Shinji has always been held as one of the benchmarks for quality omakase in Singapore. No one was very surprised they earned a coveted star when the Michelin guide came to Singapore earlier this year. And I felt really thankful I got to enjoy a birthday treat two years ago from Sean, who knew how much I loved my sushi. The decor is simple but elegant, and we were ushered to our seats by the counter where we were greeted personally by the chefs.
Overall: ★★★★1/2 Exceptional sushi and a memorable dining experience.
This first dish of seaweed and tofu was a light refreshing start. But I’m not a big fan of slimy textures so it wasn’t really my cup of tea.
But this next one brought a smile to my face. A feast for the eyes as much as the palate, we enjoyed slices of monkfish liver, red snapper and torched flounder which was really appetising and left us wanting more.
And more we got. This gorgeous uni atop some ika or cuttlefish sashimi was so fresh it could hold its own with just a light dash of soy sauce and some grated wasabi. The uni was incredibly sweet with just a hint of brine to balance off the flavours. And went beautifully with the firm, chewy texture of the ika.
Soon, another refreshing starter was dished out. This was smooth, creamy yuba (beancurd skin) topped with bonito jelly and kelp. The flavours were delicate and yet left a lingering umami in the mouth. Mmm..
The next dish was raw maguro chunks served in a tangy yuzu infused sauce and topped with shredded onion. This was tasty and slightly heavier to cap off our appetisers.
And then this deep fried fish with a rich tomato paste. This wasn’t a particularly impressive combination of ingredients although I appreciate the freshness of fish and tomatoes.
And then it was time for the highlight of the meal — sushi! But first, some palate cleansers. These may look very unassuming but that sweet corn in particular tastes like ice-cream. I kid you not. It was chilled, creamy and very sweet. Extraordinary!
The sushi was prepared meticulously and with the freshest of Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo. Chef’s technique was on point and it was such a wonderful treat to see slice after slice of fresh raw fish placed atop balls of warm, vinegared rice.
There was a great variety of fish including this anago topped with sweet sauce.
Uni or sea urchin is always a no-fail option.
The beautifully-coloured Aji or horse mackerel is one of my all-time favourites because of it’s rich flavour.
Then something cooked in the form of painstakingly-prepared cooked prawns or ebi.
Not forgetting the chutoro and otoro slices of blue fin tuna.
And a couple more seasonal whitefish thrown in for good measure.
By then, we were completely stuffed and the final pieces of sushi were served. Negitoro maki and tamago. A friend had once told me that a tamago is regarded as most well-prepared when one can not identify any layers. It should look somewhat like a pudding. And if you look at this specimen right here, I’d say this is about as good as it gets.
And finally, to end off an exceptional meal, we have some sweet musk melon and sesame or goma ice-cream for dessert.
Overall, this was a tremendously enjoyable meal. Not only was the food delicious, but having personal attention to your dietary preferences and being able to see the food prepared right in front of you and catered to your tastes is a wonderful luxury. Definitely recommend trying Shinji at least once especially for special occasions.
Shinji by Kanesaka (Raffles Hotel)