Victor from Mikawa Japanese Sake Bar and Restaurant in Singapore invited me to an omakase dinner at his restaurant in UE BizHub East.
Mikawa and UE BizHub East are conveniently located a stone's throw from EXPO MRT station in Singapore's far East.
Mikawa is a casual dining restaurant serving sushi, sashimi, bento, ramen, set meals and a la carte on the menu. Mikawa also has a sake bar offering a wide range of sake from Japan, including premium, limited edition seasonal brews.
There is an open kitchen behind the bar counter where the chef personally serves up omakase ;-D
Omakase (お任せ) is a Japanese phrase meaning "I'll leave it to you". The guests trust the chef and left their enjoyment of the meal in the chef's hands.
Based on interaction with the guests and understanding their preferences, the chef presents a series of dishes for the guests' enjoyment. He usually starts with the lightest dishes, progressing to heavier, richer dishes. The chef will mix the types of dishes served including sashimi, sushi and more. The chef will also let the guests experience food prepared with different cooking techniques including grilling, braising, simmering and others.
Omakase dining is a fun way to learn and appreciate the diversity and fine details about Japanese cuisine while enjoying the company of an experienced Japanese chef.
The omakase experience is very personal and much depended on the chef's personality.
A good omakase chef will surprise and delight the customer in his/her dish selection.
I had an enjoyable omakase dinner thanks to the affable Chef Fabio Lee. Chef Fabio started learning Japanese cuisine since 1986, picking up the fine points from many Japanese chefs during the last 30 years.
Chef Fabio is knowledgeable yet humorous and friendly. He is able to build rapport with his guests very quickly. We felt comfortable instantly and settled down quickly to an evening of delectable Japanese cuisine. Chef Fabio is very generous with his knowledge and I learnt a lot about the ingredients and cooking techniques of many Japanese dishes.
Let's see what we had for the SGD120++ omakase meal. (Omakase prices at Mikawa starts at SGD80++ per person.)
We started with a small bowl of Pickled Firefly Squid (Hotaru Ika) appetiser.
Intensely savoury flavour with slight tangy, sweet and spicy notes. The distinct cuttle fish flavour was also noticeable. The squid meat was slightly rubbery, chewy though smooth.
It's perfect jaw exercising food to go with some drinks. Our sake glasses had already been filled by this time ;-D
Hotaru Ika is great for getting the saliva flowing.
Sea Snail (Shiro Baigai)
The soft meaty flesh was savoury sweet and parts of it tasted and felt like tender liver.
Shirako or Cod Sperm Sac. Also known as Cod Milt.
The shirako was served slightly chilled. It felt like a bouncy custard and when we bite through the sac, the soft milky white inside was creamy, rich, smooth and sweet.
Don't think or imagine too much when you eat this and everything will be fine ;-P
Century Egg Tofu topped with flying fish roe served chilled.
Savoury sweet with the fresh taste of homemade tofu blended with the distinct flavour of Chinese century egg. The poppy savoury flying fish roe added texture and another layer of flavour to this classic.
Sashimi served in a bowl like an ikebana (Japanese flower arrangement).
Chef Fabio makes each sashimi bowl on the spot, like.... an ikebana lah.
Air flown fresh seafood is delivered to Mikawa restaurant four days a week. So, what Chef Fabio puts into the sashimi bowl depends what is in season. We can't be sure what seafood is put into the bowl, but can be certain that the sashimi is always fresh.
We had soft and sweet sea urchin (uni), firm and sweet horse mackerel (aji), crunchy Japanese large cockle (torigai), prawn (amaebi), Hokkaido scallop topped with lump fish caviar and refreshing juicy oily tuna belly sashimi.
We enjoyed our sashimi with fresh wasabi made by grinding wasabi root on shark skin just before eating. Fresh wasabi is milder and doesn't have that sharp painful sting of factory wasabi that often runs up the nose.
Large juicy fat, creamy, ocean fresh oyster splashed with a dash savoury sweet zingy ponzu sauce.
Grilled Tuna Chin.
The meaty, fatty, extra tender juicy lower part between the gills and ventral fin. Grilled to a slight crisp outside with all the wholesome juices and flavours suspended in the moist warm flesh.
The prawn head, horse mackerel head and bones returned to the table deep fried. We ate up all the crispy crunchy shells and gritty bones, gurgling it down with sake ;-D
Grilled Hungarian Mangalica Pork.
Slightly charred outside, pink inside with pearly streaks of juicy fat.
Tender, creamy savoury sweet with a slight smokiness.
Hungarian Mangalica Pork braised in sukiyaki sauce.
Actually, I like the sukiyaki Mangalica pork even better than the grilled version (which was already very tasty). The savoury sweet sukiyaki sauce added a layer to the natural sweetness of the tender Mangalica pork.
The small clump of spicy salty yuzu sauce added yet another dimension to the savoury sweet flavour of the braised Mangalica pork.
Nearly the end of our omakase session, we were served a bowl of Okinawa Yaki Somen.
Don't be deceived by this plain looking noodles. It is loaded with delightful flavours.
The tender slightly sweet rice noodles were lightly stir fried in blended savoury sauces, sesame oil and a light touch of whisky.
It was a delicious round up of our omakase dinner ;-D
We were washing our sumptuous dinner down with this premium seasonal sake (SGD90++ a bottle). It was smooth, slightly sweet and seemed to massage the throat as it slide down the pipe. No hangover at all, the morning after ;-D
Fresh fruits imported from Japan.
Refreshing yuzu, sesame and green tea sorbet.
Omakase at Mikawa was fun and delicious. For a Japanese cuisine novice like me, it was highly educational and I think Japanese experts will find it enjoyable too.
Restaurant name: Mikawa Japanese Sake Bar and Restaurant
Address: UE BizHub East, 6 Changi Business Park Avenue 1, #01-21, Singapore
Hours: 11:30am to 2:30pm | 5:30pm to 9:30pm
Date visited: 6 Feb 2015
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