Saturday, 11 January 2014
IKYU Japanese Restaurant Singapore
Bing invited me to a preview session of IKYU Japanese Restaurant's 5-course Miyazaki Beef Promotion (which will be available from 21 Aug to 5 Sep 2013).
Executive Chef Takuma Seki specially flown in the award-winning Miyazaki Champion Beef for this promotion. The SGD188++ promotion features 5 different cuts of Miyazaki beef presented in 5 different cooking preparations by Chef Seki.
IKYU is located in Tiong Bahru, one of my favourite places in Singapore. Cosmopolitan yet local. Dynamic yet familiar.
It was full house at IKYU on the Thursday night when we were there.
Boyish, cheerful, chirpy, affable and engaging, Executive Chef Seki hails from the rice growing Niigata prefecture in central Japan. Chef Seki's culinary career has taken him to the US and France before coming to the exclusive Hide Yamamoto in Marina Bay Sands, and now at IKYU.
Work or play? You say? Chef Seki has a very simple, sincere approach to his labour of love: "My job is to make people happy with my food." Four hours perched at the bar counter, I could feel and see that this is definitely no lip service or hollow self promotion.
If you managed to grab one of those limited bar counter stools and eager to know more about Japanese cuisine, Chef Seki will be happy to show you. Chef Seki sees himself as an ambassador of his country's cuisine. He even has two large colourful volumes which he keeps at the counter to help any customer appreciate the finer points of Japanese cuisine. Chef Seki pays personal attention to every one at the bar counter like a good teacher, there is never a dull moment here.
Nowadays, obliging customers' requests to take their pictures with their handphones is all in a day's work. Chef Seki will even put down his carving knife for a moment to help you take that must-have Instagram photo of you and your date :)
A key member of Chef Seki's team, Sous Chef Alex hails from Malaysia, and has 18 years of experience as a sushi chef including at the famous Satsuma Shochu, Singapore.
Chef Seki has created IKYU's 5-course menu using Miyazaki Champion Beef which is Japan's number one beef. Miyazaki beef was crowned Champion at Japan's "Wagyu Olympics" in 2007 and 2012. This championship is held only once every five years.
So, let the feast begin.
First on the 5-course menu was this Chilled Shabu-Shabu Beef Fresh Spring Roll. The soft but strong Japanese rice paper wraps a thin slice of rib eye with slivers of fresh green lettuce, carrot, onion and avocado.
Eaten with a savoury vinaigrette dip, it's an interesting blend of complementary textures and flavours. Tuning my taste buds to pick out the Miyazaki Champion beef, it felt very tender, and full of rich flavour almost like a creamy sauce.
Bing said that Miyazaki Champion beef fat melts at 16°C, so I guessed the fat literary melted in my mouth. This spring roll was a very good start and primed me for more delights to come.
The Tenderloin Carpaccio Wafu Vinaigrette which is thinly sliced raw cherry-red Miyazaki tenderloin topped with garlic chips, leafy greens and sweet soy sauce. I found the "sashimi" style a very good way to enjoy the exquisite flavour and smooth, velvety texture of this premium beef.
The third dish is the Karubi Stew with seasonal vegetables (today we had broccoli, carrot and radish). After two dishes of thinly sliced beef, the chunky chuck short rib stew was an interesting variation.
Delectable stewed-till-tender beef, comes with slices of bread to lap up the savoury gravy. I wiped the plate so clean with my last piece of bread that it would make any mum happy.
The Robata Grilled Sirloin with Rose Salt is charcoal grilled and served with crispy garlic chips, leek and natural pink salt. The grilled Miyazaki beef has that oh-so-captivating aroma of sizzling fat. The meat has the tenderness of marshmallow with the savouriness of warm butter.
The fifth and final Miyazaki Champion beef offering was the Rib Eye Cap Tataki Nigiri Sushi.
The Aburi rib eye cap meat topping the renowned Niigata rice sushi is flamed grilled by Chef Alex to release the mouth watering aroma and flavour of Miyazaki beef.
This rib eye cap tataki nigiri sushi is a fitting finalé rounding up the 5-course Miyazaki Champion beef menu on a high note.
The little bit of simple warm soup and plain soba, nicely bridging the hearty savoury beef and the sweet dessert.
The scrumptious meal was rounded up with a hot Wasabi Cheesecake and a cold Melon Sorbet.
We had this sake to go with our Miyazaki beef. Very smooth, easy on the throat, subtly sweet. Paired perfectly with our 5-course Miyazaki beef.
We had a great time savouring the Miyazaki beef, sake, and good natured banter with each other and with Chefs Seki and Alex.
Sitting front row at the sushi bar counter watching the chefs' performance is one of life's pleasures for me. Here are some of the beautiful, freshly prepared dishes by chefs Seki and Alex for the other customers sharing the bar counter with us.
Freshly grated wasabi.
We were at IKYU from 7:00pm right till past 11:00pm which was past the restaurant's closing time. Time flies when one is with good food, great drinks and best company.
If you would like to enjoy IKYU's 5-course Miyazaki Champion Beef promotion, please make reservations at +65-6223-9003, one day in advance.
Restaurant name: IKYU Japanese Restaurant
Address: 5, Yong Siak Street, Singapore (Tiong Bahru area)
Hours: Lunch: 11:30am to 2:30pm. Happy Hour: 5:30pm to 7:30pm. Dinner: 5:30pm to 10:30pm. Monday off.
Date visited: 15 Aug 2013
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