SINGAPORE - From crisp panko-crusted croquettes to rich pumpkin sauce, Michelin-starred chef Masayasu Yonemura captures the flavours of fall in his autumn menu at Teppan by Chef Yonemura.
On Tuesday night (Oct 8), eight lucky Straits Times subscribers and their partners were the first to sample this new menu at the restaurant in Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) before it is officially launched to the public on Thursday. They also got to meet chef Yonemura, who flew in to Singapore on the day itself to attend the event.
A pioneer of innovative French-Japanese cuisine, chef Yonemura has been imbuing the bold flavours of French cooking with elegant Japanese accents since he opened his namesake restaurant in Kyoto in 1993.
He told The Straits Times: "When I cook, I don't really think in terms of what is French and what is Japanese. I simply focus on the textures and flavours and cook what I think will taste good." He is also particular about using the freshest ingredients, many of which are air-flown directly from Kansai when in season.
A case in point is the Japanese "Amadai" tilefish, a popular dish typically roasted with its scales on. The crispiness of the scales contrasted with the soft, juicy flesh of the fish perfectly, similar to how the fried, mushroom-studded croquette was topped with a tender square of beef cheek slathered in stew.
But it was not just the exquisite dishes that delighted guests.
Teppan by Chef Yonemura is, after all, another creative fusion of nouvelle Japanese kaiseki and the theatrical teppanyaki.
When served the welcome drink - a shot of vodka with yuzu juice - diners were invited to spray a mist of Angostura bitters and be enthralled by the burst of flames which then engulfed the slice of rum-soaked orange atop it.
The cosy dining area blazed again with the warmth of the chef expertly flambéing slabs of A4 Kagoshima Sirloin Steak as diners admired, wide-eyed, over the lenses of carefully poised camera phones.
The steak emerged from this test of fire as a hot favourite among guests. ST subscriber, Ms Audrey How, 48, an operations manager, said the "evenly marbled, good cut" was the highlight of the meal.
Another diner, Ms Lena Tan, 61, an administrator, added: "Sometimes, when you eat beef in restaurants, it's almost as if you have to fight the steak. This one just melted in your mouth."
Ms How also praised chef Yonemura's fusion food concept, as many daring cooks have tried - but failed - to perfect that twist. "This time, however, it worked," she said.
Ms How has been a ST subscriber "throughout her life" and reads the newspapers "practically from front to back", but looks out for ST food editor Tan Hsueh Yun's articles, being an enthusiastic cook herself.
The dinner for each pair at Teppan by Chef Yonemura, worth $396, was sponsored by Resorts World Sentosa and hosted by Ms Tan as part of the ST+ news with benefits programme.