Food (and wine) – 94/100
There’s only one menu available (Japanese ‘omakase’ style) – 10 courses degustation menu. I would say the cuisine is inspired by Japanese and with some influence of French technique. The food is generally light and clean, but still delicious. For 1st visitor, they will usually serve a series of their signature dishes with a few seasonal items. Some of the memorable dishes I ate are (based on 2 separate visits),
- Botan ebi, uni and caviar: the restaurant’s signature dish is a must have one. The uni was velvety sweet that enhanced the shrimp’s sweetness and texture; the caviar’s brininess showed some contrast. This was a decadent and rich dish without any bad after taste. Excellent!
- Alaskan king crab: a simple dish, focusing on the crab’s tender texture and inherent taste. The crab was cooked under a copper pan, with some lemon scented olive oil. It’s hard to find any fault on this dish, a fine example of tasty and clean dish
- Ohmi wagyu beef: great Japanese food identical with fresh seafood and top quality beef. The beef was marbled, rich and delicious. A freshly grated wasabi and the ‘ponzu’ sauce give another dimension of an already wonderful stuff. Again, another simple but delicious dish
- Don’t expect elaborate dessert preparation like in many European 3-star restaurants. Both the cheesecake (light with some mild lemon curd) and chocolate mousse (rich with exceptional chocolate quality) demanded your full attention.
I will show some ‘contrast’ of my abalone and lobster dishes – the basic cooking are the same except the side dishes and sauces were not
Tasmanian Abalone served with Polenta, Tomato and Garlic cream - The 'greenlip' abalone was still alive. It had beautiful texture with right chewiness. The side dishes represented the summer spirit with fresh cherry tomato and cream's sourness.
Australian Abalone served with Fregola and Tomato - Italian-influence dish. The charred 3-year old abalone was firm yet not rubbery, with subtle sweetness. The basil-laced fregola was delicate and worked well with tomato's acidity. Love the refreshing 'soup' - this dish was better than the abalone with polenta version
Braised Canadian Lobster with Tarragon - The lobster was lightly cooked to produce right texture. The 'sauce', generating deep flavor, was not too rich but very tasty; the broth consisted of lobster bisque, olive oil, tarragon and butter. Great dish in generous portion
Braised Canadian Lobster served with Couscous and Tagine spice - This dish has Moroccan's flavor. Lobster's claw was a bit too soft while its tail was perfectly cooked. The couscous was good, but the 'stock' (lobster's juice, long pepper and paprika cream) was somewhat very tense. It's hard to go wrong with lobster, but I prefer the one with Tarragon
I truly enjoy both of my meals here. The restaurant usually remembers you after the first visit – I suspected that’s why they re-assigned Chef Yagawa to cook for me again on my 2nd visit. It’s a bit unusual that in one Teppan room, there are 2 chefs. I suppose they want to make it more personal for me. I usually give grade to my meals, and this ones were 94/100 (solid 2 ½* by Michelin standard) – seriously, this score was about the equivalent of my meal at Alinea Chicago, Le Bristol Paris and La Pergola Rome
Service (and ambiance) – 93/100
The service is typical Asian – friendly, courteous but hardly personal. The service staffs are dominated by Filipinos (who are usually kind and helpful) and a few Japanese who used to work at Tetsuya’s Sydney. The décor is simplistic with some wooden panel and cold steel. The interesting part will be the dining concept itself. Diners may begin their aperitifs at “the caviar lounge”, then they will enjoy their appetizers and main courses at the Teppan room (there are 3 of them, and each seated about 6 guests). Lastly, to wind down and enjoying desserts, diners are seated at the high-ceiling main dining room that has a beautiful view of Singapore sky-line in the evening. I think it’s already time for Michelin to finally come to Singapore. There’re many good restaurants here, and this place may put serious challenge to HK’s dining scene (especially at 2-3 star levels). I’m confident Waku Ghin deserved at least a 2-star award (with a slight chance to push it to 3 as Michelin’s non-Europe edition tends to be lenient)
More detailed reviews: Waku Ghin '11
Pictures of the dishes: Waku Ghin dishes
Edited by Bu Pun Su, 15 February 2012 - 10:00 PM.