Restaurant André – Singapore

The best restaurant in Singapore. Second best restaurant in Asia. Named #14 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Head chef and owner André Chiang began his culinary training in France, where he worked alongside the kitchens of Pierre Gagnire, L’Atelier de Robuchon, and Le Jardin des Sens before initiating his solo career in Singapore. His restaurant is a classic white house, with a warmly decorated interior. It felt more like I was being invited to a private dinner rather than dining at a restaurant. Chef Chiang is known for his signature Octaphilosophy elements (unique, pure, texture, memory, salt, south, artisan and terroir). The lunch menu deviates slightly from the dinner menu. Instead of serving his Octaphilosophy degustation, the lunch menu features a new theme per month. This month’s theme is decreasing wastage, which became more apparent once the courses proceeded.

The kombucha was interesting. Fermented under careful supervision, it was very sour and subtly sweet. There was also a strong musty smell that reminded me of an old attic. I don’t hate it, but it’s not my choice of beverage. A selection of intricate amuse bouche was presented.

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Sushi Masuda – 2 Michelin Stars

From a first glance, sushi appears deceptively simple. However, simplicity doesn’t equate easy. Little do people realize that it takes longer to become a trained sushi chef than it takes to become a doctor in Japan! When working with minimal ingredients, there is nothing to hide. This increases the complexity of technique as even the most minute mistake will be magnified. This is why sushi trainees do repetitive tasks (i.e. wash rice, sweep floors) for many years before graduating to making sushi rice, then scaling and fileting fish, and finally making sushi for customers. The purpose is to gauge their patience and meticulousness. Only the cream of the crop will be selected to apprentice under the master chef. Chef Rei Masada has trained under the legendary sushi master Sukiyabashi Jiro for nine years before embarking on his own restaurant. Albeit young, he already has two Michelin stars under his belt.

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Miku – Toronto

Miku is one of the trendiest hotspots for Japanese cuisine in Toronto. The Toronto branch opened following the successful venture of its original Vancouver location. Serving contemporary Japanese Canadian fusion cuisine, Miku definitely ranks among one of the best restaurants in Toronto. The kaiseki is the best way to explore the menu, as you will get a taste of most signature/popular dishes. We chose the five course Miku kaiseki.

The first course was a sashimi platter, plated with finesse. The chu-toro (medium fat bluefin tuna) was very good, meltingly tender. The hamachi (yellowtail) and amaebi (spot prawn) were also very enjoyable. Later during the meal, the prawn heads were brought back to the kitchen and fried. I know visually this can intimidate people but it’s actually not bad to munch on.

Sashimi Platter

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