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, eight lucky Straits Times (ST) 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 today. They also got to meet chef Yonemura, who flew to Singapore to attend the event.
A pioneer of innovative French-Japanese cuisine, he has been imbuing the bold flavours of French cooking with elegant Japanese accents since he opened his namesake restaurant in Kyoto in 1993.
Chef Yonemura 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 was 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.
But it was not just the exquisite dishes that delighted guests.
Teppan by Chef Yonemura is, after all, a creative fusion of nouvelle Japanese kaiseki and theatrical teppanyaki.
The cosy dining area blazed with the warmth of the chef expertly flambeing slabs of A4 Kagoshima sirloin steak as diners admired, over the lenses of carefully poised camera phones.
The steak emerged from this test of fire as a hot favourite among guests. ST subscriber, 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 I eat beef in restaurants, it's almost as if I have to fight the steak. This one just melted in my 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 an 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.