While Sushi Chiharu @ Cuppage Road may be new to you, it is no stranger to the locals in Osaka, given its Bib Gourmand listing from 2016 to 2018. Situated within Tamaya Dining, the 12-seater Sushi Chiharu specialises in Edomae-sushi, served as part of their 10-piece Nigiri Sushi Course ($90++) and 18-course Omakase Menu ($140++). Edomae-style includes sprinkling fish with salt, immersing with vinegar, and curing with salt, vinegar, or soy sauce – preservation techniques dating back to the Japanese Edo period (1603 to 1868) where refrigeration technology was unavailable. In my opinion, the flavours come across as more intense and concise.
The 18-course Omakase Menu at Sushi Chiharu consists of three appetisers, two seasonal sashimi, a seasonal dish, and the restaurant’s signature 10-piece nigiri sushi, before ending off with a soup dish and dessert. As all 12 seats are before the counter, diners will be treated to a multisensory experience of the craft of preparing each course.
A number of commendable starters include the Conger Pike Eel, which is full of bite, and soaked in dashi instead of water so as to retain the umami, and the inherently sweet Hokkaido Crab, torched and topped with egg.
Quite unexpectedly, the Sardine was one that drew my attention. With its distinctive character, it gradually made its presence known on the palate, forming a powerful statement amidst the other sushi. The triumphant was partly owed to the addition of ponzu which helped prevent the taste bud from being overwhelmed. Apart from that, the Kerayaki (Egg) was impressive. By whipping the egg whites into a meringue and folding in the egg yolks, Sushi Chiharu’s very own take on Tamagoyaki resulted in fluffy, airy, and slightly sweet sponge cake-textured Kerayaki, perfect to ease into the final two courses of Miso Soup and Japanese Rock Melon.
I have no qualms about the quality and freshness of food being served. However, I do have reservations about the value, or at least the perception of the value, that I am getting from the Omakase Menu. This stems from (a) the repetition of maguro (thrice) in the courses, and (b) the lack of appreciable (at least personally; noting, for example, that Flounder is no ordinary sashimi) or exotic items, an example of which is Uni (Sea Urchin), which is served at Sushi Chiharu but not at my seating – such is the game of chance in omakase meals.
Address: 45A Cuppage Road, Singapore 229464
Contact: +65 6835 3639 (reservations required for dining between 6pm – 9pm)
Opening Hours: 6pm – 11.30pm (Mon – Sat; last order at 11pm); 6pm – 10.30pm (Sun, PH; last order at 10.30pm)
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