Sushi Chi­haru

Wine & Dine - - RESTAURANTS - 45A Cup­page Road. Tel: 6835 3539

Now more than a year old, this is not a new place. What’s more, its lo­ca­tion at Cup­page Ter­race puts it in com­pany with sev­eral other choices for Ja­pa­nese fare. None­the­less, Sushi Chi­haru, nes­tled within Ta­maya Din­ing, of­fers an un­pre­ten­tious school in the art of Edo­mae sushi. This is the style that em­pha­sises cook­ing meth­ods such as boil­ing, and cur­ing with salt, vine­gar or soya sauce.

Ex­pect your teach­ers to be youth­ful chefs. Chef Issei Taba (21) and Chef Naka­hara Saya (28), top grad­u­ates of re­spected culi­nary school In­syoku­jin Col­lege, are the lat­est chefs from Sushi Chi­haru Osaka to be hand­picked to helm the Sin­ga­pore out­post. No­tably, the moth­er­ship has main­tained a Miche­lin Bib Gour­mand award for the last three years, awarded to restau­rants with good food at good prices.

Over an unas­sum­ing 12-seat counter, two din­ner menus are prof­fered, the 10-piece Ni­giri Sushi Course ($90) or the 18-course omakase menu ($140) com­pris­ing three ap­pe­tis­ers, two sea­sonal sashimi, a sea­sonal dish, their 10-piece ni­giri sushi, a soup and a dessert.

If you have the 18-course meal, which is fill­ing but doesn’t leave you heav­ing out the door, you’d get to sam­ple what’s best in sea­son. When we were there a few weeks ago, we had dishes that brought sum­mer to a close such as ko­mochi ayu, or sweet­fish filled with fish roe, salted and grilled over the char­coal. We also en­joyed the ho­tate or scal­lops tinged with smok­i­ness and sweet­ness, pre­pared by sim­mer­ing in dashi and soya sauce for a day then lighted grilled just be­fore serv­ing.

Among the ni­giri sushi served up, a few high­lights were the ika (squid) ni­giri, topped with squid ink salt, and the anago or salt­wa­ter eel ni­giri, first boiled then grilled on a bam­boo leaf, and fin­ished with a dash of san­sho pep­per and a re­duc­tion of soya sauce and its own juices. The break-apart tex­ture of the anago is def­i­nitely quite dif­fer­ent from that of the un­agi or fresh­wa­ter eel you might be more fa­mil­iar with. We were also charmed by the light, pil­lowy tex­ture of the ker­ayaki, a take on tam­agoy­aki with a lit­tle sushi rice wrapped within. Made with lo­cally sourced eggs by whip­ping egg whites into a meringue and fold­ing the yolk in, the restau­rant tells us this dish is one that draws on of the long­est queues at their Osaka flag­ship. A fi­nal sweet end­ing to the meal was a lovely matcha pud­ding made with kuromitsu, a sugar syrup de­rived from Ok­i­nawa dark brown sugar.

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