The first overseas branch of one-Michelin-star Sushi Kanesaka in Tokyo, opened by executive chef Shinji Kanesaka, has moved out of Raffles Hotel (due to the iconic establishment’s renovation plan) and into Carlton Hotel across the street.
We visited this new location, with its blink-and-miss-it entrance off the side of the hotel bar leading to a ramp walkway. It was only when we turned the corner at the top that we saw doors that led to cosy dining rooms. We were fortunate enough to have master chef Koichiro Oshino, who leads the Singapore team, in charge of our little dining room. The other guests along the sushi counter comprised a group of businesspeople, and a lone female guest enjoying a glass of champagne as she waited for her sushi course to start. Without windows, time seemed to stand still.
For lunch, there were three choices of sushi course sets (nine-piece, 12-piece and 15-piece), as well as two omakase special sets that include cooked dishes. Oshino checked with us about any dietary restrictions and then launched straight into preparing our sushi course. While he looked very intent and serious, he did banter with his guests smilingly, in between making sushi.
As what is served depends on the freshness of the seafood flown in, every morsel was a delightful punctuation in our meal. Some of the sushi we had included aji (striped jack) with spring onion, squid with lime and salt, maguro zuke (marinated with shoyu), otoro (the fattest part of a bluefin tuna), uni (sea urchin), bonito with lime, and unagi – all were of the right temperature, compact mouthfuls of beautifully balanced fresh bites.
When we left the restaurant, we agreed that Shinji by Kanesaka does some of the best classical Edo-style sushi in town, if not the best. The lunch not only satisfied our hunger but also lifted our spirits, creating a little bubble of respite in our day.
SHINJI BY KANESAKA
Lobby level, Carlton Hotel Singapore, S(189558)