Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Not surprising that Chef Gary Ng finally left Hinoki to set up his own restaurant offering the uniquely Singaporean twist to Japanese sushi and sashimi. (Where traditional sushi masters might flip at the idea of a giant piece of foie gras topping an ebi sushi, weird truffle oil laced pieces of sashimi and ponzu sauce...)
Well, it's not a secret that I don't fancy the other chef at the old place. I rather resented that one's presumptuous attitude that I'd want to be introduced to other diners at the counter and have my perceived social status summarized by him. Friggin distasteful. If it wasn't for Chef Gary then, the good vibes from the meal would have been all destroyed.
Anyway, hurrah, Hakumai Sushi • Omakase.
Newly opened for a week now, the operations seem to run smoothly as the chefs and staff aren't newbies to the industry. Not a huge restaurant, the 10-seater sushi counter works fine. Nothing fancy, nothing posh. All casual yet proper. They serve a selection of cooked items in a lunch bento, typical of a restaurant located smack in the business district. But its omakase sets remain at great value. The seafood was so fresh for the two times I've eaten there so far. If you're looking for more than just nigiri sushi, and don't mind non-traditional versions that's kinda ahemmmm...bastardized by this generation of Singapore sushi chefs trying to please diners, then Hakumai will offer that and many other options.
You might remember a face from old old Kome. Do you recall Chef Raymond's brief stint? He's going to be helping out at Hakumai for three months. At least that's what he said. :) Someone else is coming in after that to assist Chef Gary. Dude's good, but he can't be working his ass off all day. For fans of Hinoki, the familiar flavors are comfortingly available. However, the sushi rice was niggling. Two visits later, and I'm sure it's oddly a tad off in the balance of vinegar. Hmmmm. That must be rectified fast. I blinked at the plate of stewed frog legs. Well. My companions lapped it up and declared it tasting better than chicken. The asari soup was great. My favorite negitoro and salmon skin handrolls were as good as I know they would be.
You know I've always preferred Chef Gary's quieter style. Less schmoozy, less annoying, and frankly, more sincere. So for the now, Chef Gary's keeping to his usual banter, cheer and discreetness. He doesn't drink like a fish, and isn't going to totter over the counter drunk. That's awesome. May he keep it up.
10 Anson Road, #01-50A
International Plaza S079903
T: +65 6224 4790 (Closed on Sundays)