Singapore | Shinji by Kanesaka
Shinji by Kanesakaすし道真次, originated from Ginza, where it was opened by the Michelin sushi shokunin, Shinji Kanesaka. The Singapore branch is his only venture out of Japan so far. Helmed by chef Kochiro Oshino who mastered his skills under Kanesaka’s tutelage for 20 years, the standard of sushi here is guaranteed to be the best in Asia outside Japan according to Asia's 50 best restaurants list.
There are only 14 seats in the sushi counter, and half of the seats were taken when we arrived only 10 minutes after their opening.
I always love to eat at the upscale fine dining sushi yas because of the premium quality of fish, and the perfect seasoned shari, which you cannot get at a regular sushi joint: the precise portion of rice and fish, you don't even need to apply seasonings by yourself because the chef have already prepared when he makes your sushi.
Here you can get the highest quality of sushi in Singapore because the fish is flown in from Tokyo daily.
Similar to other upscale restaurants, the lunch menu is much affordable than the dinner menu, even the Omakase is much cheaper. There are 3 sushi courses sets: Hana 花 $75 (9 pieces), Tsuki 月 $125 (12 pieces) and Yuki 雪 $180 (15pieces), each comes with appetizer, maki, soup and dessert. The lunch Omakase is $250, which comes with appetizer, assorted sashimi, assorted cooked dishes, nigiri sushi and maki sushi, soup and Japanese fruit.
Wakame and Gari
We start our meal with the appertizer, shredded ginger flowers and seaweed. There's nothing special for this as an appetizer, and i consider this was not a good starter because the seasoning is way too salty for me.
Buri 鰤 (Yellow tail)
A very clean and bold piece to start with, with moderate amount of fattiness and simply natural sweetness. The housemade soy sauce made made this more delicate. Good start.
Shin-Ika いか 魷魚 (Baby Squid)
When i started chewing i found the squid is a lot less chewier than the regular squid you got anywhere else, while you can also find it is sticky after chewing, and that's the magic of baby squid. It was noticeably sweeter but clean than the previous piece. It is really enjoyable to have such chewy squid.
Chu-toro 中トロ (Medium Fatty Tuna)
The entire piece just dissolved in my mouth. It was extremely smooth and the oil comes out of every dimension as well as the swetness. The oilness was delicate, buttery but not greasy. This was probably the best piece that night.
O-toro 大トロ(Fatty Tuna)
So called the “black diamond of the sea”, it melted in my mouth without any resistance. It is actually similar to Chu-toro, just with more fat, which tastes more oily and buttery. While i cannot tell any big differences from the previous piece, expected more fattier. But anyway i was still totally satisfied, i think the reason why i found it was not that amazing is probabley because of the huge jump from Squid to the amazing Chutoro is much larger than the gap between Chutoro and Otoro, although i shouldn't compare white fish with the red fish.
Maguro Zuke づけ鮪 (Marinated Tuna)
Simply a soy-marinated tuna, another clean and fresh piece, nothing special but still amazing.
Aji 鯵 (Horse Mackerel)
Another favorite piece of the meal. The fish itself tastes very clean, complemented with Shiso ( perilla ), garnished ginger and spring onion, which brought a lovely aroma to balance the strong smell of the fish.
Baby Tuna メジ鮪 (Meji maguro)
This was a six-month old baby tuna. After having 3 kinds of tuna, especially the fattier Chutoro and Otoro, I found this one is far more delicate in the flavor and texture from the fish itself, which totally don't need me chew if there's no rice underneath. While consider to the flavor of the seasoning, i still prefer the Chutoro.
Kuruma Ebi 車海老 (Japanese Imperial Tiger Prawn)
Sweet and pleasingly bouncy piece, with a pint of wasabi inside. Kuruma Ebi is always my favorite kind of shrimp among all, and this one wins again. The flavor of the whole piece is very simple and clear, while the amazing texture of neto and shari make everything works perfectly.
Fresh Salmon Roe イクラ
Marinated with Yuzu on top of the shari ball. It was my first time have salmon roe with Yuzu toppings and i may say it is a genius combination. The yuzu perfectly brings a touch of freshness to the whole piece. The juicy and savory-sweet is delicate and tempered perfectly by the citrus from the Yuzu, so bliss to have them popping in my mouth.
Anago 穴子 (Conger eel)
Anago is my all-time-favorite, and this piece definitely impresses me.The Anago was served warm and dressed lightly with a glaze of sweet soy and a pint of Yuzu. I haven't had such amazing Anago after my last trip to Tokyo in May, I was really glad that i can have such great Anago here in Singapore. The whole piece tastes extremely soft and melted on the tongue.
Clear soup with tuna fishball
Although it is a clear soup (actually with some seaweed), it taste amazingly good. All the natural flavor from the tuna ball spread all over the soup.
Shiro-ebi (White Baby Shrimp)
As i told the chef i don't like maki, so he changed my maki to another piece of nigiri sushi. The shrimp itself was incredibly fresh , the texture was firm and chewy, but tender at the same time, ended with a sweet flavor.
Tamago is always served as a dessert in a sushi meal, which also means our course comes to the end. The texture was silky, smooth and more likes a jelly.I was impressed by its moderate sweetness and jelly texture, but i still prefer the Tamago served in Sushi Mizutani, which was more like a sponge cake and moist texture.
Cream cheese pudding with strawberry as a perfect ending.
Suddenly all the lights were off, the chefs walk out of the kitchen with a 'sushi cake' with candles, HAHA, some one is celebrating birthday here! The chefs are so cute, with such interesting masks.
That's definitely the best sushi I’ve had in Singapore. The neta (sashimi) was incredibly fresh and the shari shari(sushi rice) was superb, comes at the perfect temperature, and the chef made them tight enough to hold it's shape from plate to mouth. Every single seasoned,vinegared but slightly sweet rice is a bliss.
Regarding to the service and ambiance, my experience here reminds me of AOKI. Although similar in décor, size and set up to Aoki, the ambiance is totally different. Aoki has a much dimmer light at the sushi counter, and you won't get much communications with the chefs as much as here in Shinji. Although the English they can speak is limited, but they still try their best to interact with the customers. And it is interesting that i found the chef who was serving us is a friend of Chef Suzuki in Ginza Iwa (Hong Kong), which i visited 2 months ago.
I will definitely come back for their best sushi in Singapore!
Shinji by Kanesaka
Raffles Hotel #02-20, 1 Beach Road, Singapore 189673
Lunch: 12pm to 3pm / Dinner 6pm to 10.30pm, Closed on Sundays
TEL: 65 6338 6131