For avid readers of our blog, the name Shima should ring bells in your head. This Japanese restaurant in Goodwood Park Hotel is the first teppanyaki restaurant in Singapore. They also allow their diners to experience quality kaiseki, prepared by Chef Fumihiko Hoshiba and his team.
In kaiseki, which is a Japanese multi-course dinner that’s similar to Western-style haute cuisine, the ingredients undergo meticulous preparation and are exquisitely served.
As such, kaiseki meals such as those at Shima can easily reach three-digit figures while Shima keeps theirs at $88.
The interior is composed of two separate dining areas — one for teppanyaki and the other for fine dining Japanese cuisine. Teppanyaki dinners of Shima will be in for a treat with their meal prepared and served right in front of them.
To kick-start the meal, we had the Appetiser Course, which was a gorgeous plate of seasonal ingredients specially chosen for the winter menu. Ingredients such as ogawa salmon and octopus with soft oak were lightly seasoned, allowing their freshness to shine through.
Texturally, the intriguing pink lilyroot sharp was similar to konnyaku jelly, while the bright orange oriental river prawn served in its shell added contrasting crunch. The plate altogether was light and refreshing but still managed to whet our appetites.
Next was Chef’s Selection Of Seasonal Sashimi (3 Types), the plate looked exquisite. The fresh botan ebi (botan shrimp) sashimi nestled above the shaved ice showed finesse while the hirame (flounder) sashimi was rolled precisely around the chopped scallion.
Flavour-wise, the ebi had a distinct sweetness that was very pleasant. And while we were unfamiliar with hirame, we were pleasantly surprised by its slightly rougher texture and subtle taste. Diners can also expect thick and beautifully marbled ottoro (fatty tuna) sashimi, which comes from the tuna’s belly.
Chawanmushi With Shark’s Fin has definitely got to be a first. The shark’s fin was thinly sliced, soft and not too fibrous while the gooey stock borrowed flavours from traditional shark’s fin soup. Despite the seemingly simple presentation, the custard was consistently smooth while the taste itself was light and creamy.
However, the main surprise lies at the bottom of the custard. Inside, there were yuzu bits that add a zestier flavour to the shark meat as well as sesame tofu that was denser in texture. The standout was the sesame tofu that added a contrasting gritty texture and nutty taste that really elevated the chawanmushi.
What better way to beat the chill of winter than with the piping hot Golden Grilled Lobster with Wakamomo And Hajikami? The lobster meat was served to us in its shell alongside wakamomo (baby peach), hajikami (pickled ginger shoot) and some sea salt.
The cheese mayo combination was delicious and reminiscent of Western lobster thermidor. However, I did find my lobster a tad overcooked as it was a little rubbery.
My favourite part of the dish was the wakamomo. While the wakamomo resembles a lime, it is anything but sour. Eaten whole, it bursts with an extraordinary sweetness that was really refreshing and complemented the richer lobster meat well.
Next up was the Red Snapper & Prawn Served With Rape Blossoms, Wheat Bran Colouring And Yuzu. You could tell from the first bite that the seafood was fresh. The red snapper was flaky, while still retaining some of its bite, and the prawn kept its natural sweetness.
The dainty fu, or wheat bran, got its pigment with the use of rape blossoms. The texture of the wheat bran was similar to chewy mochi, which contrasted with that of the seafood. The whole dish was brought together with the flavourful dashi stock and zesty yuzu.
The next course was the Snow Crab Wrap Mushroom, Wildplant, Ricepaper. I’d just like to say at this point, that the dish names are probably directly translated from Japanese as there wasn’t any mushroom on our plate, so I guess something was probably lost in translation.
The wild plant that came along with our set is commonly known as butterbur, a potent-tasting medicinal plant. For those who aren’t keen on bitter herbal flavours, this component may not be for you.
Our set also comprised of chewy pumpkin tempura, and rice paper tempura. Of course, the star of the show had to be the snow crab tempura.
The batter coating on the crab was not too thick, giving the tempura a delightful crunch. The crab itself had very clean and light flavours, which paired fantastically with the soy-based dipping sauce.
After that, we received a box of Shoudoshima Olive Noodles. When I first saw the slight green hues of the noodles, I thought that it would taste similar to cha soba. However, I was surprised to find that the noodles were smooth and slightly chewy, unlike its buckwheat doppelganger.
Laid upon a bed of ice, the cold noodles when dipped in the slightly salty, gingery sauce, served as a great palate cleanser after the previous warm courses. The noodles were so refreshing, they were gone in the blink of an eye.
For dessert, we were served up a plate consisting of selections of fresh fruits, and a couple of pieces of crepe cake. The crepe cakes were so delicate and light they just melted in our mouths. Together with the juicy fresh fruit, the crepe cakes were the perfect way to end a meal showcasing impeccable attention to detail and natural flavours.
As a whole, the meal was a beautiful display of exquisite and fresh seasonal seafood. In line with the winter season, we were able to appreciate the themes of snow and ice that were reinforced across the dishes. Diners are in for a cosy and relaxed experience as the meal, despite having eight courses, was rather light.
For just $88, come pamper yourself with one of the more affordable kaiseki menus that promise to be a celebration of exotic winter ingredients!
Expected Damage: $88++ per pax