Waku Ghin has always been one of Singapore’s most legendary and talked-about restaurants. No doubt for its culinary excellence, but also for its hefty price tag. It earned one Michelin star in 2016 and currently holds the coveted two stars. And so for a treat on Sean’s birthday last year, I took him to try one of the more unforgettable meals we’ve had together so far.
The brainchild of celebrity chef Tetsuya Wakuda, Waku means “to spring forth”, while Ghin refers to “silver”, which is apparently chef Wakuda’s favourite colour. Tucked away in a less accessible part of Marina Bay Sands, the spacious compound is meant to only accommodate 25 guests at a time, hosted in two separate rooms.
Arriving a little later that day for the 8pm seating, we were lucky enough to have a whole room to ourselves and we really appreciated the privacy, especially on a special occasion.
We selected the 10-Course Degustation Menu ($450++/pax) ordered our wine for the night, and was presented with this stunning tray of fresh produce, all of which will be served to us for the night. We got pretty excited. Just look at how fresh and colourful the catch was!
We started off with this first appetiser of Tuna with Fresh Wasabi. It wasn’t quite the usual red tuna we were used to. This was a white tuna, delicately flavoured with fresh herbs and a light sauce with a hint of yuzu.
The tuna was melt-in-your-mouth delicious and it was a refreshing start. Speaking of refreshing, we thoroughly enjoyed the selection of Pierro Chardonnay that the sommelier recommended we try. It was perfect for the seafood-heavy meal.
After enjoying our first glass, the dish we’d been waiting for was served. This was such a decadent treat for both the eyes and the palate — Marinated Botan Shrimp with Sea Urchin and Oscietra Caviar.
Such a generous helping of caviar! That gorgeous salty, umami flavours bursting in our mouths, blending perfectly with that sweet, juicy botan shrimp and buttery uni. This dish was every bit as divine as it looked. And then some. The birthday boy was definitely on Cloud 9. Can you tell?
Next up, our first cooked dish of the night — Pan-Seared Amadai with Maitake.
This fish dish looked simple enough, and the flavours were delicate and clean. But it was really the texture of the Amadai that really stood out. The outside of the skin was fried to crispy perfection and there’s something about that crunch accentuating that tender, flaky meat in a clean broth that really made the difference. Nothing exceptional, but all the elements were wonderfully balanced here.
Then, right in front of us, the chef skilfully prepared and cooked this Grilled Carabinero Shrimp with Lemon Scented Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
A lot of the fun was watching all of it being prepared right in front of you. The shrimp was bursting with gorgeous bright red roe and my mouth was watering as it cooked over the grill, before he sautéed it in a copper pan to juicy, succulent perfection.
Just as we were polishing off the premium shrimp, chef was getting busy preparing the next part of our giant seafood feast. Look at those giant scallops! They were just begging to be eaten. Haha.
Chef worked his careful magic, labouring over the copper pots, and tadaa! Here’s the Pan-Seared Hokkaido Scallop with Fregola and Tomato.
Absolutely loved the colours in this one. And also that gorgeous texture of the fregola pasta that was chewy, had great bite and went wonderfully with that tomato-infused broth. The scallop was done well, golden brown on the outside, but still slightly rare in the middle which I love. It truly showcased the best of those beautiful pieces of shellfish.
Just when we thought we’d died and gone to seafood heaven, our next dish came up. Primed and prepped for the cooking.
So much careful timing, managing of heat, preparation of broth and use of only the freshest ingredients to create this amazing dish. I’d never had lobster prepared this way before, and boy did I love watching all the magic happen. Seeing how much hard work went into creating something so divine was a real treat.
And this, my friends, was the Braised Canadian Lobster with Tarragon.
Sweet, generous portion of lobster claw de-shelled and swimming in a rich, buttery, herb-infused broth. I could not be more pleased.
And then, it was Sean’s turn to get excited.
Chef presented a 3-year-old wasabi root and began grating it for us to have as condiments along with garlic chips and some spring onion. We knew what was coming up — it was time for some MEAT.
Once again, gorgeous marbling and top quality ingredients really make all the difference.
But of course expert preparation really helped bring everything together. Here we have the Japanese Ohmi Wagyu from Shiga Prefecture with Wasabi and Citrus Soy.
It was seared only for a very short time on each side so as not to overcook the meat. We preferred ours medium rare and this was how it was served. A little too rare for my liking but we were open to try it the way it was intended. As expected, glorious texture, and you really can’t go wrong with a great cut of beef.
After a somewhat heavy last couple of dishes, we were really looking forward to this lighter dish of Steamed Rice with Snapper Consommé.
The other option which I went with, was a similar palate-cleansing Somen with Myoga and Junsai.
I really loved the texture of the noodle. Firm, chewy and not at all soggy despite being soaked in broth. Both dishes were a wonderful way to end that spectacular meal.
Just when we were expecting dessert, we were presented with yet another treat. To me, this was one of the highlights of the night — Gyokuro tea.
Known as the finest green tea in the world, Gyokuro has a uniquely savoury flavour. Almost like nori or Japanese seaweed. It’s hard to describe but it was absolutely unforgettable. I still dream about this tea till today. There’s just something about the one sourced by Waku Ghin that far supercedes any other premium leaves I’ve tried since then.
The caffeine content in just a small cup was very intense, and we got a nice buzz to lift us out of our food coma after that huge meal. A very welcome jolt indeed. And just in time for desserts!
We were ushered into a separate room with a view of the bay for desserts. Over the glittering city lights and shimmering water, we tucked into a delectable array of sweetness.
After a little surprise from the super thoughtful staff there, we were served this Fresh Strawberry with Lychee Granita and Coconut Sorbet.
The granita had a wonderful texture, not too icy and went well with the flavourful yet not cloyingly rich coconut sorbet.
We also enjoyed a Chocolate Mousse with Vanilla and Macadamia.
Nothing too special there, but chocolate is chocolate and we couldn’t complain. By this time we were so incredibly satisfied and full we could barely finish the Petit Fours.
But hey it’s us. And so we did. A mixture of macarons, cookies, meringues and tartlets.
Overall, this was definitely a meal to remember. Does it justify the price tag?
Yes, if you take into account the quality of the sourced ingredients and meticulous preparation of each dish. Also, we loved that we got such personal attention from all the staff, and our own private room to spend quality time together in. All of this for me made the whole experience worth it. And seeing the smile on my best bud’s face at the end of it all? Priceless.
If you’re expecting groundbreaking culinary creations and mind-blowing new dishes, Waku Ghin isn’t worth your while. But I guarantee you it won’t be a night to forget.
Address: The Shoppes Atrium 2, Marina Bay Sands #02-02
(via escalator opposite Artbox Level 2), 10 Bayfront Avenue Singapore.
Tel: +65 6688 8507