Celebrity chef-headlined restaurants aren’t exactly my thing, given how overpriced and underwhelming the food tends to turn out to be. All that hype, particularly in Singapore where good food isn’t too hard to find, can really up the bar in what a celebrity chef needs to deliver. Too often they fall short. Of course the insane rents don’t help in keeping prices down…but do you really need your restaurant to be in some fancy integrated resort…?
I might make an exception for Japanese though. Headed to Syun at Resorts World Sentosa, helmed by Hal Yamashita of the eponymous Tokyo michelin-starred restaurant fame, for a birthday dinner with enough people present for us to try a good amount of the menu. First impressions count – the interior is beautifully decorated with soft lighting illuminating the gold gilded edges of the walls and delicate tableware. Incredibly impressed also with the carved wooden sliding doors that fluidly replicated the undulating scales of a fish.
We had the sukiyaki, 5- and 7-course menus. What Syun really does best, all-in-all, is their accompanying sauces and marinades. The fatty, flaky cod paired indulgently with a hollandaise-like saikyo miso dressing, which at times threatened to overpower the delicate taste of the baked fish but was really delicious on its own. Agreed favourites were the miso and ponzu sauces that elevated our sashimi appetizers.
Syun also seems to really want to test the hypothesis that uni goes amazingly well with everything. Their signature ohmi wrapped wagyu with shoyu was texturally luscious, but lacking in distinct flavour of either the uni or the beef. Uni with sukiyaki kyoto beef was also an interesting pairing, but the uni did little to enhance the great flavours of the sukiyaki slices. The beef was also far thinner than the ones we had at Wadakin, which made the first bite a little less satisfying. Great flavours from the shoyu base, infused with beef, though I believe they used butter to grease the pan instead of the traditional beef fat cube.
The beef flavour was also rather mild from the charcoal grilled ohmi wagyu, though brought out a little better with the benefit of some punchy grated wasabi. I think the highlight of the meal was the barachirashi, generous chunks of fish atop well marinated rice, accented by aesthetically pleasing edible flowers and pearly ikura gems. To top it off, a red bean-chocolate mousse that didn’t quite please A’s tastebuds; he much preferred the matcha ice cream sandwich for its subtle sweetness and wheaty crackers.
I must say we expected more, especially from the uni – slipped my mind to ask about its source region. While creamy, it didn’t quite deliver on the briny-ness and sea sweetness that bring about its umami fame. Syun doesn’t quite match up to its “celebrity chef” expectations, but does deliver a good, solid Japanese meal in beautiful surroundings. Still looking for that oomph to make me crave a return!
Festive Walk, Resorts World Sentosa
Tel: +65 6577 6688
Hours: Lunch 1200-1500h, Dinner 1800-2300h (Tues-Sun)