I do dine at Mandarin Gallery from time to time as I love the convenience of its location along Orchard Road. Having visited the more popular joints within like Ippudo Ramen, Lawry's Prime Ribs, Providore Café, Wild Honey, Arteastiq amongst others, there's also Suju Japanese Restaurant which I've been wanting to try but never did until a few days ago. Why??? Because it's situated right beside Ippudo and I always gave in to the temptation of delicious ramen instead lol. Well, better late than never, because it is here at Suju that I had one of the best dining experience in Singapore this year! Its teishoku lunch set and service were all top-notch!
My friend and I did not make any reservations (oops) and was glad Suju was able to accommodate us when we walked in at 12pm for lunch. Counter seats were initially offered to us, which would be an ideal spot to enjoy our meal while watching the chefs in action at the same time, but we prefer to have more privacy for some catch-up that day. Thank God for blessing us with a table eventually, as the whole place was filled up in no time shortly after we were seated. Most of the lunch crowd looked to be Japanese!
Suju specializes in Teishoku, which is a Japanese home-style set meal of main dish served with rice and miso soup.
A set starts from $21 for Tamagotoji Teishoku (stir-fried chicken and eggs in iron pot) to $54 for 200g Australia Wagyu Beef Sirloin Steak Teishoku. For even further indulgence, premium sets of Tempura ($68), Gindara ($78) and Wagyu ($98) which includes 6 kinds of appetizers, sashimi and dessert of Suju-style almond pudding are also available. Prices are quite pricey, not exactly affordable for everyday lunchtime dining (at least for me), but still reasonable and of great value considering the excellent food quality.
As Suju is the restaurant arm of Suju Masayuki Shoten in Nagano, Japan which manufactures miso, vinegar and soy sauce, the food served in Suju restaurant naturally uses their own products. Most of the ingredients used are also sourced locally from Nagano, and I dare say their fine quality is easily distinguishable even to the most undiscerning tastebuds.
Even the humble slices of cucumber paired with bean sauce which is included in the recommended Suju Plate Set ($27 for six assorted dish with rice set and dessert) was extremely agreeable. Its texture was shattering crunchy and light, totally unlike the usual variety we were accustomed to. How could a simple vegetable taste so sublime?
The other dishes included in the set, from deep-fried pork cutlet, grilled mackerel, to miso eggplant, mentaiko (fish roe) and tamagoyaki (rolled omelette), were all just as delicious. The pork cutlet was tender and juicy, its crust was utterly crispy with no greasiness at all. This rendition can certainly can fight my favorite tonkatsu place - Saboten!
We also ordered the Gindara Misozuke Yaki Teishoku ($36) with a generous cut of fresh silver cod as the main star. It was beautifully charcoal grilled to perfect moist tender meat and crispy skin, with lovely bursts of charred bits completing a satisfying mouthfeel. The marination and sauce for the fish was done using Suju's own miso, a very lip-smacking taste of savory saltiness which also made a superb pairing with rice. Oh my oh my, the rice here is super super awesome!
The very first thing that grabbed our attention was the rice's appearance. Not all shades of white are of equal beauty (I wonder if there are 50 shades?), and this white rice was practically glistening like mini pearls in the bowl. Its sheen was so gorgeous and alluring! Taste and texture wise, it was divine! Each grain was comfortingly warm, and had an ideal slightly sticky, al-dente bite with an indescribable addictive aromatic aftertaste. Its amazing yumminess compelled us to order a second helping (rice is free-flow with the set), even though I'm restricting my intake of carbs. But for this rice, it was worth it. Eat already have 幸福的感觉!!! 最高の幸せ!!! (feelings of bliss and happiness)
When you know the origins of the rice, you'd probably go... "no wonder!". Suju uses super premium Koshihikari rice especially sourced from Iizuka in Nagano, Japan. Its name means "light of koshi" and originates from Koshi, an old province in Japan which covers the birthplace of koshihikari in Niigata prefecture. This short-grain rice has since been cultivated in other regions in Japan, and Iizuka is one of the special "A" class areas nominated for producing this rice.
Though already famed for its unique supreme characteristics, Suju brings this koshihokari rice a notch higher by cooking it in a special handmade copper pot which is said to give it a more flavorful and elastic finish, because the copper pot is able to evenly conduct heat better. As the rice is cooked in small batches, its freshness is almost always guaranteed.
My camera failed to capture the best esthetics of the rice, nor my words can depict its delectable taste to the fullest. Best is to experience the goodness yourself. Go try!
We left after finishing our dessert which came with the Suju Plate Set - a serving of rich and creamy Custard Pudding with bittersweet caramel sauce - feeling greatly gratified, highly happy, and deeply delighted!
Suju Japanese Restaurant 酢重シンガポール
Address: 333A Orchard Road, #04-05 Mandarin Gallery, Singapore 238897
Contact: +65 67377764
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun Lunch 11.30am-5pm, Dinner 5pm-10.30pm