Among the new high-end restaurants that have opened recently, Ikkagoyo stands out in terms of the quality of its ingredients and cooking finesse.
It is a kaiseki restaurant with a fixed-price menu comprising 12 courses at $338 a person. Kaiseki is a refined, multi-course Japanese meal that showcases seasonal ingredients and different cooking methods. Meticulous attention is paid to every detail, including the tableware.
Chef-owner Mitsutaka Sakamoto, who is from Hyogo prefecture, moved to Singapore in 2023 to open the 16-seat restaurant that is accessible from Gemmill Lane at the back of Amoy Street.
While sticking to traditional cooking methods, he is not above introducing innovative touches such as adding truffle and almond cream cheese to Oigawa unagi.
The menu follows an order of cold appetisers followed by a light broth to warm the stomach, before moving on to fish prepared in various styles – from raw to deep-fried.
Coming before the meat course is my favourite dish – a small bowl of hand-stretched Himi udon sauteed with abalone liver sauce and butter, and topped with steamed abalone from Ishikawa.
It even beats the A5 wagyu shabu shabu in katsuo dashi that follows, which I find slightly too undercooked.
But that is a small hiccup in the meal and made up for by the last savoury course.
For that, you get to choose one out of three carbs – katsuobushi and raw egg don; maguro sashimi don topped with fresh wasabi; and gyusuji (beef tendon) and beef brisket in a soya-based broth with rice on the side.
I pick the beef and it is delicious, with the tendon and meat stewed till very tender.
There are two desserts – Amazonian cacao with strawberries and custard cream, and a shiroi warabimochi made with coconut milk and served with walnuts and coconut milk powder. I have no complaints but, by then, I am so stuffed that I cannot do them justice.
Where: Ikkagoyo, 01-04, 115 Amoy Street
MRT: Telok Ayer
Open: Mondays to Saturdays, 6.30 to 10pm. Closed on Sundays
Info: For reservations, go to str.sg/iZfs
Fukudon, which sells Asian fusion donburi, started as a hawker centre stall in Marine Parade Central in 2020. In February, it opened its second outlet at the Koufu Cookhouse in Velocity @ Novena, all the way inside the air-conditioned foodcourt.
The stalls are the brainchild of three childhood friends in their 20s.
One of the partners, Mr Remus Seow, used to work in the kitchens of fine-dining Michelin-starred Western restaurants, so he takes up the main cooking duties and develops the recipes. The other partners, Mr Bryan Tan and Mr Jonathan Khoo, handle the frontline operations and administration respectively.
Mr Seow creates Japanese-style rice bowls, but with his own recipes that are well above average foodcourt standards. But while the cooking is more refined and flavours well-balanced, prices stay very competitive.
My favourite is the Pork Belly Katsu Don ($8.50), with the pork moist and tender under a crispy coat. It is also well-marinated and delicious. All the rice bowls come with an onsen egg.
I am not a fan of chicken breast, but the Sous Vide Chicken Breast With Honey Soy Glaze ($7.90) wins me over with its light but tasty sauce. The low-temperature cooking also changes the texture of the meat, making it smoother and more succulent.
The Salmon Don ($9.50) is also very good. You can choose from three flavours – Asian Garlic Puree, Aburu Miso and Shoyu Glaze. The Asian Garlic Puree version I pick definitely gets a thumbs up.
For something with a stronger flavour, the Sukiyaki Beef Short Plate Don ($9.50) is the one to order. The slices of beef are tender and go well with the runny egg.
There are also side dishes such as Truffle Potato Salad ($3.90) and Homemade Karaage With Curry Mayo ($6.50). You can also add on toppings like Pork Belly Katsu ($3.80). The portion is generous for the price.
Where: Fukudon, 03-47 Velocity @ Novena, 238 Thomson Road
Open: 11am to 8pm daily
Tel: 9382-9948 (WhatsApp for delivery)
Salt & Palm
Brother-and-sister duo Mark and Natasya Soetantyo, who run the Blue Waves Group of restaurants, have converted their Tok Tok Indonesian Restaurant in Joo Chiat Road to a resto-bar called Salt & Palm.
It is a modern concept first launched in Sydney in 2018, with Ms Soetantyo reinterpreting Indonesian dishes her own way.
This sometimes means taking inspiration from classic items, but cooking them using Western techniques or whipping up Western dishes with Indonesian flavours.
An example is Porchetta ($32), which is the chef’s version of Babi Guling. It looks like the Italian boneless roast pork, but the rolled pork belly is rubbed with Balinese spices and served with a spiced gravy thickened with coconut. It is also topped with a bit of chilli, lemongrass and shallot salsa.
The Prawn Bisque Pasta ($32) is based on Palembang Mie Celur, with a broth that is cooked using a South Sumatran recipe. It comes with king prawns, an onsen egg and a bit of tobiko.
Mushroom Rendang ($20) looks and tastes like a traditional beef rendang, but the fungus has a spongy texture that soaks up the spicy gravy well. For me, this is a much better choice than using plant-based meats.
Where: Salt & Palm, 467 Joo Chiat Road
MRT: Paya Lebar/Dakota
Open: Fridays to Sundays, 9am to 3pm; Wednesdays to Mondays, 5 to 11pm. Closed on Tuesdays
Reservations: Go to bit.ly/3JDpH6A