Friday, February 10, 2012

Ginza Sushi Ichi

Having heard months ago about this 1 Michelin Star restaurant from Tokyo opening its doors in Singapore, I've been waiting to go there! And luckily, they open at 5.30pm (yes tell me, which restaurant opens at 5.30pm for dinner??? I have yet to find one on our sunny shores) for dinner! So I was able to try it with my family today (:

The menu for dinner is purely set based, meaning you choose the price of the set you want and they'll give you the dishes accordingly. 4 prices, 210, 250, 350 and 450. All comes with appetizer, assorted sashimi (types of sashimi given varies with price), assorted nigri sushi (no. of pieces vary according to the prices think its 6, 8, 10, 12 if I'm not wrong!), miso soup and dessert. My family chose the 350 set. Of course, these are ++ prices!

The restaurant itself is small, much smaller than Shinji. The counter that we were seated at has I think about 10 seats or so? And they have an extra private room which doesnt seat many people as well, so yup, capacity's quite small!

Tonight, when we arrived at 5.45pm for dinner, we were the only ones until about 7pm? Another 3 ladies walked in! So before that we were chatting away happily with the waitress, whom I'll talk more about later!

See that thing they use to put the chopstick on? There are mini flowers in it and guess what, THEY ARE REAL. I didnt know till the waitress told us! And they put water into that thingy as well! Each chopstick holder (I guess they're called that) has different flowers placed in it! Everything's imported from Japan, even the chopsticks! (on a side note, I LOVE how windy the weather is at night nowadays!)

What's in front of my eyes

(L-R) Potato from Kyoto, Fish from the river, Vegetable ball, Flounder wrapped in Sea Kelp

The potato is something like a mochi-ish thing, it was slightly sticky and soft and that bean thing on top of it went really well together with it! I love the clean tasting feel of this potato!

Fish - its something like a mini shishamo (yknow the one at sakae or wherever that is grilled and has roe in its belly? The thing that we call pregnant fish haha). It was fresh, and filled w roe! Nicely grilled

Loved the vegetable ball the most, its made from the same potato as the first one on the left but this one has a different taste idk why, you must try it to know the taste, v unique!

Flounder in sea kelp didnt have much going on tastewise

Overall - 3.8/5

Sashimi - Flounder

The flounder isnt one of the fish that I like as sashimi I must say. The flesh isnt very sweet, not much taste as well? The sushi chef put the wasabi on the sashimi and rolled it up then asked us to dip it into the soy sauce when we asked how we are supposed to eat it! So I guess that's the proper way to eat sashimi? Instead of our usual put wasabi in soy sauce way haha. 2.5/5

Sashimi - Chutoro

I enlarged this pic because I must show you how beautiful this piece of chutoro is!! Look at the beautiful colours, the marbling, the gleam (I didnt edit the pic, there was seriously a gleam when it was served!) the freshness of this piece!! And boy were we not disappointed! No difficult to bite fibers (unlike certain places which I shall not mention), so soft, almost without needing to bite at all! Few light chews and it disappears. You can taste the fattiness of the fish, the freshness and the sweetness of the meat. Chutoro's not the best grade of toro, think its the 2nd or 3rd but it certainly does not disappoint!! 5/5 

Sashimi - Abalone

Soy sauce, sea salt, plum sauce

My Mom was gushing about this non-stop! It is very crunchy and crisp, you can certainly taste the saltiness of the sea and it really tastes like this has been freshly caught and served to us! The sushi chef told us to put a bit of wasabi on the abalone and then dab it on the sea salt! Plum sauce was for the flounder! I really love how crunchy and fresh this abalone is! Never tried abalone like this before! 5/5

Hairy Crab from Hokkaido, White sesame sauce, Vinegar jelly

The white stuff right at the top is the white sesame sauce but sadly didnt taste of sesame at all. This dish was possibly the worst of the night because 1) couldnt taste ANY crab, no sweetness/freshness of the crab at all because it was quite a small piece, hidden beneath the sauce (which tasted bland) and in the middle of a pile of radish? (Not sure if it was radish but some white veg cut into shreds) and 2) there was too much of everything else - sauce, radish or wtv that totally covered the crab! Vinegar jelly was really yummy though, scooped up every last bit I could of it! 2/5

Grilled sea bream with bamboo shoot

Now this fish wasnt nicely done, it was slightly hard and dry, 2 words I dont normally use when eating fish prepared by the Jap, but sadly my parents and I all agreed on this for this dish :/ We gave feedback to the waitress and she told the chefs in the kitchen! Bamboo shoot was v crunchy though, nice. I like the way the japs handle bamboo shoots! 2.5/5

Deep fried sea perch

Now this fared MUCH better though its deep-fried! Mom was commenting about how much skill they have to execute such a dish so excellently! The exterior is crispy and beautifully fried, has the aroma that comes with deep frying but the inside, oh wow, moist, soft, and melt in the mouth. Wonderful textures and aroma! The bell peppers were crunchy, the veg behind the fish (not sure if you can see it!) was cold, not sure if its intended that way? The sauce (the a little bit sticky-ish thing at the bottom) is vinegar sauce I think! Liked the sour twang it added to this dish! 4.5/5

Finger towel, hand towel

That smaller one is to clean your fingers because you'd need to use your hands for some of the sushi coming up next!

Scroll up and look at the sashimi plates, on it, besides the sashimi, is radish and onion shreds! In order not to waste, the sushi chef wrapped them in nori (seaweed) and sprinkled sesame seeds on it and served it to us. It also serves as a palette cleanser to prepare us for the sushi! This was to be eaten with our hands.

Red Snapper

This fish didnt have much of an aroma, soft flesh, nothing spectacular. 3.5/5

Squid (Ikura)

This was really crunchy and so fresh, you can really tell the diff between fresh ones and not so fresh ones! I usually dont like squid, but this was good 4.3/5

Ark Shell (Akagai)

This was super fresh and crunchy, but not sweet. Before molding it w sushi rice, the sushi chef slapped each piece on the board, he says its to give it more texture! 4/5


I loved this! Slightly fatty, sweet tasting and fresh with a little bit of ginger on top. 4.6/5


Again, no taste, not to my liking but as a sushi, fresh so 3/5


Pity it wasnt v sweet! Not much sweet prawn taste though! Definitely crunchy. 3.2/5

Baby Scallops

Now we had to eat this with our hands because its v delicate and crumbles easily if chopsticks were used! First time eating baby scallops sushi, very soft and slightly sweet! But taste of the vinegar in the rice was a little strong for this one 3.2/5

Marinated toro

Sorry I forgot to take a pic of this! It is a shade of intense dark pink, its been marinated in soy sauce and the texture's diff! Its slightly sticky and VERY soft, the fatty taste of the toro is slightly killed off though but I quite welcome it because the fattiness can get a bit too much for me! But Mom likes the normal toro though! 4.5/5


Once again, beautifully marbled, so pretty, so fresh. Mom commented the colours were really pretty and that it resembled the lobster shell! Haha. No surprise that this was as good as the sashimi we had previously, melt in your mouth, no fibers, fatty piece of goodness!!! 5/5

Anago 2 ways - sweet sauce and salt with a sprinkle of yuzu

Now this was A STAR. I loved both versions, Mom and Dad loved salt more. We were recommended to eat the salt one first and boy oh boy were we in for a treat! The eel was SO sweet, the taste of the eel was so strong (in a very good way) and the salt just brought out the sweetness even more! The natural taste of the eel totally shone through. Mind you, this is not unagi. Anago is sea eel while unagi is river eel! The sweet sauce one, my parents felt covered the sweetness of the anago a little but to me, it was as nice and a different sort of nice because for this you taste the yuzu as well, so interplay of a few diff flavours in your mouth! Parents and I all gushed about this dish! 5/5

Miso Soup

Whats different is that they put spring onion shreds and chilli pepper flakes in the soup! The flakes are mega small but you can taste a slight spicy taste when you drink the soup! Nice change to the usual miso. Its a small cute bowl and that's good because by now, Mom and I were uh quite full haha. 4/5

You have a choice of 1 scoop of ice cream/sorbet for dessert, pay additional $12 and you get another scoop! We tried all their flavours except for the orange sorbet.

Mango Ice Cream

This didnt taste like mango at all sadly, doesnt have the creamy taste/texture one normally associates with ice cream! I suspect their ice cream/sorbets are homemade! 2.6/5 

Watermelon sorbet and Green tea ice cream

Watermelon sorbet tasted like watermelon haha, not too icy, definitely not too sweet like there was an overdose of sugar. Green tea was great!!!! Not v milky, strong green tea taste. Loved it! Watermelon sorbet - 4.3/5 green tea - 4.6/5

Orange ice cream and Mint sorbet

This was what Dad had, sorry didnt take a picture but its not some normal orange but its a type of orange from Japan (forgot the name sorry!) but it didnt taste like orange!! Maybe thats what the fruit tastes like, I'm not sure, interesting though! Mint sorbet was super refreshing! Our waitresses' fav! Orange - 3.6/5 mint - 4.3/5 

Sushi chef for tonight, our waitress

There are actually 2 sushi chefs, this guy's from Tokyo and has been making sushi for 27 years! The other guy's his disciple, from Hokkaido, making sushi for 23 years! Tokyo chef's been here for 2 months whilst Hokkaido chef only 2 weeks! So yup. And strangely, this Tokyo chef likes chilli crab and so does the chef we became friends w at Shinji! Maybe its a trend haha. And STRANGELY they like Singapore's weather zomg (I mean these 2 ppl pictured here) haha wow I'd trade places for Japan manz. Well, grass is greener on the oth side I guess? 

We had a real nice time talking to the sushi chefs and the waitress! They're super nice and FUNNY and friendly!!! My dad asked him how come their hands are still in such good condition though they keep dealing w water and stuff, like if they use hand creams or anything then the chef replied, no I'm very oily! *proceeds to pretend to wipe his forehead and put on his hands* hahahahha MEGA funny guy~ then he says Singapore's so hot, so I sweat so even better! Hahahha. They're such a friendly and nice bunch! So since you're sitting in front of them for dinner, please feel free to talk to them! The waitress has a pretty good grasp of English and she's v willing to translate for you! (:

Oh and service was v good and polite, your green tea gets changed regularly, they change your cup, not top up!

Strangely enough, I just realised I've never blogged about Shinji! Well truth to be told, Shinji still holds the top spot in me and my parents' hearts even after today's meal at Sushi Ichi! At Shinji, all the dishes are hits, high quality and v wide variety + more worth the price vs Sushi Ichi which has hits and misses and not as wide a variety! But at Sushi Ichi, the people can speak more English (ok maybe only that waitress) so yup! Depends on you! Oh Shinji now has 2 locations, one at Raffles Hotel, one at Tong Le Private Dining at OUE Tower. That's where our fav sushi chef is located at now permanently! We'd been to Shinji twice or thrice now and we'll still be frequenting them (: But be prepared to pay though! Prices are sth like Sushi Ichi's!

Ginza Sushi Ichi
Level 2 Scotts Square
Lunch - noon to 3pm (4 course degustation menus from $60)
Dinner - 5.30pm to 10.30pm


  1. Hi, nice post. I have been wondering about this topic,so thanks for sharing. I will certainly be subscribing to your blog.

  2. Hmmm ... Yes, I agree with your comments and tasting notes. Just went there yesterday and had the S$250 set. It was good but not superlatively good. I will still rank Shinji and even Tatsuya above them. But good effort though. And very friendly.


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