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CNA Lifestyle

Omakase featuring horse mackerel, zuke maguro and uni at Sushi Chiharu

For its price, this is one omakase experience we could go back for more than once a year – and is the best thing we ate this week.

This isn’t the best sushi omakase in town, but at S$140++ for three appetisers, a sashimi course, 10 pieces of nigiri sushi, miso soup and dessert, it is certainly among the best affordable omakase meals to be had.–

Tuna ((Photo: Sushi Chiharu)

As part of our meal, we enjoyed the zuke maguro nigiri, which saw a lustrous sliver of dusky pink tuna that had been cured in a blend of shoyu, sake and mirin for about six hours, then rinsed and laid upon a morsel of warm, vinegar-tinged rice. That soy bath gave the fish a lovely savouriness, as if it had been wrapped in an invisible layer of seaweed.

Scallop (Photo: Annette Tan)

There was also a sourish slice of gizzard shark, aged for two days, giving it a delicious, fishy funk. A plump scallop was brushed in soy and grilled to coax its inherent sweetness to a deep smokiness, before it was wrapped in a sheet of seaweed so every bite was sweet, juicy, briny and crisp.

Uni sushi is served right onto your hand. (Photo: Annette Tan)

The rich oiliness of horse mackerel was tempered by a dip in vinegar before a topping of finely chopped spring onions, ginger and a gentle brush of soy. Creamy nuggets of bafun and Murasaki sea urchin were set on loosely packed rice and placed on our palms so we could devour them in a single mouthful before they fell apart in a messy heap. 

Kenshi, or angel shrimp (Photo: Sushi Chiharu)

The Edomae-style sushi here is served by fresh graduates from Japan’s Insyokujin College, a tradition that started at Sushi Chiharu’s Michelin Bib Gourmand-endorsed mothership in Osaka. The best graduates are picked and sent here for a specific period before a new batch takes over.

The lack of experience and maturity shows. At 21 years old, chef Issei Taba has a shy, apprehensive and almost dour demeanour that made us want to lean over the counter to give him a reassuring pat. At 28, chef Nakahara Saya, one of only a few female sushi chefs in Singapore at the moment, is more confident, bubbly and communicative.

The restaurant seats just 12. (Photo: Sushi Chiharu)

What the chefs lack in the decades of practice and know-how of an older sushi master, the restaurant makes up for with good produce imported from Japan twice weekly. With just 12 seats set across a glossy wood counter, the dining experience feels relatively exclusive and is accompanied by attentive service. With higher-end sushi restaurants charging upwards of S$250 for a meal, this is a great way to eat well without busting too much of a budget.

45A Cuppage Road

Source: CNA/my