I had been craving for some fresh sashimi for a while since I got here. Japanese food is very popular and there are plenty of sushi bars, sushi trains, teppanyaki restaurants, and don cafes around. Every mall has at least a few of these!
I tempted Eileen into eating at Ion with me and she recommended Itacho, which had been recommended to her by several friends. They said it was the only place they would go in Singapore for sushi now! Must be good :D
The menu was beautiful and wide-ranging, with many many different types of nigiri and rolls available, as well as other Japanese staple foods - udon, tempura and the like. The range of fresh fish was astounding!
This one particularly excited me:
I have never had the chance to experience fatty tuna before, as we don't get supply of this good quality blue-fin to NZ. Toro (this section of the tuna belly) is highly prized for its scarcity, and the tender melt-in-your-mouth flavour that comes from the rivulets of intramuscular fat that run through the meat.
The tick-box ordering forms, categorised and colour-coded. How Japanese!
People sitting at the long sushi bar have the chance to watch the sushi chefs preparing the fish. In Singapore these a-la-carte sushi bars are considered as more high class, where as back home in Auckland there are only 2 sushi trains and they are the most expensive in town!
Discovered from the place-mat that Itacho is a chain from Hong Kong!! Of course, we HK always come up with the best! This branch at Orchard Rd is the only one in Singapore.
We started off with this Fairy Shrimp. It was super fresh and had that sweet flavour that is unique to raw shrimp.
Itacho Live Shrimp, Salmon and Fatty Salmon. The difference in taste between the Salmon and the Fatty Salmon was not so pronounced - it could be described more as a difference in mouth feel, as the fat presented a more melting, softer texture as well as a slightly more intense 'salmon fat' flavour.
Raw and Grilled Scallop. The Raw Scallop again has a very unique, sweet flavour as well as that delicious squishy texture. It was very fresh. The Grilled Scallop was slightly firmer after being flamed by a brulee torch. It was presented with a small dab of salty ginger paste on top to enhance the flavours.
This Jellyfish Salad was delicious and refreshing. Raw jellyfish tentacles have a texture something like rubber bands, though not chewy (and not that I have eaten rubber bands before!). Marinated with soy, sugar and chili, and served with cucumber base and sesame seeds, this was a great palate lifter! I love jellyfish!
The stars of the night: Toro, Fatty Yellow Tail, Grilled Toro. The Raw Toro (top, front) was amazingly marbled and almost looked like a piece of wagyu. The texture was as sublime - the marbled fat creating that full and rounded mouthfeel. The tuna flavour did not really overwhelm, however; it was quite different from anything i had ever tasted before.
The Fatty Yellow Tail was a lot less fatty than the tuna - a good firm white fish texture and the tiny dab of minced ginger/garlic/caper/oil on top really enhanced the flavour.
Grilled Toro was just as amazing texturally as the Raw Toro, but the grilling process had brought out the oils a little more making it feel more oily than fatty. Would also have preferred it a little more charred on top! The addition of the julienned onions was great though.
That was my splurge meal of the week - new experiences in raw fish that I am now SUPER keen to try again!
Why oh why, Auckland?! We are surrounded by water! Toro toro toro!!!