Last Updated: November 15, 2017
Shima at Goodwood Park Hotel is famous for being the first teppanyaki restaurant in Singapore. Now, diners have the opportunity to experience one of Japan’s culinary traditions, kaiseki. The multi-course dinner allows Japanese chefs to display their adept skills and techniques in the way they decorate and present the meal, course by course.
Helming the kitchen at Shima, is Chef Fumihiko Hoshiba, Hokkaido’s most decorated kaiseki chef, with 30 awards and 40 years of experience to his name. We heard that he is such a craftsman with a knife that he uses it for everything from chopping to peeling to slicing and even creating intricate works of art with his food!
There are different kaiseki menus available, with two options of $48 and $68 for lunch, and three options of $88, $188 and $288 for dinner. We gave the $88 eight-course dinner menu a try, which started off with a Zensai course, a pretty collection of five small dish portions, including Shiitake Kogarami, Yuzu-steamed Aigamo and Ebi With Caviar.
My favourite was the Sazae, a small sea snail that tasted surprisingly smooth and refreshing. Not what you’d expect from this peculiar mollusc.
Next up is my personal favourite when it comes to any Japanese meal: sashimi. The course comes with three different types, according to what’s seasonal and available but that evening, the fattiness of the tuna was undeniable; it coated the palate so well that it tasted quite close to red meat.
The following course was Mushimono (usually meaning a steamed dish), served as Fukahire Chawanmushi. This, however, was no ordinary chawanmushi. The texture was velvety and had an infusion of yuzu, lending it a unique multi-layered piquancy.
Beef lovers will gush unabashedly over the next course, the Yakimono. Although the serving comes with seasonal fish, the A5 Tochigi Wagyu & Aonegi Wrap is unforgettable. The beef is not only tender but also aromatic and refined, without going too hearty on the tongue.
The fish of choice was a Japanese amberjack, that had been marinated in Sakana Kyoto miso for three days. Needless to say, the flesh peeled off effortlessly, and the saltiness of the marinade did well to balance the natural sweetness of the fish.
As you might notice already, every course highlights a different cooking technique, and as such, the fifth course was a Nimono (a simmered dish). Very delicately presented to us was a turnip carved out to hold within, prawn meat, and placed in chrysanthemum broth. Aside from looking dainty and aesthetically pretty, the textural variety of this particular course caught us off guard, mostly because from sight alone, one would assume the dish would be as tender as a dumpling. Nevertheless, the sweetness of the prawns and subtle floral notes from the broth made a great choice as a follow-up to the previous beef dish.
It’s hard to turn down deep-fried Japanese food, so the next course, Agemono, was a welcome treat. Sadly, though, it didn’t live up to our fried food fantasy and was lacklustre in texture.
Luckily, the second-last course, Gohan, perked us right up. Usually referring to a cooked rice dish in Japanese, the Matsutake Takikomi Gohan filled our carb-lovin’ heart. The rice is cooked in dashi stock in a claypot and is both savoury and smoky.
We closed dinner with Mizugashi (literally translated to ‘water sweets’), which was a course of matcha ice cream mochi, persimmon and pear.
With most multi-course meals, there will be some crowd favourites and some decent offerings, but all in all, for the craftsmanship and skills of the dinner prepared for us by Chef Hoshiba, it is definitely a dining experience that is worthy of sharing with friends.
Expected damage: $48 – $288