Singapore: Aoki

29 Jun

Aoki at Shaw Centre (Orchard) has officially replaced Tatsuya as my favourite Japanese lunch spot in Singers. While the set lunch choices may be more plentiful at Tatsuya, Aoki makes up for it in quality and its signature trio of Japanese desserts!

Stepping inside, one gets a sense of how intimate and serene the place is – tread carefully with light footsteps! Ladies who lunch here are very poised and often Japanese. Every single piece of furniture and crockery here looks zen and exquisitely made. We sat at the gorgeous sushi bar as I booked late, but previously I was given one of the private booths (though it’s rather claustrophobic it’s a private room at no additional charge/min spend). Love the wishbone chairs at the bar – my absolute fave :)

Each diner gets an otoshi cover charge ($3), but it’s seriously worth it given all the other extra items and service (hot towels, tea etc.) we get. First up, a little amuse bouche of konnyaku (devil’s tongue), which btw did you know is almost zero-calorie? It’s amazingly filling for something like that!

Next up is a garden salad in a yuzu sesame dressing. Japanese salads are always a delight!

I’ve had the maze chirashi ($35) here before and it was TDF so I had to bring my mum back to try it. As expected, it was again really, aMAZEing! The sashimi was cubed to perfection (as a home cook, I can attest to the difficulty of cubing things to equal sizes), extremely fresh and of superb quality (none of those odds and ends); all seating pretty on top of perfect sushi rice. The uni (sea urchin), ikura (salmon roe), toro (fatty tuna) and maguro (tuna) bits were my fave. Often you get not-so-fresh uni and funky maguro even at better Japanese restys, but the ones here are clearly many cuts above the rest (pun intended)! Even the tamago (egg), which I usually abstain from was so good – not overly sweet with a light dashi and charred taste. This would definitely be my last meal, if I had a choice.

Only freshly grated wasabi here, for your consumption, please.

Even the tsukemono (pickles) served were so unique! Other than the usual yellow one, I haven’t tried the other three before. The pink one was ume flavoured pickled radish – totally delicious! Even the normally pedestrian miso soup was boiled using prawn heads. Such attention to detail and quality puts Aoki on the top of my list!

I was honestly so stuffed I couldn’t even finish my rice (the sashimi:rice ratio must be like, 2:1), but I had to make way for dessert! Unlike many Japanese restys where dessert is usually just watermelon or a matcha ice cream, dessert here is an elaborate, lacquer boxed affair! That day I had warabi mochi, umeshu jelly and coffee ice cream but I’ve also had milk custard pudding and cherry blossom ice cream before. Absolutely pampering :)

Genmaicha was also thoughtfully served to aid digestion towards the end of the meal. And how cute is my owl cup?

I left in such a blissful state and my mum who just had her first taste of uni (and very good one at that) was super pumped by the meal too. Happy belated Mother’s Day, Ma! Regretted a little that I didn’t step out of my comfort zone and order the nigiri sushi platter because my neighbours had it and that looked really good too! But how can I say no to such awesome maze chirashi? Now that I’m convinced, I’m definitely coming back for the omakase one day!

Price: $$-$$$$$ ($40-60 for lunch, >$200 for dinner)
Location: 1 Scotts Road, #02-17 Shaw Centre, S (228208)
Tel: +65 6333 8015
Opening Hours: Mon to Sat: 12-3pm, 6.30-11pm. Last seating 30mins before closing.
Website: http://www.aoki-restaurant.com.sg/

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