The Place Who would have expected a Japanese Omakase restaurant to open in Jalan Besar or Lavender? I checked out Southpaw Bar & Sushi recently, a 12-seater all-counter seats intimate restaurant at Cavan Road (same street as Red Eye Smokehouse and The Chinese Kitchen) for its reasonably priced Omakase set, with the cheapest option being the Omakase Ume set at S$78++ per person.
The first thing which caught my attention is how narrow and long the shophouse is, reminding me of the typical Vietnamese houses. Southpaw is run by owner Roy, who is a whiskey connoisseur and has a huge collection of whiskeys to pair with the food.
The Food The man who helms the kitchen is Chef Kenny, who has many years of experience in Japanese cuisine in his previous stints in Nogawa and Tatsuya. I went for the Omakase Matsu (S$138++) set, which include chef’s selection of two appetisers, sashimi carpaccio, sashimi, seven types of sushi, termaki roll, chef’s special miso soup and dessert. We started with a trio of appetisers – Scottish Oyster, Cod’s Milt (Shirako) and Tomatoes. I am usually not a big fan of oyster but this is very fresh and creamy in texture. There is also the Omakase Take (S$108++) option which has one less appetiser and sushi, as well as without the termaki roll as opposed to the Omakase Matsu option.
Shirako is probably one of the most exotic dish in Japanese cuisine. The texture is slimy, but once you go beyond what it is, the creamy texture makes this delicacy a delight to have.
Next up is the Flounder fish with uni and ikura. There is something about having uni and ikura together which makes me go wow, so you can imagine the explosion of fresh flavours here along with the flounder fish.
One of Chef’s signature dish, the salmon belly carpaccio doesn’t disappoint. Topped with bonito flakes and caviar, there is also a dash of truffle oil here which compliments the flavours well without being too overpowering.
Sashimi is one of my favourite parts of any Omakase meals. The ones I had at Southpaw include a variety of Otoro, mackerel, sea bream, octopus, white tuna, shrimp, ark shell, all in thick slices. The flavours are all very fresh, with my favourites being the otoro and white tuna.
One of the most pivotal For sushi, there are 8 varieties for the set – Shima Aji, Bluefin tuna, Horse mackerel, Shrimp, Uni, Anago (sea eel), Salmon with sesame sauce and Scallop with foie gras.
The ones which left a deeper impression on me are the salmon and scallop sushi. The salmon sushi is spread with sesame sauce before being lightly seared, which is quite a nice deviation from the conventional style. I love the taste of the sesame sauce on the fresh salmon.
The scallop with foie gras is also another outstanding sushi. A thick slab of foie gras is placed atop the scallop, before it is lightly seared. The final texture of both scallop and foie gras are so soft that it literally melts in the mouth. This is quite an orgasmic explosion.
Miso soup is the last savoury course, before dessert is served, which is a simple yuzu jelly infused with gin.
Rants It’s not the most comfortable setting with the tight space and bar chairs which you can’t lean backwards completely to rest your back.
Will I Return Again? Other than the value for money Omakase set, the main differentiating trait at Southpaw from other Japanese restaurants is the personalised and homely service by owner Roy and his tight crew. Southpaw is a pleasant surprise.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 4/5
Overall Experience: 3.5/5
Southpaw Bar & Sushi
11 Cavan Road, Cavan Suites, #01-04
Tel: +65 9101 1941
Monday to Saturday: 6pm to 12am
Closed on Sundays
Ranted by The Ranter