Even nearby HDB occupant Meii Sushi is not hitting prices this low: a six- to nine-course omakase (‘up to the chef’) meal at chef Yamashita Teppei’s 17-stool restaurant in the heart of the CBD goes for $40, $50 or $60. Its dishes are quietly creative, and it’s sometimes hard to see the catch.
The prices are kept down partly by the low maintenance of the small (409 sq ft) open-kitchen space, where the cheery former Ten-Jyaku chef chats with his smartly dressed Nippon-jin regulars along the counter. Like at all omakase restaurants, if you arrive in a group, you’ll have to order the same priced set across.
Teppei does all the cooking and raw fish handling himself, and the small plates are close to the real deal, though across the board the dishes lose points for being too salty.
After the nutty char-grilled edamame, highlights include a chunky-cut sashimi trifecta of tuna, scallop and salmon, which taste both fresh and subtly sweet. Another is the bara chirashizushi, raw fish (mostly salmon) and roe on a bowl of sushi rice – the combination is smooth, bouncy and crunchy, lifted by the perfectly steamed, crisp-noted, spring water-fuelled Koshihikari rice grains.
There’s meat, too, with tender irregular pork cuts simmered in vinegar and paired nicely with a scorching yuzu-jalapeño paste. A plate of udon noodles, done kake-style (in broth with spring onions, seaweed and slices of kamaboko, a Japanese fishcake), slurp up like silk.
Teppei leaves just one task to his assistant – the deep-frying of the tempura. While the pale-yellow batter is crisp and dry, the big prawn in the dinner has a slightly squashy texture that contrasts with the fresh specimens at the bustling and efficient tempura-sets-only ($15-$18) lunch service.
All in all, the omakase dishes aren’t quite up there with the best in town, but then again those start at twice this price. Unless requested, the beef teppan (hot plate, $15) and home-made smoked mullet roe ($10) won’t make their way into the omakase, though their aromas will likely seep into your clothes. You’ll probably leave satisfied enough that you won’t care too much.
Main courses $8-$18.