Food Review: Hanazen By Yusuke Takada At Chijmes | Acclaimed Chef Of La Cime Opens First Overseas Duo-Concept, Charcoal-Grilled Omakase and French Brasserie In Singapore
The Place Officially opening on 12 March 2023 in Chijmes, I was excited to check out Hanazen, a new duo-concept charcoal-grilled Omakase and French Brasserie by Chef Yusuke Takada behind the two-Michelin-starred and World’s 50 Best Restaurant La Cime in Osaka. The indoor seating area showcases a charcoal grilled Omakase menu, while the outdoor space is meant for the French brasserie concept.
The space of Hanazen is sleek and minimalist with a 11-person dining counter, a private room for 7 persons, and a semi-private corner that seats up to 8 persons.
Go for the counter seats for the best Omakase experience in my opinion, which offers a clear view of the open kitchen.
The Food Expect the smoky char of traditional Japanese charcoal-grilled dishes imbued with an innovative French touch. In the first phase of its opening, the restaurant will feature just a single omakase dinner menu from 6pm onwards. The lunch and brasserie menu will be launched progressively. As items are air flown from Japan three times daily, some dishes and ingredients may evolve from time to time.
I had the Hanazen 16-Course Omakase Dinner (S$250++ per person) and here are the courses I had in sequence:
Hanazen’s Daily Soup
The first course is a comforting clear, aromatic broth which uses bonito and chicken bones boiled for 6 hours. This palate cleansing soup changes daily.
A fried black ball filled with chicken floss and chicken liver in a edible bamboo charcoal and brushed with buah keluak sauce. This dish is a reinvented ‘hotdog’ that pays homage to chef Yusuke’s original Boudin Dog.
Beef & Tuna Tartlet
A tartare of raw Wagyu and akami is combined with guacamole in a crisp beetroot tartlet shell garnished with julienned ginger flower (myoga) and red amaranth leaves.
This Panna Cotta course is inspired by Singapore’s kaya toast and is presented in a beautiful wooden box. The pandan flan is studded with seasonal Hamaguri clams from Japan which is naturally sweet. It is accompanied by a side of bread tuile and nanohana buds from the rapeseed plant and topped with caviar.
Sea Foie Gras / Choucroute / Urui
A winter delicacy, the ankimo or monkfish liver here is steamed with sake and cognac, served chilled in a tangy Alsatian-style choucroute dressing and topped with the young green shoots of urui, a Japanese green vegetable symbolic of spring. The urui’s crisp grassy notes help to cleanse the palate when eaten with the rich, fatty ankimo.
Prawns and Chicken Tail, Porcini Sauce
This dish is supposed to be eaten in three bites – have the meaty layer of Gambero Rosso prawn first, followed by a lobe of the fatty chicken tail. In the third bite, have both the prawn and chicken tail together. It tastes even better when you have it with the side of creamy porcini mushroom sauce.
One of the highlights of this charcoal grilled Omakase menu are the grilled skewers served with specially created sauces for each course.
Chicken Heart, Mustard and Olive Sauce
Tender and lean, the chicken hearts go well with the tangy whole grain mustard and olive leaf sauce.
Nodoguro, Fukinoto Miso Sauce / Grilled Turnip
I love dishes with a good sauce. This fish dish features blackthroat seaperch which spots a buttery, flavour. The best part is the rich fukinoto miso sauce which is perfect with the fish and grilled turnip.
Abalone, Chicken Gizzards, Gyoja-Ninniku Butter
The skewer of Awabi abalone is prepared for over 12 hours and is sous vide with radish, kombu and sake, while finished with a caramelisation from bincho-tan. The surprise lies in the bottom of the abalone where there are chicken gizzards with creamy gyoja-ninniku (garlic chives) butter.
Chicken Liver, Raisin Sauce
Quite a creamy flavour of the soft chicken liver which is served with raisin sauce made from three types of raisins and sweetened with tamarind and white wine. The julienned oba leaf and flowers help to balance the overall meaty flavour of the chicken liver.
Chicken Wing, Konbu Furikake
The portion looks smaller than what I was expecting, but I am glad this wing is deboned for ease of eating. It spots a glistening texture with a light seasoning of furikake. Simple and clean flavour of the chicken meat here with that bit of char.
Lamb, Yoghurt Sauce
A cut of baby lamb shoulder with a creamy herbed yogurt sauce.
For those who do not take lamb, this course could also be replaced with the Smoked Octopus with olive sauce. Delicious.
Chicken Skin, Spices, Gochujang
One of my favourite skewers on the menu thus far. I love the crispy chicken skin along with spices and gochujang which lends it a very flavourful profile.
Wagyu Ribeye, Périgueux Sauce
The last course of the grill part of the meal is where I had the A5 Wagyu ribeye. Grilled over binchotan, the beef is so tender and succulent that it does not even require any knife. Pick up the chopsticks and have it with the tasty Perigueux sauce, the rich French classic Madeira and truffle sauce of the Perigord region.
Soumen, Warabi, Dashi
Save the best for the last, I say. After all the grilled and charcoal flavours, this comfort and rich bowl of soumen could not be more timely. It spots a nice umami flavour with its rich chicken broth, further elevated with the addition of chicken oil, salt, shoyu and Italian fish sauce.
Kyoto ‘Uji Matcha’ Ice Cream, Fermented Banana with Hanazen Financier
For dessert. I had this very good Uji Matcha ice cream made in-house using specially selected tea leaves from Kyoto’s 7T+ complemented with fermented banana cream. The matcha is rich, intense yet not too sweet.
The last act is that bite-sized treat of Hananzen Financier, which has extracts of chicken oil and lightly grilled over charcoal. Crisp, light and delicious. I want another piece.
Rants The portions for some of the courses are quite petite, such as the Chicken Wing.
Will I Return Again? An interesting charcoal grilled focused omakase concept by Chef Yusuke Takada. The space is lovely and it should be more exciting when the relatively casual outdoor French brasserie concept opens in due course.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 4/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
Hanazen By Yusuke Takada
30 Victoria Street
Tel: + 65 9820 2963
Tuesday to Sunday: 6pm to 11pm
Closed on Monday
Ranted by The Ranter