The art of omakase is built upon three core elements: seasonal ingredients, impeccable technique and a high level of trust placed in the chef preparing your meal. With a name that directly translates to “I leave it up to you”, the practice is held in high regard and often considered to be the pinnacle of Japanese fine dining.
Think of omakase as culinary performance. Chefs often dream up dishes and make decisions on what to cook mid-course. This creative freedom coupled with years of expertise means that even in the same restaurant, one omakase experience may vary greatly from another.
Another highlight omakase commonly offers is the ability to see skilled chefs crafting masterpieces right before your eyes, and perhaps even engage in lively conversation with them to learn more about what you’re eating and how it has been prepared. Opting for omakase means that you’ll likely be exposed to a variety of items you may have never picked out on your own.
The revered fine dining experience is accordingly priced, so the key to a memorable meal worth the splurge lies in picking the right restaurant. Thanks to the city’s thriving Japanese culinary landscape, there is no shortage of options available in Singapore. We’ve made your task easier by narrowing down the best amongst the new omakase experiences that have opened on the island. From Nobu Singapore’s exclusive new omakase journey staged in a private dining room, to the stylishly-designed Kyoto-style restaurant Hazuki—these are the elevated menu-less experiences to invest in this year.
1 / 4
Slip into the quietude of chef Kenta Yamauchi’s Hazuki—nestled in a discreet corner of Ngee Ann City—and you’ll find yourself hidden away from the bustle just outside. At a single glance, the simple elegance of Hazuki strikes a chord; soft streaks of light highlight a luxurious column clad in Gucci homeware, leading into a hushed little room for private dining. Beyond the first walkway sits a serene oasis where guests sift into counter seats to take their stations around an intimate kitchen where the magic happens.
The sophistication afforded by Hazuki’s interior continues way into its decadent culinary offering. We enjoyed one of five varying omakase configurations. Kicking off the meal is a succulent kegani that teases the senses, where a welcome tinge of sweetness sits beneath a generous dollop of caviar. A fresh selection of sashimi featuring only the finest catches of the season rolls out soon after. For something comforting and wholesome, look forward to the intriguing balance of blanched wagyu sirloin centred in a curious shiro miso and dashi broth—topped with the seamless addition of freshly shaved truffle.
A unique segment is also dedicated to precisely-executed tempura: crispy on the outside, soft and flavourful on the inside. But the eye-opening highlight of the meal lies in a nori-encased hand roll of maguro, uni and rice. Each bite of the luscious pile grows smaller—as if to savour the smooth decadence of it all coming together. Chef Kenta knows to hold your attention till the very end: dessert is a perfect meeting of fruity-cold peach with sweet Hokkaido milk ice-cream.
Hazuki, 391 Orchard Rd, #04-18A, Singapore 238872
Enquiries: 6893 1555
2 / 4
At Les Amis Group’s latest Japanese omakase concept, Jinhoten, one can expect finesse, seamless service and the freshest produce. While private rooms fit for intimate gatherings are available, the restaurant’s sleek 10-seater space is what you should seek out to catch head chef Issey Araki and his sous chefs in action.
The restaurant’s 10-course offering rotates based on what’s in season, and spares no expense. The meal starts off with a decadent cold dish of sweet botan ebi and a generous dollop of Murasaki uni, plied with Kristal caviar as well as a creamy sauce made from soybean sheets. The next hot appetiser narrows in on a stellar black abalone from Yamaguchi, where chef Issey deftly extracts a piquant dashi as a prelude to the dish, before slices of the shellfish are served—paired with a briny abalone liver sauce. It’s a great example of his philosophy as a chef: to make full use of each key ingredient he chooses to showcase.
In a hand roll that we dub a two-bite winner, crisp nori sheets encase a hefty Nodoguro (blackthroat sea perch) lightly grilled over the binchotan. It showcases perfect balance, as the smokey fish is paired with the essential pickles—in this case, a pickled winter melon doused in sake and mirin. With every course, one would notice the attention to the produce at hand, tempered with the notion of serving it at its best.
One prime example is the tender sirloin steak, plied with just the right amount of fat and plated with a chargrilled eggplant sauce bearing a slight tang—to cut through the richness of the meat. Another underlying aspect that more restaurants could adopt? A good grasp on portion control. Nearing the end, we could still very much enjoy the last savoury course: a hairy crab umami-rich dish gleaming with chunks of shredded crab.
Jinhonten, 1 Scotts Rd, #01-11, Singapore 228208
Enquiries: 9635 0973
3 / 4
Deep down Duxton Hill, wedged in between offices and hip eateries, is a nondescript door—you’ll need to shuffle closer and squint before you make out the name of the restaurant, Nijuuichi. Head chef Marcus Yan stands behind the counter, slicing raw fish with deft hands. A disciple of the renowned Yoshio Nogawa, a pioneer of Japanese cuisine in Singapore, chef Marcus serves up delicious Edomae-style sushi in an omakase menu which also comes with a few surprises. Seafood is flown in directly from Tokyo’s Toyusu Market four times a week, which Chef Marcus turns into the likes of aburi kinmedai (golden eye snapper) or nodoguro (blackthroat sea perch). As with most sushi dishes, they are presented without over-the-top theatrics, but it is the unresistingly soft, chewy and creamy textures and flavours that hit the spot right away. There are few things better in life than fresh sushi made in front of you, at the right temperature.
Chef Marcus’s philosophy is refreshingly simple. “I just want to make food that people enjoy,” he says. “I feel happy when I see customers enjoying the food.” He nods subtly in approval when your empty plate is cleared, and he knows he’s done a good thing. Besides his sushi, look forward to Nijuuichi’s Trinity Rice Bowl, a decadent concoction of negitoro, uni, and ikura on a fluffy, warm bed of rice, as well as their double-boiled tuna belly soup to finish. Nijuuichi’s counter—made lovingly of local wood—only seats 10 people at a time, so you’ll need to plan ahead and get in early.
Nijuuichi, 21 Duxton Hill, Singapore 089604
Enquiries: 6950 8665
4 / 4
When Nobu Singapore launched this year, there was plenty of fanfare around its extensive à la carte menu, full of iconic dishes (like the Rock Shrimp Tempura and Black Cod Miso) as well as new items to look forward to. One element that was conspicuously missing—given several secretive enclaves within the restaurant with chef’s tables of their own—was the private dining experience.
Now, executive chef Hideki Maeda has added not one, but two, unique omakase journeys to the restaurant’s offerings. At a more accessible price point is the teppanyaki omakase menu, which starts off with ocean-fresh sashimi and four delectable seafood courses, followed by a tender A5 Japanese wagyu beef dish that is cooked à la minute, to your preference. Finally, before dessert, a wholesome rice-based course arrives. We tried Chazuke, which has a grilled rice ball sat in the middle of a beautiful dashi-based soy broth. Light and fragrant, it was the surprise hit of the evening. Featuring seasonal ingredients and robust flavours, this is the option to pick if you’re a beginner to omakase—or prefer cooked dishes to their raw counterparts.
Sushi and sashimi connoisseurs should instead look to the distinguished 11-course Chef’s Table omakase. The gastronomic voyage starts with four stellar cold dishes—including a particularly vibrant salad—before two seasonal hot seafood courses follow. The real highlight of the meal comes after the meat course, when guests are able to witness chef Hideki lead his brigade of skilled sushi chefs into the private dining room’s fully-equipped live station, sculpting each piece of fresh sushi to perfection. With two indulgent desserts to finish off the evening, this is an extravagant meal to save for a special occasion.
Nobu Singapore, 190 Orchard Blvd, Level 3, Singapore 248646
Enquiries: 6831 7653