When Tokyo’s Shinji by Kanesaka opened its first overseas outpost at Raffles Hotel in 2010, the restaurant impressed diners here with its immaculate Edo-style sushi. After relocating to Carlton Hotel more than a year ago, it continues its reign as Singapore’s sushi temple. Just like fine wine, Shinji is ageing better than ever. You’ll get to feast on perfectly made sushi, and enjoy measured and discreet Japanese service at its best.
Though the restaurant’s highlight is the main sushi counter carved from the trunk of a 220-year-old hinoki tree, we got a prime spot at the sushi counter in the smaller room. This is where your meal will be in the capable hands of master chef Oshino Koichiro, whose calm demeanour and knife skills ensure precision-cut sashimi.
As the restaurant gets a supply of seasonal fish from Tsukiji Market, its guests can revel in a decadent variety of pristine seafood. For lunch, choose from three sushi course sets (nine-piece, 12-piece and 15-piece), as well as two omakase sets.
We choose Omakase Yume and are treated to seafood ranging from a serving of lightly chilled sweet botan ebi and creamy sea urchin from Hokkaido to a platter of delicate baby tuna otoro and chutoro with ginger soya sauce, as well as torched barracuda and herring roe with wasabi jelly. In between courses, our palates and stomachs are cosseted with warm soup brimming with Japanese garoupa, leek, cabbage, mushroom and tofu.
Soon, a succession of nigiri sushi is served. Depending on the season, you can expect ocean gems like snapper, horse mackerel, chutoro, sea eel, uni, and ebi. Chef Oshino drapes glistening seafood over mounds of vinegared rice that’s still slightly warm. No extra seasoning is needed as soya sauce has already been brushed onto the fish.
Why is Shinji so special? Each meal is a performance starring fine morsels delivered from a personable chef to your plate. And the experience has only grown better with time.