Getting an affordable taste of seafood from Tsukiji in Singapore

Sushi Jin's Hokkaido Don.
Sushi Jin's Hokkaido Don.ST PHOTO: DANNON HAR
Sushi Jin's aburi sushi platter.
Sushi Jin's aburi sushi platter.PHOTO: SUSHI JIN
Sushi Jin's truffle chawanmushi.
Sushi Jin's truffle chawanmushi.ST PHOTO: DANNON HAR
The interior of Sushi Jin.
The interior of Sushi Jin.PHOTO: SUSHI JIN

I had resolved to head to the famed Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo for a taste of the freshest catch the country has to offer during my visit to Japan last year.

Due to my many irresponsible and spontaneous bouts of revelry however, I had missed the opportunity to go as it requires you to be there before 5am (some recommend as early as 4am) in order to enter - only a set number of people are allowed in each day to prevent overcrowding.

Not that I am complaining. I had plenty of fun in Japan’s capital city despite missing out on this one attraction.

What’s more, a new Japanese restaurant recently opened in Singapore in November 2014, and it has on offer, freshly imported fish straight from the markets of Tsukiji.

Three times a week - Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays - restaurant Sushi Jin brings fish procured from Tsukiji to be served directly to customers. 

It certainly isn’t the only place in town to do so, but it is certainly offering premium sushi at more affordable prices. Set lunch prices only set you back $22 for a bowl of spicy salmon don, or slightly more for assorted sushi platters.

While nothing beats heading to Japan itself for a taste of top-grade sushi, Sushi Jin offers accessibility for diners in Singapore with its competitive pricing, and frequent import of seasonal catch straight from Japan.

What's more, it is at a convenient locale yet to be tarnished by incessant crowds.

The restaurant can be found within Connexion, an integrated healthcare and hospitality complex located a stone’s throw away from Farrer Park MRT. In the centre of Connexion is a retail avenue, named Owen Link, where Sushi Jin is situated.

I really am there for the raw fish, but ordered up an omakase set instead as I wanted a more well-rounded meal, and with hindsight, I’m glad I did.

The highlights for me were the melt-in-your-mouth bluefin tuna belly, the gooey rather than tofu-like truffle chawanmushi, and the assortment of interesting aburi sushi - the signature offerings of head chef Raymond Tan.

You can often see the young Japan-trained chef busy serving customers as he prepares his aburi creations with blowtorch in hand.

His aburi toro top negitoro (seared fatty tuna topped with scallions and more fatty tuna) for instance, is especially tasty and punchy on the senses. Have it with sake.

For more filling meals, the Hokkaido Don, filled with a selection of toro, tamago, hotate, uni and more, is highly recommended and available as part of a lunch set.

It gets busy during lunch hours however, and both the counter seats and the few dining tables available are quickly occupied. 

Go during off-peak hours or reserve the private dining quarters - which seats a maximum of five - slated to open soon.

Trying to replicate the quality of izakayas or omakase places has always been tough,and while Sushi Jin hasn't seen the arrival of that experience, it has surely taken a step in the right direction by emphasising accessibility alongside character.

That is enough to satiate me before my next and fifth excursion to Japan.

dannonh@sph.com.sg