Category Archives: Michelin Star

Tempura Kondo – Tokyo

Many people, including myself are originally surprised to hear that a tempura restaurant can be awarded two Michelin stars. After all, it’s not the typical image associated with fine dining. However, it’s a fallacy that Michelin stars are elusive to fine dining. It’s simply awarded to extraordinary cuisine, haute cuisine or ramen. Regardless, the tempura at Kondo is quite unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.

The atmosphere was simple and clean, despite the copious amounts of frying occurring. This is my first time at a tempura bar, where all the cooking happens right in front of you. The chef fries one piece at a time, ensuring optimal freshness. After the sous chef preps the ingredient, the head chef dunks it into the tempura batter and gently submerge it into a mixture of three types of sesame oil.

I liked that they gave you options for toppings/sauces to experiment with. The tensuyu and grated daikon added savouriness which complements vegetables, while the simple sea salt and lemon cut through the richness of seafood. We ordered the “Kaede”, which included two appetizers, eleven tempura pieces, kakiage plus rice set, and dessert.

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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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