December 12, 2016

Shoukouwa 小康和, 2-Michelin Star Japanese Fine-Dining Sushi Restaurant @ One Fullerton ~ Very Expensive But Super Delicious Sushi


Pardon our ignorance, but we have not heard of Shoukouwa Sushi Restaurant 小康和 until it was conferred a coveted "excellent cooking and worth a detour" 2-Michelin Star by the inaugural 2016 Michelin Guide Singapore.

Shoukouwa is only Japanese restaurant alongside the other 5 restaurants that also received 2-Michelin Stars, namely André, L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Les Amis, Odette, Shinsen Hanten. This also means a star over the longer-established sushi joints including Shinji (Raffles Hotel), Shinji (St Regis Hotel), and Sushi Ichi.

Such achievement for a restaurant that's barely opened for 4 months when the award was announced? Like cats lured to fishes, our curiosity lured us to Shoukouwa. Guess what, I'm not even a huge sushi fan to begin with, but I was WOWED!

It's easy to get to Shoukouwa's location at One Fullerton (nearest mrt station: Raffles Place NS26/EW14).

Named as an oasis of stillness, serenity and harmony, the restaurant reflects exactly that, though it can also feel a tad stuffy in the narrow enclosed space.

The main sushi bar seats eight person, while the private dining room can accommodate up to six persons.

From the various media reports, it's a well-known fact that Shoukouwa is opened by the Emmanuel Stroobant Group (which also owns Saint Pierre next door) in partnership with Japanese cuisine specialist Hanachiyo.

But it was only halfway through our meal when we learned that Shoukouwa is headed by 35-years old Chef Masakazu Ishibashi, who is also the Executive Managing Director and Executive Head Chef of award-winning Sushi Ichi in Tokyo's Ginza, as well as its outposts in Singapore, Bangkok and Jakarta.

He is widely-acknowledged to be one of the top Japanese chefs.

We count ourselves blessed that the man himself is crafting our sushi that afternoon!

You have to trust Chef Masakazu and his team as only "Omakase" or "leave it to the chef" menu is served at Shoukouwa.

Lunch set starts from $180++ per person for Mio, going up to Miyabi at $320++, and Hana at $480++ for lunch and dinner omakase.

As we didn't know what to expect from this first visit, our intention was to start gentle with Mio which is kinder to our wallets.

But the "What the heck! It didn't get a 2-Michelin star for nothing" moment struck.

So we decided to go for the Miyabi omakase comprising of Appetizers, Sashimi, Cooked Dishes, Nigiri Sushi, Miso Soup, Japanese Omelette and Dessert course.

Any respectable Japanese restaurants in Singapore will get their fishes and seafood supply mostly from Tokyo's famed Tsukiji Market at least once or twice a week, but Shoukouwa get theirs daily!

Only the freshest and finest seasonal produce are used.

I wouldn't profess myself to be an expert in sushi or sashimi, but I do know the bad from good, and the good from great.

The Edomae-style sushi at Shoukouwa were great!

Edomae sushi tradition dates back to the illustrious Edo (old name for Tokyo) era in Japan, where sushi is made with freshly-caught fish from Tokyo Bay.

It also involves the use of various techniques including salting, marinating, boiling and grilling to preserve the fish before the days of refrigeration.

Some sushi highlights of the afternoon include Kinmedai, Shimaji, Aji, Chutoro, Otoro, Anago, Uni as well as Tiger Prawn.

The Otoro was truly a standout. Instead of the usual blowtorch, the premium fattiest tuna cut was lightly-seared using hot binchotan which imparted an aromatic, charcoal smokiness to the fish. I almost teared. #notexaggerating

I also love the Anago, a perfect pairing of soft-boiled sea eel with homemade glazed sweet soy sauce over red vinegar rice.

That Negitoro sushi roll with chopped tuna and rice wrapped with crunchy seaweed was simply delish!

The sushi rice was tasty and prepared to an excellent consistency, being neither too sticky nor too soft.

Each grain was still distinctive and fell apart so beautifully in the mouth together with the fish. The fish to rice ratio were also ideal in each and every piece!

Some sushi are more boldly seasoned than others, and I was sometimes taken aback by the sharpness of wasabi or vinegar which momentarily took away some attention from the fish.

But the flavors all worked well together to provide that lingering, sublime sensation in the mouth.

Our omakase meal also included some cooked dishes, which were served in between the sushi.

One of my favorites was undeniably the Crab Croquette. The super crisp, deep-fried crust bursting with crabmeat and bechamel creaminess was certainly moreish and left me wishing for another.

The thick slices of braised Abalone drizzled with a green matcha-like sauce made of abalone liver were equally delightful.

Uni, Ikura & Crabmeat Rice
! What can I say about this rich and decadent combination of sweet, creamy sea urchin, salmon roe that's bursting with freshness, and refreshing slivers of crabmeat? It was altogether lovely and culminated the meal to a high.

I left Shoukou totally satisfied and feeling my money was well-spent. It was worth the splurge.

The next morning after all that omakase goodness, I woke up with an insane craving for sushi which has never happened in my life before. I want to experience what I had at Shoukouwa all over again.

As mentioned earlier, I'm not a huge sushi fan to begin with, so for a sushi restaurant to have this kind of effect on me really means something.

Too bad reality reminded me that a 2-Michelin star meal that costs a few $50 notes is probably too extravagant to be had frequently. But then again, I will not settle for any run-of-the-mill sushi either.

You probably guessed that I'm going to check out the more affordable 1-Michelin Star Sushi Ichi next. Yes, already made that reservation.

PinkyPiggu's sushi adventure is to be continued.....

Shoukouwa Sushi Restaurant 小康和
Address: 1 Fullerton Road, #02-02A One Fullerton, Singapore 049213
Contact: +65 6423 9939
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun Lunch 12pm-3pm (last seating 2pm) & Dinner 6pm-11pm (last seating 8.30pm) / Closed on Mon

Prices are (1) Stated in Singapore dollars (2) Subject to 10% service charge & 7% GST (3) Correct at point of published date.

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