The Place Has it been six years? It is a well-known fact that Fat Cow restaurant located at Camden Medical Centre serves good Japanese wagyu beef. Managed by Refinery Concepts which also manage restaurants and cafes like Kinki Restaurant + Bar, Bedrock Bar & Grill, The Pelican Seafood Bar & Grill, Oriole Coffee + Bar, the restaurant has recently undergone some minor revamp in its interior and menu. Despite the offbeat location (the nearest MRT station is Orchard which is a good fifteen minutes walk), it was relatively packed on the weekday night we visited. The ambience is casual, with strong Japanese touches from the wooden chairs to the bar tables.
There are three dining sections, with one of its dining room being redesigned to introduce a new 8-seater omakase counter, the Chef’s Table. My first impression was that it felt like I entered a sushi restaurant as the cosy row of seats is probably the most intimate way to engage with the chef over the course of the meal. The new Chef’s Table is helmed by Tokyo-born Chef Shigeru Kasajima, who has a vast culinary experience in various kitchens around the world, including French cuisine during the early years of his career. Our initial chat with Chef Shigeru was that our Omakase meal will be prepared with traditional Japanese ingredients, but there are also fair bits of contemporary elements to the dishes. We were very excited to be surprised along the way.
The Food Our 10-course Omakase Set (S$280++ per person) started with the Tsukidashi (Starter) trio – there’s seaweed simmered in Uma-dashi and hints of Sudachi lime; marinated shoyu-cured egg yolk with a sprinkling of red shiso flowers for a hint of spice; and homemade malted rice miso.
Next course was the Zensai (Appetiser), where we had the refreshing Momotoro tomato which is marinated with dashi broth for three days and topped with housemade tosazu (rice vinegar) jelly. Served in a martini glass, the tomato is topped with Hokkaido Grade A uni (sea urchin) and a drizzle of Chef Kasajima’s shiso-pesto sauce. I was surprised that the tomato and dashi broth went so well together. This is truly appetising, not complaining about the uni of course.
The Wanmomo (Soup) followed where I had the clear, white fish broth which is slow cooked for hours. This soup felt like a palate cleanser at this juncture.
Our next dish was the Yude Kani (Crab), a cold dish of seasonal crab which had a nice natural sweetness in the crabmeat. I would recommend dipping the crabmeat into the special sanbaizu (sweet and sour vinegar) sauce which enhanced the flavour of the crabmeat very well.
Our last course before the seasonal Sashimi and Nigiri Sushi is Wagyu (Beef), also one of my favourite course of the evening. Afterall, what’s a visit to Fat Cow without trying its highly prized wagyu meats? The type of wagyu varies by the day, where we had the Tochigi wagyu beef slices during our visit. The meats are seasoned in yuzu kosho to balance the richness of the meat, and served in a mini charcoal grill where you get to decided how well done you want your meat to be. I highly recommend having it medium-rare which was really very succulent. The well-marbled beef literally melted in my mouth. Three slices ain’t enough.
Sashimi and Nigiri Sushi for the second part of the Omakase dinner set, which varies according to the day’s catch. We started with the fresh shima aji – striped horse mackeral served with a dash of freshly ground Himalayan pink salt. I didn’t dip the fresh slice of sashimi in any soy sauce at all and it was nevertheless delicious!
Our next sashimi was the huge botan ebi. I’m usually wary of ebi sashimi as the taste is very obvious if it is not fresh. Thankfully, this ebi definitely passed the freshness test. The special element here is also the truffle ponzu dipping sauce where the ebi is soaked in, one of the contemporary western influence which chef decided to incorporate.
As part of the Omakase dinner, there is a total of 9 types of nigiri sushi (8 for lunch). One unique thing I noticed is that we were served pickled chrysanthemum to go along with the sushi instead of the usual ginger, which is also one of chef’s modern take on Omakase. We had the Madai (seabream) with yuzu foam and oba (green shiso) pesto; Hirame (Flounder); Aburi Bluefin Tuna Otoro; Hokkaido Grade A uni (sea urchin); Foie Gras; Japanese Baby Leek; a surf ‘n’ turf rendition of A5 wagyu, amaebi shrimp, uni and ikura (salmon roe); Akami Zuke (marinated bluefin tuna); and last but not least, Anago (eel) which is a type of freshwater eel.
Some of the outstanding sushis for me are the divine combination of the A5 wagyu, amaebi shrimp, uni and ikura (salmon roe) as it was like a dream team for me. The madai (seabream) with yuzu foam is also outstanding in terms of the presentation.
Finally, our last savoury course is the miso soup served alongside handmade tamago (Japanese omelette), which is intentionally made slightly sweeter as a prelude to dessert. Take note of the logo on the tamago!
Dessert is nothing fanciful but a plate of sliced Japanese pear, something I always look forward to at the end of a Japanese meal.
If you are looking for sake to go along, go for the Junmai Daiginjo sake which is produced exclusively for Fat Cow by Watanabe Sahei Brewery using Yamada Nishiki rice. The sake has notes of fresh pineapple, with underlying hints of banana, melon and peach. The Omakase dinner is available at S$280++ and omakase lunch at S$120++.
Rants Unfortunately the Camden Medical Centre is undergoing refurbishment currently, and the dining experience may not be as ideal. Although this would just be a temporary issue.
Will I Return Again? Fat Cow has always been the pandas’ to go place for their wagyu don. This visit for its omakase set meal just gave us another reason to be back – although the pricing is definitely steeper than we wished.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Make your reservation instantly at Fat Cow here.
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 4.5/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
Monday to Sunday: 12 to 3pm; 6pm to 11pm
Ranted by The Ranter