At a glance, you could tell that IKYU is not your traditionally-decorated Japanese restaurant. Chef Takuma Seki’s artistic genes and daring initiative lead him to a contemporary and post-apocalyptic design, exuding that upscale yet not overly-formalistic culture that commonly goes with it, partially attributing to the interacting and entertaining character of the Chef, cracking jokes and making you feel welcomed at his home over the counter.
Produce are directly imported 2 – 3 times a week from the renowed Tsukiji Fish Market from Tokyo, where the freshest of ingredients can be expected. Of course, a meal like this can hardly be a daily affair for most, but when occasion calls, you can safely rely on IKYU to deliver. The presence of Japanese patrons at the restaurant is already a hint of that.
Pictured is a private dining room available for booking. A minimum spending of $600 and $900 is needed for lunch and dinner respectively. IKYU houses not only the best of Japanese cuisines, they also take pride in their sake. From now until 14 June 2015, you can land yourself a 5-Course Niigata Food & Sake Pairing ($98++/pax). More information on the menu could be found on that link. Having insufficient skills to appreciate alcohol, I opted for the ala-carte dishes instead.
Century Egg Potato Salad ($8.50++) :: This scoop of century egg potato
ice cream salad was a start to the dinner. The flavour of century egg was not overpowering; the whole dish not cloying. But there just isn’t any wow-factor to it – that is, pretty ordinary.
Hokkaido Scallop Carpaccio ($33++) :: If you are looking for an appetiser that does its job, look no further than this elegantly and colourfully-plated scallop carpaccio. Unlike its complex outlook, it tastes simple yet so, so good; the generous slices of truffle, soy sauce and the scallop were an ideal three-way relationship (while three-ways are not what I commonly advocate, this was an exception). The first highlight of the evening.
Ton-Toro Charcoal Grilled Japanese Pork Jewel ($33++) :: The second highlight came shortly after – this jewel here indeed. The part-fatty part-meaty slices of pork were grilled to perfection with crunchy crisp skin to go with the tender, moist and really not-that-oily-at-all meat; giving good bites of enjoyment and savour before moving swiftly on to the next piece. If there is a one main dish to order, this is it (but be warned, the portion is not sufficient to make a filling meal).
Capellini with Sakura Ebi, Ikura and Truffle Sauce ($28++) :: While the Chilled Capellini was dressed as spectacularly as the Hokkaido Scallop, it was not as impressive. Although the accompaniments are something that I would not expect to fail in in this kind of establishment (and it did not), the pasta was however, too dry.
Mini Kaisen Don ($48++) :: A small pot of gold this is. For sheer indulgence in flavours bursting in your mouth like non-stop hits on the radio, this bowl of minced fatty tuna, and uni served with pickle wasabi and Niigata rice (the crown jewel of Japanese short-grain rice) and crunch is the way to go. Yes, the portion is disproportionate to the price tag, but really, if you are one who thrives on these superior ingredients, you should know that there isn’t somewhere that you can get them in this portion without breaking the little man’s bank, let alone big portions. I feel that the price here is rather reasonable.
Japanese Shochu Cheese Cake ($15++) :: A great way to end a splendid meal is, of course a splendid dessert. The lightness of the cheese cake is a reminder of the legendary Kki cakes, and the smoothness that of baby skin. Infused with Japanese Shochu, dotted with raisins and stitched to a biscuit base, this alcoholic dessert surely sits well on the palate; one worth ordering. Whole cakes are available for sale but advance orders are needed. The overall food experience was remarkable. Almost every dishes were of high standard and quality. In the perfect world where we can disregard the prices, they would all make the list for ‘what’s good’, save for the Capellini. Alas, the present is far from that and thus value for money has to be catered for.
What’s worth paying for:
Hokkaido Scallop Carpaccio.
Ton-Toro Charcoal Grilled Japanese Pork Jewel.
Japanese Shochu Cheese Cake.
Photos by Kathleen.
Address: 5 Yong Siak Street, (S) 168643
Telephone: 9663 2003 (takes reservations)
Opening Hours: 11.30am – 2.30pm, 6pm – 10.30pm (closed only on Monday).
This was a media session.