Fans of Japanese wagyu should check out the new nine-course omakase menu at Gyu Bar.
The prized ingredient is used in seven dishes, each featuring beef from a different prefecture and cooked in varied styles.
They include tartare of Wa Oh wagyu, torched Ohmi on rice and Tankaku sirloin katsu served with Japanese curry.
I prefer the cooked items because I find the flavour of well-marbled Japanese wagyu really comes to the fore when the fat starts to melt.
My favourite courses are yakiniku, which comes in three cuts of Miyazaki - sirloin, tenderloin and chuck rib - and shabu shabu with Sanuki olive sirloin. The burst of juices as you bite into the tender meat is what gets me hooked on wagyu.
Priced at $238 a person, the menu is not cheap, but is good value for the amount and variety of beef. You have to book a day in advance.
WHERE: Gyu Bar, 30 Stevens Road, 01-08 MRT: Stevens OPEN: Noon to 3pm, 6 to 10pm daily PRICE: $238 TEL: 6732-0702/9150-3164
KATRINA GROUP'S RESTAURANTS
If you like variety when you dine out, here is a secret.
The Katrina Group operates five restaurants in Clarke Quay, which all offer different cuisines, and when you patronise any one, you can also order from the other four.
You just have to ask the staff about "the secret menu".
The five restaurants are Tomo Izakaya (Japanese food), Hutong (northern Chinese), Bayang (Indonesian), Muchos (Mexican) and ReNNthai (Thai). Together, they offer more than 200 dishes.
My favourites are the grilled meat and seafood Supreme Platter ($88) and sate madura ($1 a stick) from Bayang, as well as Hutong's meat and vegetables skewers (from $1), which are coated with an aromatic spice mix that includes cumin and chilli flakes.
Wash these down with some hot and spicy tom yum talay ($24 a pot) from ReNNthai.
It is also worth checking out a new dish at Tomo Izakaya that is available only until May 31. The chirashi-zushi ($48), which has a sushi rice base topped with uni, salmon, swordfish, grilled unagi, prawns and ikura, is enough for four people.
WHERE: Tomo Izakaya (3A 01-14, tel: 6336-0110), Hutong (3D 01-07, tel: 6336-0212), Bayang (3D 01-05, tel: 6337-0144), Muchos (3D 01-04, tel: 6338-4748), ReNNthai (3D 01-05, tel: 6338-7200). All are at Clarke Quay MRT: Clarke Quay OPEN: 5 to 11pm (Tuesdays to Sundays). Closed on Mondays
ALMA BY JUAN AMADOR
Alma by Juan Amador's current degustation menu brings together premium ingredients from different parts of the world.
In the kitchen of the one-Michelin-starred fine-dining Western restaurant, they are transformed into delectable and prettily plated dishes by executive chef Haikal Johari and chef de cuisine Sufian Zaini.
You can choose from five-course ($198), seven-course ($258) and nine-course menus ($328). While the last is a surprise curation by chef Haikal, the other two menus feature dishes such as petit pois topped with Russian caviar, Muirgen oyster with ginseng cream, Dungeness crab served with a kochi eggplant and truffles and amadai (tilefish) with heirloom tomatoes.
The main course offers choices of Kumamoto beef, Iberian pork and my favourite - 14-day aged Irish duck that is roasted to a perfect pink.
Dessert is white Valrhona chocolate mousse with apricot and coconut.
WHERE: Alma by Juan Amador, Goodwood Park Hotel, 22 Scotts Road MRT: Orchard/Newton OPEN: Noon to 2.30pm (Tuesdays to Saturdays), 6 to 10.30pm (Mondays to Saturdays). Closed on Sundays TEL: 6735-9937