Sublime Sushi – Shinzi By Kanesaka Review
Restaurant: Shinzi by Kanesaka @ The Regis
Location: 29 Tanglin Road, Singapore, 247911, Singapore
Chef: Shunsuke Kikuchi
Cuisine: Traditional Japanese Sushi & Sashimi Omakase
Awards: 1 Michelin Star, #44 Asia’s Best 50 Restaurants 2017
Having heard good things about the quality and hankering for the simple yet sublime flavours of good sushi Pookie chose to visit the St. Regis branch of Shinzi by Kanesaka. It was a choice that he did not regret. Booking was done old school by an email to book (no fancy booking widget here) and the response was both polite and accommodating, a lovely touch and immediately reminiscent of Japanese hospitality at its finest. I was really looking forward to the Omakaze and was not disappointed as i approached the hinoki sushi counter for what was to be some of the best sushi of my life.
Fans of Japanese 2 Michelin-starred chef Shinji Kanesaka will be familiar with this Edo-mae style sushi restaurant to which he consults and which is considered one of the best outside of Japan. Shunsuke Kikuchi heads the St. Regis branch and the quality is certainly not lacking. Chef Kikuchi started his career in Hokkaido at age 18 and then progressed to spend 4 and a half years at sushi restaurant Kyubei (world renowned) including a period in Jakarta. His pedigree is certainly not in question.
The Omakase comes in two forms – Shin and Wa. Personally I chose the Wa though I must say that I have heard the Uni Gohan (bowl of sea urchin rice with fatty tuna and salmon roe) that comes with the Shin is a Wow! dish for sheer decadence. I found the Omakaze Wa to be better value however with the sashimi and nigiri seemed fairly closely matched for both. I think i would recommend lunch over dinner, but that may simply have been because there were few patrons at lunch and I am not a fan of crowds. I am sure this place would be packed for dinners.
Old favourites for me were the otoro and chutoro, but the nuances of flavour the chef achieved with all the nigiri was nothing short of astounding. I never knew that sushi could taste so complex, it came as a surprise but not an unwelcome one. Each nigiri had some little extra thing that took it to a new level, each bite was somewhat of a surprise and revelation.
Shinzi by Kanesaka should be a go to restaurant when travelling to Singapore. It is the combination of fantastic food along with accommodating booking service which really works for someone who is travelling. The atmosphere is formal but the chefs are amiable and very approachable, happy to discuss the dishes and ingredients and even willing to pose for a photo or two. This and the counter style seating make dining alone feel much less isolating. Do yourself a favour and try Shinji Kanesaka@ The Regis next time you are in Singapore.