This new restaurant located along Mohamed Sultan Road has been in the news recently for being the only restaurant that serves Fugu exclusively throughout its menu.
We had the Daikokuten Fugu Course @ $250 per pax. For this set, the fugu that we have is farmed. Understand from the manager that most Fugu eaten in Japan is also farmed, instead of being wild-caught. The restaurant offers wild-caught fugu, but only for the most expensive set meal @ $580. For this, you need a five day reservation in advance to secure your order.
To handle Fugu (Puffer fish), the chef has to be certified. We were glad to know that the chef have over 20 years of experience working as a Fugu chef in Fugu capital – Shimonoseki, wich is the largest harvester of Fugu in Japan. The fish has been processed in Japan before it is air-flown to Singapore, so you have less worry about the poison from the Fugu.
I had the opportunity to watch the chef who hails from Kobe in action, plating the Fugu into a work of art on a plate.
This was a 9 course meal, and the highlights were:
- Appetiser: Cut pieces of Fugu simmered in a sweet soy sauce. The fish absorbed the sweet soy and was lovely. I liked it so much that I even drank the leftover sauce in the bowl!
- Lightly boiled Fugu Skin: The skin of the Fugu is boiled for a short time and sliced into long thin strips. You can eat it raw or with the finely cut chives and ponzu. We even tried cooking it in the steamboat and it gave a different texture.
- Thinly-sliced Fugu Sashimi: This was beautifully plated on a plate and too nice to eat! The fish was cut thinly and the translucent texture allowed you to admire the decoration of the plate it was on.
You take a piece, lay onto your plate, put about 3 cut chives onto it, some grated radish, roll it up and dip into ponzu. The fugu is nice and has a good bite, unlike any sashimi that you will eat. The fish was firm and definitely fresh!
- Hiresake: This was hot sake steeped with fried Fugu fins. After placing the covered cups on the table, the manager took off the lid and lighted a portable fire-starter. The alcoholic fumes ignited for a brief 5 seconds before he covered the lid back on. After several seconds, we took our first sip.
- Deep Fried Fugu: Fugu Cheek Karaage. This was one of my favourite dishes for the meal. My dinner partners all agree. The fugu fish cheek were cut into pieces and coated with batter then deep-fried.
- Grilled Milt: This looked like white sausages. It is actually Shirako, or sperm sac of the Fugu fish. We got the grilled version, instead of the steamed version. You can eat it by itself or add the salt or dash of lime, which was served on the side
- Fugu Hotpot with Vegetables: We got a tray of steamboat goodies and a hotpot on a portable gas stove. The tray included cut pieces of Fugu cheek, mushrooms, vegetables and Japanese clear noodles. The broth was dashi that has been filtered to give a clear soup with a piece of Konbu (Kelp) in it. After the soup is brought to a boil, the fire is lowered, the konbu is removed and the manager proceeded to put in the cabbage, fish and the rest of the ingredients in. After a few minutes, the food is cooked and we helped ourselves to the hotpot.
- Fugu Porridge Japanese style: When we were done with the Fugu hotpot, the manager removed all the cooked items from the hotpot, leaving only the soup behind. Soup was added to top it up, and the Sous chef (who handles cooked items for the restaurant) came to cook the porridge. He added the cooked Japanese rice, brought the soup to a boil, before lowering the heat and adding in beaten egg and stirring it in. This was followed by finely-cut Japanese spring onions and seaweed. Served together with Shio Konbu (Salted kelp), the kelp added some saltiness and a tinge of sourness to the dish. Otherwise, the porridge didn’t have much taste.
- Seasonal Dessert: The dessert for the day was yuzu sorbet. This was imported from Japan and I could taste and bite the yuzu pieces that is mixed into the sorbet. Refreshing and nice!
No Japanese meal would be complete without sashimi, and we had a sashimi moriawase, which had botan prawns, salmon belly and Hokkaido Scallops. They were fresh and nice. I especially like the scallops which were sliced into 4mm pieces and interlaced with sliced lime. The lime added a nice citrus-sy flavour to the scallops.
My first time trying Fugu was in Fukuoka, Japan about 6 years ago. I am glad that I can now enjoy this delicacy right here in Singapore, without the need to fly to Japan!