With so many Japanese restaurants and eateries in Singapore, are there any establishments that serve authentic Japanese cuisine with good sake? You bet! The better ones are often hidden, such as Vino Kushiyaki, which has just opened its doors about seven months ago.
Experience doses of nature as you step into this cosy restaurant furnished with beautiful bamboo and wood. The strong earthy elements here create an inviting and warm ambience for the diners. I felt at ease, and it helps that the service rendered was pleasant.
Vino Kushiyaki is a fine dining restaurant which specializes in kushiyaki, charcoal-grilled meat or vegetables served on skewers. This 24-seat restaurant imports its meats, seafood and vegetables from Japan. The kitchen is helmed by Japanese Chef Kazuhiro Inose-san from Tokyo who has over 20 years of experience in Kushiyaki-style cooking.
Their signatures include the Sumiyaki Kurobuta, a char-grilled Japanese black pork dish; and the Sumiyaki Lamb, a grilled lamb rack. From Mondays to Wednesdays, it’s Omakase night. Omakase meals are available from $88.
We tried their omakase meal which includes appetizers, grilled chicken parts, grilled seafood, grilled vegetables, rice, miso soup, fruits and a cup of sake or green tea. It’s somewhat similar to the fine dining courses served at western restaurants, except, done in the Japanese way.
Judging from the rows of display shelves filled with sake bottles, I doubt the restaurant will be running out of sake anytime soon. They offer Saito sake, a brand imported from Kyoto prefecture in Japan by Asiaeuro wines.
These are fine sakes which are made in Kyoto, Japan. Most of Saito Sakes have a clean and crisp finish.
Good saké indeed makes the food taste more palatable. We tasted Saito’s dry sake before we decided to try their Yuzu Hikari sake. which was a great choice that evening because I was craving for something sweet and fruity. It tasted just like a sparkling Yuzu drink which doesn’t have that strong alcoholic kick – no wonder it is popular with the ladies.
For the health conscious, you might want to go for Saito Fushimizu water. It’s a brand of spring water which tasted so pure and heavenly, it really helped to cleanse our palates after each dish so that we were able to savour each dish. This spring water from Kyoto is also used in the making of Saito sake.
Read more at http://www.thestar.com.my/metro/community/2016/11/01/sake-from-kyoto-set-to-impress-malaysians-brewing-of-fullyimported-rice-wines-in-ideal-conditions-ma/#gB6cGGybxiXd6jDL.99
It’s probably a Singaporean thing to enhance our food with sauces and spices. I love it when there are extra condiments provided by the restaurant to excite your taste buds. For an extra kick, you might want to season the grilled meat and vegetables with some curry, chilli or matcha powder. For some strange reason, I find that the matcha powder goes really well with some of the meat.
For starters, we had a cold vegetable dish topped with some bonito flakes. This was followed by the grilled dishes. It is quite an experience to have a Japanese chef preparing your food right in front of you as you savour the food, hot off the grill. The chef uses charcoal imported from Japan which has a lower smoke point. Interestingly, depending on the intensity of the heat, the grill itself is divided into sections where each section is meant for cooking a certain type of meat or vegetables. Talking about being particular! That’s pretty neat.
My favourites from the omakase set are the exotic vegetables like Lily Bud, Japanese Chili as well as the grilled seafood like the Angel Shrimps and scallops. Under the skilful hands of Chef Inose-san, the food is grilled to perfection and are only slightly charred on the surface. The original flavour and sweetness of the vegetables are still preserved and the meats were tender. The seafood there is truly exceptional.
Towards the end of the meal, we had some miso soup and a bowl of rice with beef slices. For desserts, we had sweet Fuji apple chunks to ‘cool’ the body after consuming all the skewered meats and vegetables which can give rise to ‘heatiness’ in the body. The portions were just nice; we were satisfied but not in the state of a food coma.
Pork wrapped Zucchini
Hokkaido Male Shishamo
Beef Rice bowl
A decent meal that ended off with a warm bowl of rice and miso to fill the stomach.
If you’re looking for an authentic Japanese private dining experience, Vino Kushiyaki is a great option. It’s best to make reservations before heading over to the restaurant as it is fully booked on some nights.
325 Joo Chiat Road
Monday to Wednesday – Omakase
Thursday to Sunday – Omakase and ala carte menu
Opening hours: 6 pm till 12 am daily