The Place It is not easy to find Kappo-style Japanese cuisine in Singapore, hence my excitement when Wagokoro Hide Yamamoto opened about two months ago in Robertson Quay. Under the supervision by Italian and French trained Chef Hide Yamamoto, who is also the head chef behind his restaurant in Marina Bay Sands, this is easily one of my favourite Japanese find dining restaurant in Singapore.
Stepping into the 12-seat counter restaurant is reminiscent of my previous Kaiseki encounters in Kyoto, which offers a good view over the chef preparation of the food I am having as well as a good chance of interaction with the chef. The small and cosy setting of the restaurant is intimate, yet it does not feel overly imposing. For a bigger group, there is also a private dining room.
And if you are lucky, you may spot Chef Hide Yamamoto in action as well!
The Food With fresh seasonal ingredients imported regularly from Tsukiji market and other region of Japan, there is nothing not to love about the Kyoto Kaiseki style of presentation here. The dinner set menu comes in 8,9 or 10 course set, or you can choose from the a la carte menu as well. With a focus on Kappo style Kaiseki, the dishes in our dinner set is prepared from a myriad of cooking techniques, such as cutting, frying, stewing and boiling, with a focus of seasonal ingredients. Expect variances in the set menu every month as the chef aims to showcase different seasonal ingredients on the table. We had the 8-course Ayame dinner menu ($158+).
Appetiser – Chawanmushi with Truffle
We started well with our Chawanmushi with Truffle, one of my favourite courses that night. The truffle essence totally elevated the smooth chawanmushi flavour.
Sashimi – Toro, Aji, Barracuda, Sea Bream
Sashimi is typically served in the first few courses of a Kaiseki meal. At Wagokoro Hide Yamamoto, most of the sashimi is imported from Tsukiji market in Tokyo and needless to say, the ones I tried were all very fresh.
Stew Dish – Kamo Egg Plant with Sea Urchin
Interestingly, the Kamo Egg Plant is a seasonal ingredient from Kyoto, which Chef Yamamoto has shared with us. It is heavier than the usual Egg Plant we are familiar with locally, which is also highly sought after by Japanese chefs. The egg plant is fried in this course, and served with a generous slab of Uni (sea urchin). The Uni is perhaps the best I had so far, so smooth in texture and refined in taste.
Grilled Dish – Black Cod Marinated Miso with Truffle Edamame
The surprise element of this grilled course is not the cod fish, but the truffle Edamame. Even the Rantee who is usually not a fan of Edamame raved about it. The truffle taste is very subtle.
Fried Dish – Asparagus rolled by Pike Conger
The Pike Conger is a type of eel, which is quite a traditional food in Japanese cuisine. It takes much skill to slice the meat off, keep it intact, while ensuring that the bones are within 2mm so that it does not pose a danger to diners. The chef here at Wagokoro Hide Yamamoto is probably the only certifed chef in Singapore at the moment who is able to sliced the meat off professionally. Deep fried and wrapped in Asparagus, this is also one of the dishes I enjoyed the most. A notable mention is the fried green pepper served alongside the dish, which spotted a tinge of spiciness and made me exclaim how on earth can this green pepper taste so good. The green pepper is also a seasonal ingredient directly from Kyoto.
Duck Consommé Oden – Radish, Fish Cake and Tamago
Akin to our local Yong Tau Foo, Oden is typically a winter dish with several ingredients such as boiled eggs, daikon and fish cakes in Dashi broth. Chef Yamamoto decided to incorporate a local twist to this traditional dish by using Duck Consommé instead of Dashi.
Handmade Cold Soba Noodles
Our last savory course is the handmade soba together with the sauce.
Mango Pudding with Rum and Raisin Ice-cream
The sweet ending.
Rants It is not as value for money to go for the a la carte dishes here. For a wholesome dining experience, especially if you have not tried a Kaiseki style meal before, the set meals are the way to go.
Will I Return Again? At the end of my meal, I felt like I was transported to Kyoto. With an all Japanese team and a strong commitment to bring the best seasonal ingredients to the table, this is one kaiseki dinner set I will return for again to relive that authentic Japanese fine dining experience.
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 4.5/5
Overall Experience: 4.5/5
Wagokoro Hide Yamamoto
60 Robertson Quay #01-04A
Tel: +65 6733 6315
Mon to Sat: 11.30am – 2pm, 6pm – 11pm (Last Order 10.30pm)
Ranted by The Ranter