Food Review: Omakase @ Stevens | Japanese-French Style Kaiseki Dinner With Premium Ingredients
The Place Located in Stevens Road, I checked out the one year old Omakase @ Stevens recently and this Japanese restaurant does seem quite under-the-radar. It is a pretty open concept and cosy space with counter seats, so you will be able to interact with the chef directly as part of the dining experience. I like the use of wooden finishing such as the table too and dining chairs, and overall the interior looks zen and apt for a Japanese Omakase meal.
The restaurant is helmed by Nagano Borneo Executive Chef Shusuke Kubota, who has years of experience with Japanese cuisine and French cooking techniques and I was looking forward to trying the Japanese-French dishes.
The Food There is only one menu and the restaurant is only opened for dinner currently. And to start, I had the Junmai Daiginjo Sake here which is also served in Singapore Airlines First Class.
For The Winter Omakase Course (S$280 ++ per person), it started with the Kegani – Seasonal Hairy Crab Meats on Cauliflower Puree, Ratatouille Accompanied with Tomato Consommé Jelly Topped with Sea Urchin. I love how vibrant the colours are, and the portion is a generous heaps of Hokkaido hairy crab. I can’t resist fresh Uni and it goes so smoothly with the tomato consommé jelly here.
Next up is the Hassun, a series of small courses where I had the Foie Gras – Goose Liver Mousse on Homemade Cookies Topped with a Sliced of Seasonal Setoka Orange; Wakasagi – Deep-Fried Smelt Fish with Wasabi Mayonnaise Topped with Shredded Seaweed Floss; Kaki – Slow-Cooked Sakoshi Bay Oyster Coated with Oyster Juice Gelatin Topped with Champagne Vinegar Foam and Dashes of Homemade Chili Oil. My favourite here is the Foie Gras sandwich in the delicious biscuit, an appetiser that is perhaps more French than Japanese but I’m not complaining. The deep-fried smelt fish is also quite a creative creation where the batter is light and it doesn’t taste greasy at all.
If you do not take oyster, the chef will swap it with scallops instead.
The Saba Sumiaburii course features Charcoal-Torched Seasonal Mackerel Accompanied with Homemade Yoghurt Cream Sauce, Kumquat Compote and Kumquat Oil Garnished with Marigold Leave and Shredded Leek. It was interesting to watch Chef Shu using an iron-like cast to torch the mackerel, and the resulting flavour is surprisingly good with the yoghurt cream. There are other fine details like the shredded leek, and it is not hard to notice at this point that Chef Shu focuses on the different layers of taste in each course.
Chawanmushi is ubiquitous in every Japanese restaurant but it is really not easy to get the texture right (speaking from experience as I did attempt to prepare it at home before). The Shirako Chawanmushi is a Steamed Egg Custard Topped with Seasonal Cod’s Milt and Ginkgo Nuts Garnished with Kinome Leave with a Hint of Buddha’s Hand Citrus. If you are familiar with Japanese cuisine, you would probably know that Shirako is a delicacy and this version is expectedly creamy.
Next up was the Awabi Jyagaimo, Braised Abalone and Roasted Seasonal Kitaakari Potato Served with Homemade Abalone Liver and ‘Vermouth’ Sauce. There has been a showcase of various types of seafood throughout the meal so far, and the noteworthy delicacy here is the abalone liver.
It is great that I had the Hokkigai Somen thereafter, which offers a good balance to the palate after the series of rich flavours. This Somen is prepared with Homemade Chef’s Special Clam Broth with Slow-Cooked Seasonal Surf Clam, Lightly – Fried Tilefish and Burnt Garlic Oil on Side. Very comforting flavour, where the somen itself is delicious. I also like the crispy fried fish which is a stark contrast to the soothing broth.
One of my favourite courses for the night is the Sumibiyaki Wagyu, Charcoal-Grilled Special Selected Sirloin Served with Deep-Fried Shredded Seasonal Burdock, LilyBulb Puree and Natural Beef Jus. The Kagoshima Wagyu beef is perfect, succulent and rich in flavour. I could definitely do with more pieces of it as I really like Japanese Wagyu beef. The accompanying greens also help to cut the rich flavour of the beef well.
The last part of the Omakase is where there are two options for the Choice of Dessert – Ichigo or Whisky. The Rantee and myself decided to go for one of each as both options sound interesting.
I was impressed that Chef Shu is also the pastry chef in the kitchen. For the Ichigo, it is a lighter option of the two with Homemade Soy Milk Mochi, Strawberry Sherbet and Spherification in Chrysanthemum Syrup Garnished with a Dash of Lemon Oil. Very layered presentation of each element for this dessert, and the overall taste is light, not too sweet, and quite a good finish for the meal.
Conversely, the Whisky is a Sponge Cake in Espresso Syrup with a Scoop of Chocolate Ice Cream, Whisky Raisins, Mascarpone Sabayon Mousse Covered with Chocolate Disc Topped with Cocoa Powder and Dried Cranberry. I am glad I had this. My initial thought is that it will be too intense, but it turned out to be quite pleasant. The chocolate ice cream is amazing, where the chocolate is house made as well. Quite an amazing feat for a small culinary team here. As for the whisky, don’t worry if you are not a big fan of it as it is quite mild.
Rants It is a pretty open concept space so you probably need to whisper to your dining partner if you have some dark secrets to share.
Will I Return Again? Overall, the quality of courses here is very good. I am impressed by the layered presentation of each course and the level of detailing down to the smallest ingredients. Chef Shu is quite approachable and friendly as compared to other Japanese chefs, which makes the dining experience more pleasant. Head here if you are looking for a good kaiseki style omakase restaurant.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 4.5/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
Omakase @ Stevens
30 Stevens Road
Tel: +65 6735 8282
Monday to Saturday: 6pm to 10:30pm
Closed on Sundays
Ranted by The Ranter