Food Review: Ushidoki & The Wagon

Found on the up-and-coming Tras Street are two sister restaurants with distinctly unique personalities. Bursting from the same minds that came up with Tsukada Nojo (美人鍋) and its famous collagen mizutaki, expect the same high quality dishes from these new oustlets.

On one side, there is the Japanese omakase-style Ushidoki  and on the other, is  the trendy French-inspired The Wagon.

 

At The Wagon, Chef Makoto Deguchi dishes up delectable French food in a setting reminisce of a Spanish tapas bar fused with a contemporary diner. Throw in some gorgeous hanging light bulbs and colourful coasters alongside refined wooden furniture, and one can expect to find themselves eating in a casual yet luxurious environment.

There are two menus featured at The Wagon, a small-dish menu designed for easy sharing, and an à la carte menu for main courses.

 

The first dish we tried was small but packed a punch; the Capsicum Prawn mousse with consommé jelly tasted faintly like shrimp paste, which went very well with the smooth jelly bits and light foamy mousse.

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Then there was the Foie Gras Crème Brûlée, which you can choose to layer on buttery crackers for a more balanced taste, or simply eat the rich creamy spread on its own.

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Next up was one of the chef’s recommendations, Pau with beef braised in wine. The pau is definitely one of the highlights from the menu as it is rare to see a traditional Chinese food item prepared using French cooking techniques. The outer pau skin was doughy and became more flavourful as it was chewed. The minced filling was fine but still retained its meaty texture.

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Two other dishes worth mentioning are the Ravioli and Hamburg Steak, as they are dishes which are “simple, but conveys the warmth of home” according to Chef Deguchi. The consommé soup used for the Ravioli is made two days in advance.

If you’re hankering after something more traditionally Japanese, just head next door to Ushidoki.

 

From the gorgeous sakura wood tables to the rustic brick walls, Ushidoki emits a rich, earthy feeling which reflects the origins of it’s dishes well.

Helmed by Chef Hirohashi Nobuaki,  Ushidoki specialises in serving up 12-course Ozaki wagyu omakase meals and we were fortunate to be able to sample three dishes when we visited.

Fun fact: There is only one farm in Japan using the name of Ozaki to sell wagyu. Mr Muneharu Ozaki in Miyazaki Prefecture breeds and manages his own farm, so there is a very select number of importers and restaurants serving his high quality beef in Japan and Singapore.

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The first dish we tried was a 3-kind wagyu sashimi. The first was a pair of wagyu wrapped uni (雲丹, sea urchin). Both wagyu and uni are known for their rich creamy texture and flavour and this dish epitomised the feeling perfectly. The wagyu and uni complemented each other well, with the uni‘s sweet smoothness brought out the subtle meatiness of the wagyu. The next was the home-smoked wagyu ham. This had a cleaner, neater flavour that highlighted the light, smoky flavour of the ham. Last but not least was the oyster topped with wagyu and kombu (昆布, kelp). This final merger of land and sea used the oyster and the kombu‘s natural saltiness brought out the silky beefiness in the wagyu.

 

Inspired by a herb garden, the next dish was fresh and leafy while retaining its meaty personality. With the wagyu tucked neatly amongst the greens, this “salad” brought to mind a cow grazing in the field. It had over 15 types of seasonal vegetables. Every bite tasted different because each bite had a unique mix of the different leaves and herbs. The greens added a good crunch and gave the soft beef some extra texture and was a sheer delight.

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Last but not least was Ozaki Wagyu founder’s famous Ozaki sukiyaki (すき焼き, hot pot). According to Chef Nobuaki, Mr Ozaki serves this dish to his guests when they visit his farm as it is one of the best ways to enjoy his beef – and how true that is! The barely cooked egg just made the delicate slices of wagyu even silkier while the broth brought out the hint of natural sweetness in the beef. The slices of truffle enhanced the wagyu’s earthy flavour while the slices of cabbage gave it extra texture and just the right touch of greenness. This was the dish of the night. It was homely, heartwarming and down right delicious. Definitely a dish not to be missed, it was just so good.

Ushidoki’s omakase menu starts at $200 and is worth every penny. Make reservations as it is a popular choice for dinner.

USHIDOKI 
6221-6369
55 Tras Street #01-01
Mon-Sat
5pm -12am
(L.O. 11pm – food, 11.30pm drinks)
Close Sun

THE WAGON
6221-6379
57 Tras Street #01-01
Mon-Sat
12pm – 2.30pm (L.O. 2pm)
5pm – 10pm(L.O. 9pm)
Close Sun

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