A Singapore outpost of two-Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant Zeniya has landed on the 24th floor of Shangri-La Hotel Singapore, bringing with it authentic kaiseki dining from the heart of Kanazawa.
The 43-seater restaurant is a joint venture between the Japanese flagship’s second-generation steward, chef Shinichiro Takagi, and their Singaporean counterparts, the Shangri-La Group and the Les Amis Group (behind such restaurants like Kissajin, Sushi Jin and its three-Michelin-starred namesake).
The original Zeniya was established in 1970 by Takagi’s father Nobu, where it quietly drew gourmands to the charming samurai town of Kanazawa for its kaiseki-style expressions of seasonality and traditional cooking techniques served on antique tableware.
Having taken over the reins since his father’s death, eldest son Takagi’s expansion to Singapore marks the restaurant’s first outpost outside of Japan.
Pains have been taken to deliver an experience as close to Zeniya’s mothership as is feasible in a restaurant more than 5,000km away from Kanazawa.
For starters, the seasonal menu leans primarily on seafood and produce from the quaint Japanese city and its surrounding regions, only filling in with ingredients from the rest of the world when deemed necessary.
These are skilfully turned into dishes at once representative of traditional Kaga cuisine, which has roots in the Edo period, and distinctly Zeniya by two of Takagi’s seasoned chefs, both of whom will be posted permanently to the island.
Guests start with a welcome ritual evocative of the traditional Japanese tea ceremonies that spawns kaiseki-style dining, before moving through courses presented on heritage tableware handpicked and brought over from Japan.
The opening seasonal summer menu comprises 11 courses, progressing from dashi, or broth, made simply from bonito and aged kombu but served luxuriously in a gold-lacquered bowl, to sliced grouper (hata), sweet grey prawn (shima ebi) and kuchiko, or the ovaries of sea cucumbers, harvested from the nearby Noto Pensinsula.
Zeniya signatures include summer and autumn favourite nodoguro, or blackthroat seaperch, grilled over charcoal and crowned with heaps of crunchy noodles and Japanese baby pepper leaves; along with Kanazawa abalone – laboriously simmered for 15 hours, steamed, then sauteed – before being perched on a slice of winter melon with old ginger and pink pepper, and doused in a hearty stock of dashi, mirin, light soy and kuzu starch.
Seating is available at the central dining room, along with a pair of private rooms, or counter seating for guests who prefer to get up close and personal.
Zeniya is at Shangri-La Hotel, 22 Orange Grove Rd, Level 24