April 3, 2016
The lesser known Hokkaido Sushi sits humbly in M Hotel, beside its popular, more boozy counterpart, J Bar.
They have been mainly serving hotel guests, regulars and people working in the CBD. After some time doing only Ala-carte style and Omakase, Hokkaido Sushi has decided to launch their very own a la carte buffet with selected items on the menu.
So, in March 2016, there’s a newly launched menu that ranges from Makis, Agemono to Itamemono. The buffet menu includes a healthy variety of dishes selected from their standard menu. Even better, the buffet menu includes quite a few of their signature dishes – giving you a great chance to taste them all at a single price.
There is an area where you can sit by the Sushi bar area and watch as the sushi chefs handcraft your sushis and makis freshly.
Only the sushi bar area seemed more traditionally Japanese, the rest of the restaurant boasts of an interior that is modern chic, with black glass tables and purple plush chairs. But don’t let the seemingly mismatched decor give you doubts about Hokkaido Sushi’s abilities.
If you’re one to pair your buffet with sake, Hokkaido Sushi has a room dedicated to Sakes where you’ll be spoilt for choices.
Hokkaido Sushi has a private Sake Room for patrons who love their sakes, complete with a little outdoor balcony. Since you’re already having a pretty value-for-money buffet, why not spend some money on sake.
If you prefer Japanese Beer, they carry Asahi beers and if you top up $18, you can enjoy free flow of Asahi Draught Beer for 2 hours beginning from your first order.
On to the food,
One of their signature Ikura Chawanmushi
Calling fans of Ikura (salmon roe)!
A classic chawanmushi that had an evident mushroomy fragrance but the ikura made all the difference. Orange balls or magic bursting oceanic goodness into your mouth where they don’t scrimp on the amount of ikura.
A popular appetiser, Hokkaido Sushi’s Pitan Tofu is a memorable take on the Chinese cold appetiser of Tofu and Century Eggs. A thick, smooth blend of century egg and sukiyaki sauce was sweet, giving flavour to the plain silky tofu. Nice balance.
In the buffet, you can also expect sashimi, freshly made sushi, handrolls and maki.
Clockwise: Tako, Mekajiki, Hamachi, Maguro, Hotate, Salmon
A pretty functional selection of sashimi available for the buffet. The procured fish are flown in from Japan – Tsujiki and Sapporo, twice a week.
Aburi Scallop, Hamachi Truffle, Aburi Salmon
For a buffet to offer slightly pricier and more effort consuming sushis, is pretty uncommon and very commendable. The Aburi Scallop was sweet, yet carried a smoky flavour on its jelly-like texture – an interesting contrast.
Aburi Salmon was half-torched with melted mentaiko – savoury and absolutely addictive.
The Hamachi Truffle is a quirky creation by Hokkaido Sushi’s Sushi Chefs. It is a Gunkan sushi which means it is shaped like a battleship, by using Nori – dried seaweed – to wrap around a ball of rice. (As ubiquitous as this style of sushi may be, I never knew it was called ‘gunkan’ and made to resemble a battleship.)
The slices of yellowtail overflowing from the crispy nori, are drizzled with truffle oil. It tastes exactly like what you’d expect it to – a tad bit of fishy-ness along with a subtle truffle aroma. So in case you’ve always wanted to try truffle oil in sushi or the combination of raw fish plus truffle oil, there you have it.
One of the most striking dishes I’ve tried at Hokkaido Sushi, the Hokkaido Maki is one of its kind in Singapore. You can’t find this anywhere else as the sushi master here made it himself.
As odd as it sounds, the star of this dish is the unassuming looking light brown sauce concocted by the chef. It tasted much like mayonnaise blended with bonito flakes. It’s sweet, savoury and umami flavour simply sealed the deal for this otherwise pretty simple sushi. Made it A++
Ginkarei Shioyaki, Ebi Tempura
Grilled Halibut and Tempura Prawns, are both Hokkaido Sushi’s signature dishes.
Grilled till a golden light brown outside, the halibut was silky and tender on the inside. At ends where the halibut was oilier, the flesh had a melt-in-your-mouth sensation. But because it’s just seasoned lightly with salt and a little bit of miso, it might be a tad bland.
Considering that this is a buffet, it came in a pretty generous portion! If you like your flavours on the lighter side, this grilled halibut is really enjoyable.
When I heard that prawn Tempura is one of their signatures, I was a bit skeptical. I mean, a fried food that can be found in almost every and any japanese restaurant really? And its tempura how badly can a place screw it up or how mindblowing can tempura be? (haven’t been to japan yet)
But okay wow Hokkaido Sushi’s Ebi Tempura was pretty impressive. The aromatic batter was light, so crisp, it falls apart when you bite into it. Beneath the batter hid fresh juicy prawns. Basically everything you’d want from a tempura; lightness, crispiness, non-oily, not soggy despite being left in the open for a while. Just amazing.
The buffet includes a variety of small-portioned mains like plain udon, beef udon, soba, garlic fried rice and surprisingly, katsudon!
Their garlic fried rice was rich with garlic flavour, giving you that slightly bitter aftertaste. Despite being fried till browned, the rice granules are still fat and springy. If you don’t want to have rice from sushi, here’s a pretty good source to get your rice.
The sensation of the rice is pretty different from usual – the grains appear slightly smaller, feels more springy and is not of the soft variety. This is because Hokkaido Sushi uses a type of rice called Nanatsuboshi rice, which they import from of course…Hokkaido.
Although tiny and subtle, this gesture goes a long way as it ensures the most suitable base for their Sushi which they pride themselves and name themselves after. They are one of the few restaurants in Singapore who uses this premium rice. After all, white rice is a staple of Japanese cuisine – so why not.
For the taste and variety, Hokkaido Sushi is not bad at all for $44++ per adult. It is pretty rare for a restaurant to place that many signature dishes on the buffet menu. That move is a great opportunity for patrons to try out their signatures without spending too much.
Would I come back again? Yes I would. I really enjoyed the Hokkaido Maki and Aburi Scallop Sushi. The promotion price is pretty decent so catch it before it ends.
Hokkaido Sushi Buffet:
Lunch (11:30am – 2:00 pm) : $38++ on promotion. Usual Price $48++
Dinner (6:00pm – 10:00pm) : $44++ on promo. Usual Price $55++