The Place Located in Mandarin Gallery in Orchard Road, Sushi Ayumu specialises in traditional Edo or Tokyo style sushi, helmed by Head Chef Ryoichi Nakatani, who was previously from Sushi Roku Roku in Grand Hyatt Tokyo. Ayumu means walking towards a new beginning in Japanese, and Sushi Ayumu symbolises that ideology as it is a rebranded concept from the previous Hashida Sushi. There are not many fine dining Japanese restaurant in Singapore like Sushi Ayumu, as the entrance is extremely mysterious. There is no sign of how the restaurant looks from the outside, but once I stepped in, it feels like I am transported to Japan.
There are three main dining rooms here, with one being a private room for events. The other two dining rooms are characterised by its counter style setting where you are able to watch the chef at work in close view. The whole dining ambience feels very zen, especially from the heavy use of wood in the restaurant. It also helps that I have no idea what is happening outside of the restaurant since there are no windows, which makes me focus on the food and dining experience solely.
Sushi Ayumu in amongst our favourite restaurants we dined in for 2018, and featured in the Best New Restaurants in 2018 list too!
The Food Ingredient is key for Edo style sushi. Most of the ingredients are sourced from trusted suppliers from Toyosu Market in Tokyo (the new Tsukiji Market) and Kyushu. The Sushi Ayumu Omakase Lunch Menu (12-piece nigiri) starts from S$120. The Dinner Menu starts from S$280, all featuring the signature Ayumu Roll.
We started with a seasonal appetiser, Uni Egg Custard. It looks like a pudding, where the uni is hidden beneath the pudding itself. Even with the uni, the flavour is quite light which is probably a good way to start the gastronomic journey.
The next course is something I look forward to, sashimi. The surprise and highlight for me comes in the form of a breed of the yellow tail fish, Buri. Buri is a bigger size yellow tail fish, typically about 10-15kg and only available during winter. It is characterised by its fatty meat and flavour, and evidently enough, there is so much umami in its flavour. It reminds me of otoro, and somehow I prefer it to the otoro which is served alongside here. The Otoro here is grilled briefly over binchotan, so you still get that soft and slightly charred flavour which makes it melt-in-the-mouth.
Moving on to the sushi proper, a noteworthy mention is the use of premium Hokkaido Nanatsuboshi rice here. The rice is marinated with their in-house blend of three types of red vinegar, and true enough, it is delicious even on its own.
The first sushi I had is the Akami Zuke, lean wild blue fin tuna marinated with soya sauce. Akami is often regarded as more flavourful than chutoro or otoro, but I still prefer the fatty cuts over akami. Regardless, this is a well-marinated piece which is delicious.
Next up is Kamasu in Bincho Sushi, where the Japanese Barracuda is first torched over binchotan then garnished with sea urchin salt. The effect of the binchotan is quite subtle, yet it gives the fish a soft and tender texture.
The Botan Ebi is very fresh. I am intrigued by the green hue of the marinated ebi roe.
Who doesn’t love Chutoro? The hon-maguro sushi here is brushed with soya sauce, and it is definitely a treat I don’t mind having again.
For the Kinmedai, or the golden-eye snapper, the fish skin here is lightly seared so you get a little of the fatty fish oil flavour, which I enjoy.
The interesting bit about the Kohada next is the shape of it. It is thinly sliced, then deftly braided by chef before it is being sprayed with yuzu zest.
The next sushi is the Aki Sake, which is a trout roe marinated with soya sauce and saikyo miso from Kyoto. The role of the miso here is to lend it a milder flavour.
As we proceed on the dinner, the flavour of the courses get progressively richer. Uni lovers will rejoice at the Gunkan Maki with Uni, a luscious Hokkaido Bafun Uni with a very sweet and creamy texture. Even the seaweed which wraps the rice here is not to be neglected, as it is a premium seaweed which is only allocated by bidding. This is Uni heaven.
Nodoguro, otherwise known as sea perch, is another sushi which is being binchotan. The nature of nodoguro is that the meat is very fatty throughout the fish, not just limited to a particular part. True enough, the flavour of the nodoguro is full of umami and is one of my favourite courses.
The Shijimi Miso Soup is served at this point, which is a bowl of mini Japanese clams which gives the soup a natural sweetness.
The second last savoury course is the Ayumu Roll, a combination of some of the most premium ingredients. There is the fatty Buri, Bafun Uni, Chutoro and Shiso leaf. My only gripe is that I wish we were served two pieces instead!
The last savoury course is the Tamagoyaki, which looks like an ordinary tamago roll but contains more than it seems. The egg roll here has elements of shrimp and fish paste, mountain yam and dashi, hence the texture is quite solid and the flavours are well-rounded.
Finally, the last course is the Dessert which is a typical selection of seasonal Japanese fruits.
Rants While prices for lunch sets starts from S$120, dinner menu starts from S$280 per person, more than double the price for lunch.
Will I Return Again? Sushi Ayumu is a fine Japanese dining journey. It is by no means cheap, but it gets you the Japanese experience without flying to Japan. The ingredients are fresh, while the service is attentive and it also helps that Chef Ryoichi has a great personality which further elevates the overall dining experience. The next restaurant to bookmark for a celebratory occasion?
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Make your reservation instantly at Sushi Ayumu here.
Taste bud: 4.5/5
Hole in the pocket: 4.5/5
Overall Experience: 4.5/5
Tuesday to Sunday: 12.00pm to 3.00pm, 7.00pm to 10.00pm
Closed on Mondays
Ranted by The Ranter