Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Perfect 10 Waku Ghin

I finally found the time to check out the much talked about Waku Ghin. Chef Tetsuya Wakuda's first establishment outside of Australia opened to much acclaim in August this year, with an almost perfect ten review by local food critic Wong Ah Yoke.

Located on the "celebrity chefs" level at the Marina Bay Sands Shoppes, this exclusive restaurant that only serves 25 pax per dinner seating only has opened to mixed reviews. Most friends like it but some friends don't. So I decided to judge it for myself. Here's a pictorial entry of our amazing 10-course degustation dinner. Do note that the menu changes according to seasonal produce and fresh ingredients available, so what you might end up having may be different from what I experienced.

1st Course - Pacific Oyster from Coffin Bay, Australia

Oysters are oysters usually. Nothing special except for the size and freshness level. What made this first dish special was the rice vinegar and the chopped chives. Refreshing way to tantalise the palate.

If you do not take oysters, the chef will be able to prepare an alternative for you. My fiance was served a terrine with fresh fig.

2nd Course - Uni with Botan Shrimps, Egg Yolk and Caviar

Many would say this is the star dish and I couldn't agree more. Top marks for presentation and kudos to the chef for thinking up this combination. It looked heavy in taste with the richness of the respective ingredients, but the taste was well orchestrated, making this dish unforgettable.

3rd Course - Tachio (Belt Fish) with Endive and Nori

This dish may look less impressive, but do not be fooled but its plain presentation as it is comparable in taste with the others. The fish meat was sweet and left me wanting for more, though I can't say the same for the endive. Bits of Japanese nori (seaweed) added a nice touch in balancing the saltiness of the fish.

4th Course - Alaskan King Crab (alternative dish to replace abalone)

Raw legs of Alaskan King Crab were presented to us before chef cooked it on the teppan.

Guest chef Akira Mogi was in town to helm the teppan for 2 months and we were lucky to have him cook for us on his last day at Waku Ghin. He is the teppan general chef "maestro" from Ukai-Tei Group in Japan. I was wondering why he put a pile of sea salt on the teppan...

Then I realised he was going to steam the crab legs on top of it. It was a cooking method that I have not seen before in a teppanyaki restaurant.

The result was the most succulent crab meat I ever tasted. It was so tender that the texture is similar to imitation crab sticks.

5th Course - Canadian Lobster

The most delish lobster bisque. Fresh lobster meat cooked a la minute and a bisque made with shrimp heads/lobster heads stock.

6th Course - Cape Grim Tasmanian Beef Tenderloin

Mouth-watering tender beef with salad of watercress and mitsuna (a type of Japanese veg).

7th Course - Wagyu Beef with Fresh Wasabi, Ponzu Sauce and English Mustard

Chef Mogi started grating fresh wasabi on a grater made with shark's skin surface. Amazing, ain't it?

Don't worry, you will get double serving of this... but the men might need more than 4 morsels to feel satisfied.

We were also served grilled asparagus as a side dish to the Wagyu beef. A simple dish well done!

8th Course - Fugu Fish Soup

I will die (not literally) for this dish again. It's my first time eating Fugu fish soup. Usually, I only get to eat Fugu mirin boshi. This is the tastiest fish soup I ever had.

We then end the savoury aspect of our meal with a special tea ceremony where Chef Mogi prepared Gyokuro tea of us. Gyokuro is a special prized green tea from Kyoto and is made using the young tea leaves. For this tea, luke warm water (around 40-60 °C) is used instead of boiling water.

As a tea lover, I could really appreciate the refined taste of this Gyokuro tea. We were served only a small precious cup to taste. Very memorable.

9th Course - Beetroot Sorbet with Blood Orange Wafer

I never thought beetroot sorbet will taste so good. I mean, I never thought beetroot could be a good ingredient for making sorbet to begin with.

10th Course - Waku Ghin's Signature Lemon Cheesecake

Most of us know that Japanese cheese cakes are well known for their delicate and light tastes. This signature dessert from Waku Ghin will end your meal with a sweet ending.

Overall, Waku Ghin is a perfect ten gastronomic experience. Excellent service too! I would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone in search of a dining experience. I am planning to visit Waku Ghin in the next few weeks as I simply couldn't get enough of it.

Official Site: http://www.marinabaysands.com/Restaurants/Waku_Ghin.aspx

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