Flames, camera, action.
There is drama aplenty at Resorts World Sentosa's latest dining concept, TEPPAN by Chef Yonemura.
The stage is the hotplate grill; and the performers, the skilled teppanyaki chefs who deftly slice, flambé and delicately plate up as the guests watch, enthralled, fingers poised on the shutter.
Welcome to the first overseas outpost of decorated culinary veteran, Celebrity Chef Masayasu Yonemura. Here, he innovatively marries French-Japanese fine-dining with teppanyaki for a mix of artistry and the "action, fire and smoky aroma" of the hotplate grill.
Chef Yonemura "did not attend culinary school". Instead, when he was 20, he started working at Seiyougosho Okumura, an upscale French restaurant in Kyoto, Japan.
He says: "I was there for 10 years, and when I decided to open my own restaurant, I incorporated Japanese ingredients with my French culinary foundation, as my hometown Kyoto is famous for its beautiful produce."
Restaurant Yonemura opened its doors in 1993, and the eponymous establishment took the world's dining scene by storm with its Japanese-accented French cuisine. In 2004, a second outlet was opened in Tokyo.
Both have garnered one Michelin star in the Kyoto and Tokyo Michelin Guides.
But TEPPAN, which just opened in December, is the first time he is innovatively integrating his signature French-Japanese nouvelle kaiseki cuisine with the thrilling theatrics of the hotplate grill - a first in Asia and definitely Michelin Guide material.
At TEPPAN, all 21 diners get a front-row seat.
Like an intimate performing space, the audience becomes part of the play right from the first act - a do-it-yourself welcome cocktail that climaxes in mini culinary pyrotechnics.
Then, the rhythmic clang of the metal spatulas, the whoosh of the flames and the constant sizzle of the grill ensue. It is an auditory, visual and olfactory spectacle, culminating in diners' delighted gasps as they relish each dish's taste and texture.
One creation that embodies Chef Yonemura's signature French-Japanese style is the Oyster and Lobster Bouillabaisse, which is imbued with a moreish umami flavour.
He says: "We use dashi stock and konbu instead of fish stock, which is traditionally used in French cuisine to make the soup.
"Shucked oysters and fresh lobster meat are presented to our guests before we add them to individual casseroles of the bouillabaisse on the teppan, and they are topped with a classic rouille sauce and grated gruyere cheese.
"Guests can enjoy the aroma as the soup is cooking and get to taste it piping hot."
A (literally) hot favourite with diners is the Miyazaki A4 grade Wagyu Tenderloin. The meat has just the right amount of fattiness, says Chef Yonemura. "It is seared and flamed on the teppan with sake and served with crisp fried shallots and zucchini, daikon and onion that have been braised in dashi stock. The beef is juicy and melts in your mouth."
But what is most extraordinary, is that everything - from the amuse bouche to dessert - is prepared on the hotplate grill.
He says: "Our signature flaming dessert Crêpes Suzette "A la Teppan" is made on the teppan. It features fresh orange slices, pineapple juice, Grand Marnier and homemade vanilla ice cream."
Lunch is now served
Previously only open for dinner, TEPPAN now caters to lunchtime clientele. Choose from two prix fix options: four courses at $78++ or five courses at $88++.
The former features appetiser Cold Fedelini (a very thin spaghetti) with Salmon Roe and Scallop, a choice of Wagyu Hamburg Steak or Kurobuta Black Pork as your main, a unique Garlic Rice and Pasta dish and Chef's Dessert.
As for the latter, enjoy an additional amuse bouche of Konbu Seaweed flavoured Flounder and Persimmon Fresh Spring Roll.
Top up $120++ for the luxurious A4 Wagyu tenderloin from Shiga Prefecture as the main instead, and $15++ more for Chef Yonemura's signature Crêpes Suzette, which is made on the teppan.
Visit TEPPAN by Chef Yonemura at Resorts World Sentosa, The Forum, Level 1. It is open from Tuesday to Saturday, from noon to 2.30pm (lunch), 2pm to 5pm (afternoon dessert) and 6pm to 10.30pm (dinner, last order 9.30pm). It is closed on Sunday and Monday except public holidays.