Food Review: Ikkagoyo At Amoy Street | An Exquisite Japanese Kaiseki Dining Experience In Singapore Worth Going For
The Place I am always excited to check out new Japanese restaurants and Ikkagoyo is the latest kaiseki concept along Amoy Street helmed by Chef Mitsutaka Sakamoto from Hyogo, Japan. Chef Sakamoto has more than 20 years of Japanese culinary experience under his belt at various ryokan and Japanese restaurants in Aichi, Kyoto and Tokyo. The restaurant officially opens next Tuesday, 21 March 2023.
Even though the address is Amoy Street, the inconspicuous entrance of Ikkagoyo is along Gemmill Lane where it occupies the space of the now-defunct Burger Joint Singapore. The name Ikkagoyo is inspired by a Japanese proverb that means ‘one flower opening up to five petals.’
The interior of the restaurant is elegant, and it exudes a sense of zen-ness from the hustle and bustle of the CBD. A beautiful wooden countertop with a specially crafted calligraphy art as the backdrop, all the materials used are imported from Japan and I really love how calm the dining ambience is, down to the calm background music.
There is also one private room which can accommodate 8 diners.
The Food For now, Ikkagoyo focuses just on a Keiseki-style Prix Fixe Menu (S$338++ per person) for dinner where you can expect about 12 courses. Seasonal ingredients are used, which means that the dishes do alternate and vary. Specially selected beautiful tableware is used for each course, where even the cup for my warm water is top quality ware.
Each course has a certain theme and you will also find the name of the Japanese producers for the ingredients in each course. I love such details which help shape the journey of the meal in a sense.
Here is what I had for the 12-course dinner, where you also get to pick your chopsticks!
Sea and Land… / Hirakai, Yuba, Rape Flower, Hyuga Natsu
A mix of hot and cold ingredients to whet the palate, I love that delicious grilled tairagai (Japanese pen shell) which reminds me of scallops. The fresh Uni and Yuba are a delight to have.
Respect / Clam, Uruchi rice
This is a relatively light and simple looking course which showcases uruchimai (Japanese short-grain rice) where the texture is a cross between mochi and congee, topped with Mie clam and lightly grilled fukinoko (butterbur buds).
Golden soup Stock / Sea bream, Wakame seaweed, Leek, Kinome
Dashi is a strong focus at Ikkagoyo and it is the essence of most of the courses here. I was served a small cup of the Golden Dashi Broth where the taste is extremely unadulterated. It is prepared with Rishiri kelp along with freshly shaved katsuobushi (skipjack tuna flakes) and magurobushi (bluefin tuna flakes).
I then had the sea bream topped with leeks and kinome leaves in a delicious and clear looking dashi broth.
Gift from the sea / Japanese Spanish mackerel/ Tuna
This is one of my favourite acts of the meal. I love the buttery Spanish mackerel which is torched using charcoal. It is full of umami and the texture of the fish is perfect.
Who doesn’t love Otoro? For sure, I do. I was pleasantly delighted to see Otoro being presented in two ways here – a raw version topped with kombu shoyu and gold flakes, and aburi Otoro topped with black peppercorns. Expect a fatty and extremely fresh flavours of the Otoro, where the taste is accentuated by the dash of kombu shoyu sauce on the Otoro. The fresh daikon with white wine ponzu vinegar and Noto deep sea salt on the plate also help to balance the fattiness of the Otoro.
Japanese Traditional “Hassun” / Anglerfish, Spear squid, Spinach
Hassun is a ‘seasonal platter’ of small plates and this course started with a theatrical display of burning paper which unveiled the beautiful platter.
The highlight for me is the creamy ankimo (monkfish) liver prepared for two hours – it is first chilled on ice before steaming over dashi. What is also interesting is the brown looking cucumber soaked in sake atop the ankimo which helps to balance its rich flavour profile.
There is also the cold dish of spear squid stuffed together with its own innards, as well as spinach with miso and sesame seeds.
Today’s Field / Shizuoka Vegetables Kaga Lotus Root Yaizu Bonito
I will gladly go vegetarian for this plate of fresh greens. I love the different textures of the vegetables here which are cooked in various methods. The kombu shoyu sauce drizzled on the greens is delicious.
Specialty / Oigawa eel, soba noodles, truffle, nut cheese
My favourite course on the dinner menu, as it also surprised me the most in terms of presentation. You get a glistening eel from Oigawa with thinly shredded seaweed, French almond cream cheese, freshly grated black truffle and a sprinkle of homemade truffle oil powder. There are no soba noodles per se, but instead you get a buckwheat flour wrap where you fold all the ingredients up and eat it like a wrap.
Cheese and Unagi sounds like a clash, but the flavours work well surprisingly. It reminds me a little of Peking duck, especially since the wrap is also dotted with Unagi tare sauce.
Traditional / Bamboo shoots Ume plum paste
A take on tempura, the crispy deep-fried rice paper envelopes tender yellowtail, shiso leaves, bamboo shoots and warabi (bracken). Served with a sweet Japanese plum sauce by the side.
Harmony / Abalone Himi Udon
The abalone from Ishikawa is placed atop the hand-stretched Himi udon that is sautéed with a homemade abalone liver sauce and butter; and finished with menegi (Japanese green onion shoots). Delicious and light flavour of the udon, though I feel that the abalone liver sauce could be more intense.
Japan’s Treasure / A5 Wagyu
I was expecting a piece of steak but am happy that this course is done shabu-shabu style. The Japanese A5 wagyu beef from Tokachi in Hokkaido is cooked in a katsuo dashi and is topped with nira or garlic chives. Check out that beautiful marbling of the beef.
Chef chose this breed of waygu as it is less fatty, so it makes it easier for diners to stomach literally. Apart from the delicious beef, the sauce is interesting too as it is made up of an assortment of nuts such as sesame, walnut, almond and cashew.
Culture… /Choose Your Experience
Choose from one of three options that highlight the Konotori-mai, a specialty organic rice from the Hyogo prefecture – Katsuobushi and raw egg don with soy sauce on the side; Maguro sashimi don topped with fresh wasabi; or a Gyusuji (beef tendon) and beef brisket in a soy-based broth with rice on the side. To ensure the rice is retained at its optimum freshness, Chef Sakamoto takes the effort to remove the husk of organic rice from the Hyogo prefecture daily.
Go for the Otoro don if you love your fatty tuna, or the delicious Gyusuji where the rich broth goes really well with the Konotori-mai.
Nature’s Blessings…/ Amazonian Cacao/ white bracken-starch dumpling
For desserts, part one is an Amazonian cacao that is coupled with strawberries and custard cream; while part two is a delicious and soft pillowy handmade shiroi warabimochi made up of coconut milk served with walnuts and coconut milk powder.
In terms of beverages, there is a good variety of sakes such as the limited edition Junmai Daiginjo grade sake like Noto Arabashiri (S$250) from Ishikawa and Kokuryu Shizuku (S$560) from Fukui, in addition to wine options. Sake by the glass is also available.
Rants There is no concise lunch menu planned for now yet, which is a pity given its location in the CBD. I understand from the team that this is still in the works, so do check out the restaurant’s social media pages or website for future updates.
Will I Return Again? I love the details which is put into the meal at Ikkagoyo, from the intricate ingredients to the overall furnishing of the space. It is a very well-thought kaiseki concept and it is hard to find really good kaiseki restaurants in Singapore. Ikkagoyo is definitely worth a try.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Taste bud: 4.5/5
Hole in the pocket: 4.5/5
Overall Experience: 4.5/5
115 Amoy Street
Tel: +65 8457 8732
Monday to Saturday: 6:30pm to 10pm
Closed on Sunday
Ranted by The Ranter