra caviar – Using kita murasaki uni, this is the dish which most, if not everyone, come for. So beautiful visually. And to tuck in, we were told to use the mother of pearl spoon. Of which I was not surprised that Waku Ghin paid attention to details such as using pearl spoon, which was to avoid oxidation so as not to alter the taste of these delicate, high quality caviars! But eating this dish sure was a challenge. I was struggling not to let any of the precious balls drop out as I tried to get a bit of the 3 ingredients onto my spoon. Ha!
Due to the (silly) 3000 characters limit, continue to read my review on other dishes here: PART2
I won’t lie. $400 (before service charge and GST) per person for the omakase is a big amount to splurge for a meal. It took me 4 years of pondering before I came. Ha. Food was definitely good. But what set Waku Ghin apart from other fine dining restaurants was the experience. It was not just a dinner of great food, top notch service, with attention paid to the smallest details. Rather, we were also watching a performance where the chef carried intention in every moves he made. The way he stirred the sauce in the pot, etc. Although it’s to note that the chef was not always at the counter since some of the dishes were prepared in the kitchen.
So yes, Waku Ghin certainly delivered. It’s definitely a place worth coming if one wishes to splurge. Like seriously splurge. And since I am no high roller, I am satisfied with this one visit. =)
PS : I am a blogger too! Lifestyle blog, Food Blog