April 19, 2016
Ristorante Takada – an Italian fine dining restaurant that incorporates premium and seasonal Japanese Ingredients into its dishes. With an all-Japanese kitchen staff, the restaurant boasts of authenticity that caters to the slightly subtler Asian palate.
Chef-owner, Masahiro Takada spent eight years in Italy gaining experience in Michelin Star Italian restaurants, living and breathing the Italian cuisine. While he was in Singapore in 2014, he, along with brothers, Don and Keith Lee, launched Ristorante Takada.
Co-owners Don and Keith Lee have been dedicated to the Italian cuisine scene in Singapore for about eight to nine years before deciding on launching Ristorante Takada, their third existing Italian restaurant.
Chef Takada, in order to ensure the quality and freshness of dishes prepared, changes the menu constantly based on the seasonality of certain ingredients.
The majority of their set lunches and dinners are served Omakase-style (dishes served are carefully selected and prepared by the chef). That means that all the food you’ll be served is definitely top notch, made with seasonal produce.
With smooth jazz music lulling from the speakers, gentle lighting and a soft-grey chic interior, Ristorante Takada exudes simple style and comfort.
Let me bring you along on my Tokyo-Italian fine dining experience: a nine-course Omakase Dinner.
For the first course: Mushroom Cappuccino, a delightful little cup of caramelised onion and mushroom puree, topped off with truffle and cream foam.
Well, more like a shot than a cappuccino, I downed this creamy concoction pretty quickly. Smooth, thick, and oh so pleasant, it left me wishing it were a huge bowl rather than just a cup. Alas, there were eight other courses to go through. I had to hold myself together.
On to the second course: Ocean Trout and Sawara with Sakura Smoke
On top of the Ocean Trout and Sawara (seasonal Spanish Mackerel) were a teaspoon of parsnip puree and a smidgen of caviar.
The dish was presented with an upturned bowl that encased the sashimi in smoke burned from Sakura wood. On the side, capers and egg cream brought a welcome sour tinge to the tongue.
Surprisingly, the smokey flavours really came through and even lingered at the end. The parsnip, gentle and sweet, I felt, perfectly wrapped this beautiful concoction of flavours together.
Third Course: Cartoccio Trasparante Hokkaido Scallop
This dish of Hokkaido Scallop, Canadian Clam and Burrata Cheese was snugly bundled up in Cartoccio Trasparante (transparent parchment) to seal in its flavours.
The scallop only partially cooked to maintain its subtle sweetness, fused well with the Panna Cotta mushroom and truffle sauce.
This dish truly was delightful, with the scallop soft and thick, the clam well doused in the sauce, and the cheese introducing an interesting acidity and texture to the dish.
Fourth Course: White Asparagus and French Quail
The quail thighs had crispy skin and really rich flavours, almost like it had been brined for hours. The amazing thing is that it hadn’t.
The quail was soft, tender and dripping with juices. All of this accomplished by firstly, pan frying on high heat to seal the surface, then roasting in an oven to control its doneness.
To even out the richness of the thigh, the white asparagus, which is currently in season, was crunchily cleansing. Never thought I’d say this, but I enjoyed this vegetable.
Fifth Course: Squid Ink Taglionili with Hokkaido Sea Urchin
This dish is so delicious that it has had countless requests by customers who come back raving about it, consequently swaying Chef Takada to make it a permanent special on their menu. And oh yes it truly was exquisite.
The Taglionili, hand-made by Chef Takada, was firm, an even contrast to the soft Uni (sea urchin) and Ikura (salmon roe), so I thought that was a good nice balance of texture. The golden dusting sprinkled around the pasta is actually salted, cured fish roe (bottarga), which introduced an element of saltiness to the dish as a whole.
A little secret unbeknownst to most is that Chef Takada finely chops Nori (seaweed) to refine the flavours brought out by the Uni and Ikura. I can definitely see why people keep coming back for more.
Sixth Course: Foie-gras Risotto Raspberry Bubble
Ahhhh, the famous Foie Gras, drizzled with balsamic reduction, rich and heavy on the palate, mingled well with the light acidity of Raspberry bubble and smooth creamy risotto. Even the risotto, by the way, is of the highest quality in the market.
Seventh Course: Kagoshima A5 Wagyu Tenderloin Steak with Red Wine Sauce
Remember how I mentioned that they utilise premium Japanese ingredients? This is what I meant. This is what an A5-grade Wagyu Steak looks like, my friends. Soft and tender, it practically melts in your mouth with all that fat.
This is another dish that customers have unfailingly returned for, and thus is now a staple on Chef Takada’s dynamic menu.
Eighth Course: Petit Fours
The madeleines were fluffy and zesty, the soft chocolate truffle rich and bitter-sweet, and the gooseberries were simply an exciting sour burst of flavour, like tiny little palate cleansers.
Ninth Course: 4 kinds of cheeses
Ah, this dessert really caught my attention. Utilising four kinds of cheeses, this last course was weird by name, but an amazing kind of weird. You wouldn’t imagine a sweet dessert to have pungent blue cheese in it, but this one did.
The mascarpone, ricotta cheese, cheesecake, and Gorgonzola cheese (Italian blue cheese) were pleasant contrasts to each other – a blend of sweet, sharp and savoury. Although some might find the Gorgonzola to be a little too strong, I felt it was an intriguing end to my dinner.
I must say, their afternoon sets are really affordable too, starting from just $38++ and great for corporate lunches.
You’d expect one to leave the restaurant overly full with a bloated tummy, but I left in a state of perfect satisfaction. Ristorante Takada serves courses that are evenly proportioned and a delight to the palate. If however you are still feeling hungry after the nine-course dinner, Ristorante Takada can throw in a bowl of pasta as well to make sure all guests are full and happy.
Expected Damage: $148++ for the nine-course Omakase Dinner