Stepping into Misaki Japanese Restaurant last Monday evening, we were greeted by an energetic call of “Irasshaimase” (いらっしゃいませ, welcome) from the kitchen staff behind the counter. It was my first time dining at Misaki, and while it had the slightly intimidating air which is so prevalent in all upmarket restaurants, the friendly smiles and vibes from the staff quickly made me feel at ease.
We were seated at the counter where we had front row views of Chef Khor carefully putting the finishing touches to the first and second dishes — zensai (前菜, appetisers) and sashimi (刺身). Never one to rest on his laurels, head chef and owner Chef Khor is constantly thinking up innovative new dishes for Misaki’s special dinner set menu, which is renewed every month based on ingredients which are in season.
The appetizers change daily as Chef Khor hand picks and decides what to make depending on the day’s ingredients.
On this fine occasion, we were served with umaki (grilled eel rolled in sweet egg omelette), and fresh nanohana (菜の花, rapeseed blossom) with tako (タコ, octopus) marinated in wasabi. The unagi (鰻, eel) was grilled with tare (たれ, sweet BBQ-like sauce) to tender perfection and complemented the fluffy egg roll, which was flavourful without being cloyingly sweet.
We then tried the nanohana that is currently in season. It was lightly seasoned and topped with sesame seeds so we could taste the slight sweetness of the broccolini which was tender but still retained its crunch. Well marinated in wasabi seasoning, the tiny pieces of tako brought out the dish’s shiok factor, even though Chef Khor jokingly maintained that he wanted to add more wasabi.
The evening’s seasonal sashimi included mejina (メジナ, rudder fish), which had been skilfully sliced thin enough to be rolled into the shape of a flower and topped with tobiko (とびこ, flying fish roe), and thick slices of Spanish Mackerel. The mejina itself did not have much flavour; instead, it had a clean taste which soaked up the zingy ponzu (ポン酢, citrus-based sauce) well. On the other hand, the Spanish Mackerel had a nutty flavour and just the right amount of fats so the meat broke apart easily without much chewing.
We could smell the next dish even before it was placed in front of us due to the strong aroma of truffles! A meaty slab of Atlantic salmon was bathed in shouro ankake (松露あんかけ, truffle sauce) and came with a generous topping of ikura (いくら, salmon roe). The salmon was soft and the truffle left a wonderful earthy aftertaste.
Next, the staff served up a curious looking trio of sushi. Looking at our puzzled faces, Chef Khor explained that this was one of his newest interpretations of sushi; wrapped in mamenori (まめのり, soybean paper), the colourful creations were not just pretty to look at but delicious too.
We had three different variations — unagi (grilled eel), spicy tuna, and mixed seafood. My personal favourite was spicy tuna, which was wrapped in mamenori that was peppered with chilli flakes. The best part of this dish was the combination of textures; biting through the soft mamenori to get to the minced up ingredients and warm rice made the dish even more enjoyable. Chef Khor’s personal favourite is the mixed kaisen (海鮮, seafood), consisting of minced scallops, prawns and white meat such as seabream or flounder.
Lastly, we were served a warm bowl of clear broth, or osuimono (お吸い物). Rich in flavour, the broth contained many large shijimi (シジミ, freshwater clam) and nanohana.
Dessert changes on a daily basis as well, but tonight we ended our heart-warming and satisfying meal with lime sorbet, which was light, tangy and refreshing.
Chef Khor’s attention to detail when decorating his dishes truly reflects his passion for his art, so do drop by and say hi to him while dining on authentic Japanese food. If you have a hankering for quality Japanese cuisine and love sharing food photos, then Misaki is definitely the place to go!
*The Kisaragi Gozen February Special is priced at $68++ per person, and is available from now till the end of February. Chef Khor will also be launching Misaki’s very own yusheng for CNY lohei, so do keep a lookout for that too.
MISAKI JAPANESE RESTAURANT
12 Marina Boulevard,
Marina Bay Financial Centre,
Tower 3 #02-08 Singapore 018982
Lunch: 11.30am-3pm (Last Order: 2.30pm)
Dinner: 6pm-10pm (Last Order: 9.45pm)