Leonardo da Vinci once said that “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”. This perfectly sums up the culinary gems at Syun, the latest contemporary Japanese restaurant helmed by celebrity chef Hal Yamashita.
Chef Yamashita hails from Kobe, Japan, and Syun is his first venture outside of Japan (after nine restaurants in Japan). Here, you’ll be lavished with some of the finest and freshest air-flown ingredients such as top-grade Hida Wagyu beef from Gifu Prefecture (Japan), and premium uni (sea urchin) from Hokkaido (Japan).
Combine that with Chef Yamashita’s cooking philosophy of simplicity and his creative pairing of flavours, and you get a nouvelle menu that’s distinctively Syun.
An elegant, contemporary “zen-ness” welcomes you as you push open the dark wooden door. Clad in classy natural wood, the 50-seater restaurant felt very cosy and inviting, from its casual dining space, to its sushi bar and two private dining rooms for seven to eight diners each.
The service staff were very attentive. I never once had to ask for a refill of my green tea because they would have taken the initiative to fill it up when it was half empty. Another noteworthy point is how knowledgeable they were of the menu, cooking methods and ingredients. When asked about how a certain dish was prepared, they happily shared the process and the rationale behind it.
Because Syun is a celebrity chef restaurant, and me a Japanese food aficionado, I had very high expectations of the food. I am happy to say that I was pretty impressed. Here are some of the must-trys at Syun:
Sea Urchin Rolled by Wagyu Beef
One of the chef’s signature dishes and my absolute favourite. The melt-in-your-mouth Wagyu beef first teases your taste buds with its mild beefy sweetness before the sea urchin steals the show with its ultra creamy texture and mild, briny flavour.
Grilled Cod with Saikyo Miso, Yuzu Miso Sauce and Dried Millet Powder
Taking almost a week to prepare, this silky smooth cod is perfumed by the salty-sweetness of miso and dried mullet powder, thanks to the prolonged marinating process. The slight richness of the dish is balanced out by the pickled ginger flower, and a bay berry that completely refreshes your palate.
Singapore-exclusive shabu-shabu and sukiyaki
Chef Yamashita has ingeniously incorporated local flavours into a few of his creations. The Wagyu Beef Shabu-Shabu with Spicy Ponzu and Yuzu Sesame Sauce is served with a homemade ponzu sauce spiked with chilli padi. A pretty fiery surprise, I must say.
The Wagyu Beef Sukiyaki with Sea Urchin swaps out the regular raw egg dip for a generous serving of sea urchin. The ingenius combination of Wagyu and sea urchin creates the delicate balance of sweet and savoury that lingers on your tongue and in your mind.
Hal Yamashita sake
Hand crafted in Kobe, this sake is exclusively produced for the chef’s restaurants. It is brewed using Japanese rice, and mineral water from the Rokko Mountains. This smooth and mild artisanal sake evokes sweet, fruity whispers of melon and citrus, making it the perfect complement for the chef’s creations.
Great food, inviting ambience, attentive service. My only gripe is that it’s not located on mainland Singapore. But is it worth it to travel into Sentosa for the food and sake? Absolutely.
Here’s more information on Syun and Chef Hal Yamashita
Syun opens Tuesday through Sunday.
Lunch is from 12pm – 3pm (last order 2.30pm), and dinner from 6pm – 11pm (last order 10.30pm).
For lunch, there is a choice of Sushi Roll Set (with udon, chawanmushi and salad, from $18++) or Jyu Box Set (Japanese Bento with miso soup, vegetables, chawanmushi and salad, from $32++).
For dinner, a 5-course set menu starts from $78. A 7-course set dinner is also available from $128.
For reservations, please call +65 6577 6688 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
All prices are correct as at 9 Feb 2015, and may be subject to change without prior notice.