July 25, 2015
Aoki Japanese Restaurant By Les Amis @ Shaw Centre ~ Impressive Ambience, Food Quality & Service!
Aoki Japanese Restaurant, a joint venture between owner-chef Kunio Aoki and the Les Amis Group, is considered to be one of the finest purveyor of Japanese haute cuisine in Singapore. It has been on my to-go-list for the longest time but what took me so long then?
One, the price point. It's stated on their website that the minimum spending (for food only) is $100++ (Mon-Thu) and $180++ (Fri-Sat) per person. Fortunately, lunch is easier on the wallet with sets starting from $33++. Second, getting a reservation at this exclusive 46-seater restaurant at our preferred day and timing could be difficult as the place is really popular.
But I'm so glad I made it recently for lunch afterall. The visit left me totally impressed with their ambience, food quality and service.
The simple yet elegant entrance leads into a wood-dominated interior that embodies warmth and the essence of Zen minimalism. Space can be described as rather small, but artfully divided into separate areas including three booth tables which offer a "cocoon-ish" sense of privacy.
A flight of illuminated stairs brings diners down to the bar counter. If you like to watch the chefs in action (men who can cook are very charming!), this is where you should request to be seated.
I was happy with the natural daylight that streamed gently along our booth table, because it means... no yellowish food photos that requires heavy editing lol!
The lunch menu includes the well-received Mazechirashi ($40), a sushi rice bowl topped with mixed sashimi. It has gained quite a reputation for being one of the best chirashi don in town.
We could be deemed weird for not giving this popular dish a try, but I'm not too great a fan of raw food to begin with, and my friend's appetite that day wanted sushi instead. His Nigiri Sushi Tokusen ($55) came with nine types of sushi and one sushi roll served with salad, chawanmushi, miso soup and dessert.
His verdict of his sushi meal: "Fresh and good". I can take him for his words as he's fond of Japanese cuisine and dines regularly at Nadaman (another renowned fine dining Japanese restaurant).
I opted for the Wa Teishoku ($40) set comprising of boiled vegetables, half-boiled egg served with rice, pickles, miso soup and an utterly melt-in-the-mouth tender grilled silver cod in teriyaki sauce.
We were talking about the social media scene and how its influence on F&B cannot be simply dismissed, when we decided to check out Aoki on Instagram. What we saw was a titillating feed of vibrantly-colored chirashi don and... oh my goodness!... many pictures of yummy-looking beef bowl!
Somehow the item wasn't stated on the menu shown to us, but upon checking with the waiter that it's available upon request, we quickly placed an order.
We were intoxicated by a wave of truffle scent when the Saga Beef Don with Truffle ($75) arrived at our table! Laced with freshly shaved truffles and accompanied by a perfectly-wobbly onsen egg sitting daintily in the center, the entire beef rice bowl was a combination of luscious indulgence and source of gastronomy happiness.
Beef slices were superbly well-marbled and prepared to our preferred medium-rare doneness with that coveted juicy, tender bite. Flavors that accompanied each mouthful were simply gorgeous, with the truffle scent lingering on. The overall experience was worth every cent of that price. Definitely my personal best, and possibly the best in Singapore!
Our meal ended with a dessert trio of warabi mochi, homemade ice cream and plum wine jelly. Everything was faultless.
And I can say that of the service too. Attentive but not intrusive, with enough smiles to put me at ease even with all our questions thrown at them.
Aoki is certainly one of the best Japanese restaurants in Singapore that I look forward to revisit again.
Aoki Japanese Restaurant
Address: 1 Scotts Road, #01-17 Shaw Centre, Singapore 228208
Contact: +65 6333 8015
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat Lunch 12pm-3pm & Dinner 6.30pm-11pm / Closed on Sun