Updated on 09 June 2016: Ginzawa is no longer in operation.
When was the last time you had a really impressive Japanese meal that left you breathless?
We are in love with Japanese cuisine and it is no secret. Sashimi, sushi, yakiniku, soba, unagyu, ramen… you name it, we love it. Like how Pooh is always searching for honey, we are on an eternal quest to suss out the best places for Japanese cuisine, and adding a next to our list is Ginzawa (formerly known as Sushi Kuu) – a hidden gem in the heart of the city – at Palais Renaissance, one so elegant that you definitely need to check it out.
Ginzawa has also got one of the best chirashi-don – with 11 types of premium seafood – in town! Lunch set dons start from S$35, and they include the Kurobuta Zaku Don, Tempura & Sashimi Set, and Tokusen Bara Chirashi Don.
#1 SAKURA EBI MIZUNA SALAD
A light salad featuring crunchy cherry blossom shrimps (dried and fresh), Japanese water greens and dried beancurd from Japan with a dressing of mirin, dashi and soy sauce, this Sakura Ebi Mizuna Salad (S$22) will make a colourful start to your meal.
#2 SAKE KINUYA MAKI
Salmon wrapped in delicate slivers of pickled daikon and topped with seaweed and chrysanthemum petals, dressed with an egg yolk sauce – sounds and looks complicated, but the Sake Kunya Maki (S$12) is really very simply an elegant salmon appetizer served cold.
#3 WAGYU TATAKI
Now, this Wagyu Tataki (S$30) is a must-order from the menu. The wagyu beef slices are lighted seared with a very faint smoky taste, leaving a chewy texture that is well complimented with a tart ponzu sauce.
#4 TOKUSEN HOKKAI CHIRASHI DON
The star dish is, without a doubt, the Tokusen Hokkai Chirashi Don (S$50). If we could only choose one item on the menu, this is it. It is a work of art – eleven kinds of premium sashimi beautifully plated and served atop sweet, vinegared rice.
The fish variety may differ from day to day, depending on the catches of the moment, but you can expect most of these – otoro (fatty tuna), kinmedai (alfonsino), shima aji (striped jack), hirame (flounder), tai (sea bream), uni, ikura (salmon roe), botan ebi (botan shrimp), akami (red tuna), scallop (hotate), zuwai kani (wild Alaskan snow crab).
For those who do not want to splurge so much, Ginzawa also has a basic Chirashi-don option.
#5 TAI MOTO TAKI
Chef Donny totally nailed it with Tai Moto Taki (S$22). What is essentially just grilled snapper is brushed with his signature egg yolk sauce; like a touch of magic and a sprinkle of fairy dust, the caramelized egg yolk sauce elevated the fish dish to god level and it was SO. DAMN. GOOD. It comes with a squid ring stuffed with shishamo roe on the side.
#6 KUROBUTA TSUKE SOBA
This is by far one of the best soba dishes that we’ve had in Singapore. The Kurobuta Tsuke Soba (S$20) features icy cold buckwheat noodles served with thinly-sliced black pork and yuzu-perfumed dipping sauce. Not your usual predictable soba, and sure was so utterly delicious.
#7 TEMPURA MORIAWASE
One of the most value-for-money Tempura Moriawase (S$35 for deluxe) in town, Ginzawa’s rendition is surprisingly light and does not make you feel with its greasiness – if any.
In the deluxe version, you can expect premium items like the Uni Tempura (crispy pillows of seaweed stuffed with uni then flash-fried), Amaebi Hotate Kakiage (Deep-fried sweet prawn and scallops) and Anago Ippon Age (deep-fried sea eel).
#8 KUROBUTA ZAKU DON
There will always be times that call for fuss-free, one-dish meals. Comforting and remining us of home, the Kurobuta Zaku Don (S$35) is a pork-with-rice dish that we’d like to think of as our Chinese-style braised pork over rice. Also available only during lunch, the Kurobuta Zaku Don is flavourful, very hearty and all that you’d need to lift your spirits.
#9 WAGYU SAIKORO
Need more beef? Go for the Wagyu Saikoro (S$48) to share. Grilled cubes of A5 Wagyu beef with crispy garlic flakes and stir-fried bean sprouts, we loved the creamy goodness of the premium meat and how the fragrance of the garlic complemented the beefy goodness so well.
#10 ABURI NIGIRI
Any time is a good time for aburi sushi. Flame-seared sushi (5 pcs) that changes regularly based on Chef’s preference, this is one platter to look forward to when dining at Ginzawa. Fresh fish slices set atop a pillow of plump Japanese rice and torched to order, the Aburi Nigiri is every bit indulgent and delicious.
This post is brought to you by Ginzawa.