Tburu is not one of those restaurants you'd passed by and say "Let's go in and have a meal". It is hidden away on level 5 in Orchardgateway@Emerald, accessible only by a lift from within Crate & Barrel.
The lift seem to have transported us to a parallel universe when its door opened. Very tranquil and no one in sight, a far contrast to the hustle bustle of Orchard Road we have experienced just seconds ago. So here we were, beyond the white paneled entrance is a contemporary looking Japanese restaurant specializing in sushi and grilled items.
Designed by famed restauranteur Calvin Yeung, who is also the owner and executive chef of Tburu, this is his latest venture in Singapore after Kiku at Duxton Road and the former One on the Bund at Clifford Pier.
Tburu (pronounced tay-bu-ru) represents "table" in Japanese. "I hope Tburu is an oasis to get away yet not get away. Welcome to my table", says Calvin.
The menu showcases a host of innovative and traditional sushi, sashimi and grill items with ingredients flown in directly from Japan. Lunch Sets such as Ebi Tempura Soba start affordably from $18, going up to $26 for Unagi Donburi and $38 for Chirashi Don.
If you like to be surprised by the chef throughout your meal, Omasake sets are available at $100 and $130 for dinner.
We tried a few items from the ala carte selection, starting off with a pleasing plate of Kanpachi Carpaccio ($22). The thinly-sliced Amberjack was topped with fish roes which gave a pleasurable "popping" sensation in the mouth, and heavily scented with truffle oil. Not your traditional sashimi, but it's very appealing for me has a contemporary palate for it. Purists might still want to go for the traditional sashimi to taste the natural sweetness of the fish.
The Tempura Salad ($14-$16) and Hotate Chawanmushi ($12) were both enjoyable in its simplicity too.
Sushi wise, we thought the rice could be better as it was somewhat lacking the warmness, texture and well-seasoned quality which one would expect from a higher-end Japanese establishment. Still the combination of scallops and foie gras in the Hotate Foagura Maki ($32), and subtle charred aroma and beautiful taste of the torched Aburi Sushi (5 pieces, $38) did distract us a bit from its inadequacy.
In the end, what really stood out were the items from the binchotan charcoal grill. The A4 Japanese Wagyu ($22) from Gunma Japan was grilled to a satisfying tenderness, presented in bell-shaped glass cover and lifted in front of us to release a smoky aroma. Ooh and those slices of succulent Iberico Pork Jaw ($18) from Spain! Sensory gratification in every bite!
It may be a good idea too to heighten the dining experience with some Japanese Sake and Shochu from Kyushu prefecture which is exclusive to Tburu. Matcha Tea whisked in a traditional way worked just as fine for me as well.
All in all, Tburu is truly an oasis along the stretch of concrete jungle. Good for that quiet lunch, or intimate gathering.
Address: #05-01 Orchardgateway@Emerald, 218 Orchard Road, Singapore 238851
Contact: +65 6221 0004
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 11.30am-2.30pm, 5.30pm-10.30pm / Closed on Sunday
Prices stated are subject to service charge and prevailing government taxes.