Known for their legendary 17-course omasake dinner set meal, this Japanese restaurant has been serving up unique and innovative dishes since 2011. Helmed by Chef Teppei Yamashita himself, the restaurant regularly refreshes its menu according to the seasons, with produce and ingredients sourced straight from various Japanese prefectures.
For the month of October 2019, for instance, Teppei is collaborating with the Kyoto government to feature a range of exclusive Kyoto-inspired dishes, from A5-grade wagyu beef to sushi served on spoons and matcha ice cream. For the more intrepid foodies, there’s even a roasted Kyoto grasshopper on the menu.
What’s more, the 17-course dinner costs you just $80, which is quite a steal in the omakase world if we do say so ourselves. No wonder it’s so popular! The catch is: Reservations open at the beginning of each month, so you’ll have to be quick to snag a seat (you might score a last minute seat by checking their Facebook page).
At 1 Tras Link, #01-18 Orchid Hotel, Singapore 078867, tel: 6222 7363. Visit their website for more information.
Photo: Teppei's Facebook Page
2. Igokochi Dining Bar
Located at NEWest mall in West Coast Drive, Igokochi Dining Bar is a casual Japanese restaurant and bar that specialises in omakase meals and also provides affordable lunch options and izakaya items in the evening. The eatery is sectioned into a dining area that includes an 11-seat omakase counter and a bar area for those who want to chill over drinks and snacks after dinner.
Those watching their diet may like the Low-carb Bento ($24++), available from 11.30am to 2pm, which comes with five slices of sashimi, chawanmushi, agedashi tofu, shirataki noodles, konnyaku and a side of miso soup that is boiled from scratch.
The Matsu Omakase dinner ($98++), available from 6 to 11pm, offers value for money. You get a seasonal appetiser, three types of sashimi, a steamed or fried dish, a grilled dish, five pieces of sushi, a soup and a dessert.
The restaurant’s seafood is airflown from Japan twice or thrice a week. The sashimi of shima aji and salmon belly are fresh-tasting. For the deep-fried item, the chef serves Japanese fig tempura as the fruit is in season now. The sushi comes with generous slices of fish and smaller portions of rice so you do not feel like you overate.
Look out for the yuzu daikon (radish pickled with yuzu), which is pickled in-house. The daikon is crunchy and refreshing.
At #01-98 NEWest, 1 West Coast Drive, Singapore 128020, tel: 6963 9430. Visit their website for more information.
Photo: Hedy Khoo
3. The Public Izakaya by Hachi
For an izakaya experience with a difference, try the Omakase Oden Set ($30++) at The Public Izakaya by Hachi in Tras Street. The set, suitable for two to three to share, comprises 10 items selected by the chef. There is also an $18++ set with six items.
If you’re not a fan of boiled foods and think of oden as a Japanese version of yong tau foo, this set might just change your mind. The broth is boiled from scratch using daikon and Japanese soya sauce. It then absorbs the flavours of the different foods cooked in it.
Start with the lighter tasting items, like hanpen, a triangular white fish cake. Light, airy and sponge-like, it soaks up the taste of the broth beautifully. The chunks of daikon may appear unexciting, but their texture is tender and, again, you can taste the flavour of the broth.
The konnyaku, ordered from Ishikawa in Japan, looks like a large Hakka abacus seed. It is marinated in soya sauce, mirin, sake and sugar before cooking, and is surprisingly flavourful with a springy and chewy bite.
The Cabbage Pork is prepared in-house. The filling of minced pork, mushroom and onion is marinated with black pepper, then wrapped in hakusai (cabbage) into a roll. The filling reminds me of Chinese dumpling filling, while the cabbage lends an incredible sweetness. To best enjoy this, add a tiny bit of yellow mustard that is served as a condiment.
The oden counter has 16 seats, but oden is also served at the tables of the 200-seater restaurant. It is best to make reservations and avoid going on Fridays, when the outlet is usually packed.
At #01-09 100 AM, 100 Tras Street, Singapore 079027, tel: 6604 9622.Visit their website for more information.
Photo: Hedy Khoo
4. Shoukouwa Sushi Restaurant
Shoukouwa received two Michelin stars just four months after opening in 2016. Here, quality seafood and attention to detail is at the forefront. There are two omakase courses each boasting exceptional seasonal produce, and ingredients are flown in daily from Tsukiji Market and Hokkaido. Shoukouwa is zen-like, but is a small space with just eight seats, so each guest enjoys personal attention — a hallmark of the omakase tradition.
There is also a selection of Wine Advocate-rated sakes to complement the menus. Prices begin at $320++ and omakase is served at both lunch and dinner.
At #02-02A One Fullerton, 1 Fullerton Road, Singapore 049213, tel: 6423 9939. Visit their website for more information.
5. Sushi Mitsuya
This Tras Street restaurant is an oasis of calm in the busy CBD. The intimate hinoki-wood sushi counter is where you want to be seated, and where you can be impressed by the chefs’ deft knife skills as they work. Omakase prices begin at a very accessible ($180++, for dinner).
Head chef Ryosuke Harada presents a traditional edomae style of sushi, but doesn’t hesitate to use a few modern touches (the inclusion of tare sauce, a bit of sesame salt and a sliver of uni for flavour, for instance). Service is efficient and personable.
Most of the omakase courses include a mini don and, if you’re lucky, you might be served the uni and ikura don — a beautiful bowl of fresh, briny, ocean flavours.
At #01-01, 60 Tras Street, Singapore 078999, tel: 6438 2608.Visit their website for more information.
READ MORE: Where To Go For Delicious Japanese Rice Bowls In Singapore
6. The Gyu Bar
While most noteworthy omakase restaurants are seafood-driven, The Gyu Bar’s chefs are intent in showing you how you can enjoy the finest beef. The restaurant serves the Kumamoto Kuroge breed of A4 Black Wagyu, sourcing and buying the entire animal from its suppliers.
Thus, the omakase is an exploration of the many cuts, prepared in ways that best showcase the beef’s fine marbling, delicate texture and rich mouthfeel. At $148++ per person, the omakase course allows you to try delicacies like an uni-topped wagyu tartare, shin tama, and yakiniku-grilled cuts like the chuck roll.
The sirloin is served with Sukiyaki and Egg Dip (in which even the eggs are imported from Japan). You finish with a rich beef fried rice with delectable charred bits. We must say that for all this, and at this quality, this omakase comes at excellent value.
At #01-08, 30 Stevens Road, Singapore 257840, tel: 6732 0702.Visit their website for more information.
You’ll be taken to new heights (literally) at this fine-dining Japanese restaurant in town, which sits on the 24th floor in the Shangri-La Hotel’s Tower Wing. For $240++ per person, Chef Shigeo Akiba and his apprentices will present appetisers appropriate to the season, freshly flown-in sashimi, soup, sushi rolls, a rice bowl and nigiri.
You have the option of pairing each course with sake ($99++), chosen by the in-house sake sommelier. NAMI is also the place to go to appreciate dashi — the kombu broth forms the backbone of a special $180++ dashi menu, where a variety of dishes are prepared, accented or elevated by Chef’s home-brewed dashi.
At Shangri-La Hotel Tower Wing, 22 Orange Grove Road, Singapore 258350, tel: 6213 4398. Visit their website for more information.
8. Shinji by Kanesaka
Most people who have dined at Shinji By Kanesaka (there are two outlets, one at Carlton Hotel and the other at the St. Regis) have described the experience as sublime. Both outlets boast Michelin stars and are omakase-only dining experiences.
Tell the very capable chefs you are in their hands, and they will lead you towards the finest morsels of maki and nigiri, delicate soups, cleverly cooked dishes and the freshest seasonal desserts. From the understated and elegant decor, to the exemplary food, this is the best special-occasion omakase in town. Prices are at $300 to $500 for the chef’s special omakase courses. Steep, but worth every penny.
At Carlton Hotel, 76 Bras Basah Road and The St. Regis Hotel, 29 Tanglin Road. Visit their website for more information.
This stalwart Japanese restaurant on Scotts Road exudes old-world charm. It is housed in a heritage black-and-white bungalow and features a kappo-style dining room with an L-shaped hinoki wood counter.
It seats 11 people, and there are also two separate, private dining rooms. As a Kyoto native, Chef Hamamoto is tuned in to his home prefecture, and his omakase-menus go heavy on the produce from this region.
This means the freshest seafood, such as top-quality Ensui Bafun uni (sea urchin), and the most melt-in-your-mouth wagyu beef, are served in a carefully planned course-by-course culinary journey. Prices begin at $150 for lunch and $300 for dinner.
At 29 Scotts Road, Singapore 228224, tel: 6733 5251. Visit their website for more information.
10. Ginza Sushi Ichi
The local outpost of the much-lauded sushi-ya in the Ginza district of Tokyo has a steady following of regulars and connoisseurs, and is tucked away behind the lobby of Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel.
Sushi is the chef’s forte, and you can enjoy a nigiri-only omakase ($220) or a complete omakase experience for $300-$430. The intimate, 14-seat eatery serves only ingredients imported from Tsukiji, and guests can thus expect fresh, season-driven produce.
This, paired with the chef’s skills, make for a dining experience like none other.
At #01-04 Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel, 320 Orchard Road, Singapore 238865, tel: 6235 5514. Visit their website for more information.
11. Ryo Sushi
Holding its own in this list of fine and award-winning omakase experiences is Ryo Sushi. This restaurant has made a name for itself thanks to its omakase menus that come at outstanding value-for-money prices. They begin at $18++ for a 10-course omakase.
Yes, you read that right. They’re also limited to 18 portions daily and are available to walk-in customers only. This course includes assorted sushi, a hand roll and soup. Even the full-price omakase menus begin at just $38++ for 15 courses.
The most princely feast is an 18-course sea urchin menu at $98++, which features an uni rice bowl, a truffle onsen egg and sushi rolls of fatty tuna and uni.
At #01-06 Orchid Hotel, 1 Tras Link, Singapore 078867, tel: 6443 3463. Visit their website for more information.
12. Kyuu by Shunshui
Another value-for-money omakase meal can be found at this Keong Saik Road eatery, notable in part because pictures from diners here have been flooding our Instagram feeds. The reason for this overwhelming outpouring of enthusiasm: The overflowing Hokkaido Rice Nanatsuboshi, featuring huge mounds of Aomori ikura, which chefs keep spooning on until the diners tell them to stop.
For $129++ per person, the omakase includes a sashimi assortment, king crabs, and dishes made with Kagoshima A4 wagyu. The ikura rice comes towards the end, so you must save room for that.
At 29 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089136, tel: 6221 7098. Visit their website for more information.
13. Bam! Tapas and Sake Bar
Spanish tapas, served with sake pairings in an omakase-style meal? Admittedly, this is no typical Japanese restaurant but Bam! makes the cut in this list as its omakase menus feature Japanese ingredients.
The techniques used are a fusion of Catalonian, Japanese and modern European cuisines. Expect dishes like a cold capellini with uni, and Sakura ebi and somen in dashi broth. When it comes to sake, do pair the meal with sake (which will cost an extra $58 to $78), as chef Pepe Moncayo believes that sake brings out the umami flavours in his dishes. The pairings progress from light and clear, to rich and robust.
At 38 Tras Street, Singapore 078977, tel: 6226 0500. Visit their website for more information.
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This post was first published in September 2018, and updated in October 2019.