EPICURE

Michelin-starred Kimura’s special sushi

 Sushi Kimura stands out in the Singapore high-end sushi scene for its one Michelin star and unique ingredients

 

 

Sushi Kimura

One Michelin-starred Sushi Kimura at Palais Renaissance, Singapore

March 2021

Unless you’re a recluse who believes social interactions are like radio deejays’ banal banter and nothing but a total waste of time, the pandemic has profoundly changed your life.

One result of that – assuming you’re the upmarket sort – is the inability to fly to Tokyo, aka sushi wonderland, to pay homage at the temples of gastronomic genius such as, say, Sushi Saito, Sushi Yoshitake or Sukiyabashi Jiro.

If you’re the type who could regularly score a seat there, suddenly being confined to Singapore and the local sushi scene would probably have startled your posh palate, not to mention alarmed your delicate sensitivities – especially if the local “itamae” or his assistant were the type to unleash a string of Hokkien (usually at another staffer or his regular who BYO-ed whisky).

Chef Tomoo Kimura of Sushi Kimura in Singapore

That is why Sushi Kimura at Palais Renaissance distinguishes itself not only for its authenticity but differentiates its premium menu with uniquely source ingredients and unusual arrangements.

Sushi Kimura is helmed by chef-owner Tomoo Kimura and assisted by two Japanese chefs who are unlikely to be acquainted with any Hokkien words unless they are uncharacteristically colourful.

Chef Kimura’s ichiban dinner menu is called Rikyu and comprises:

  • Seasonal starter
  • Tender cooked abalone
  • Three kinds of seasonal sashimi
  • Grilled Fish
  • Seasonal platter
  • Eight kinds of sushi
  • Rice bowl
  • Soup
  • Dessert
Sushi Kimura ebi

Sushi Kimura’s ebi

In addition to the surprising culinary twists, each course is served with Chef Kimura’s welcome good cheer and excellent command of English.

Here are some highlights of the top dinner course:

Depending on how bad your withdrawal symptoms are, the first sip of the seasonal starter – a bowl of fish broth – should transport you to Tokyo immediately.

This owan contains slippery jyunsai or water shield, yuba or beancurd strips, and two hotaru ika or firefly squid.

The tender abalone is as advertised, and the succulent shellfish simmered in Junmai sake is served with a dip of pure liver sauce, which Chef Kimura drops a dollop of his special shari or sushi rice into halfway through.

There is seasonal sashimi and there is Sushi Kimura’s unusual seasonal sashimi combo.

Fat chunks of bonito are accompanied by kue – a 24 kg whopper of a longtooth grouper caught near Goto island off Kyushu – and aoyagi gai, a rarely served round clam.

The clam is interesting for its unflattering alias – baka gai or idiot clam (because its foot sticks out of the shell like a tongue). Its crunchy texture is full of clammy flavour but it is still only a close second to the kue’s resilient texture and sweetness.

What stands out, however, are the seafood’s non-piscine friends on the side – a dollop of koji miso to accompany a tomato wedge and snow pea, plus a slice of sweet kumquat slice and a cube of capsicum jelly.

You will never see anything like this in Tokyo and Chef Kimura co-opts them not only to be different but as a wonderfully tasty and refreshing addition.

Sushi Kimura's nodoguro

Sushi Kimura’s nodoguro

The grilled fish or yakimono was nodoguro or black-throat seaperch. Grilled to perfection, it is a juicy, oily treat of tender flesh.

The seasonal platter is a trio of bites that are akaza ebi scampi from Shizuoka, topped with caviar specially curated for Chef Kimura; murasaki sea urchin; and ankimo monkfish liver nearing the tail end of the season.

Sushi Kimura's special caviar and nori

Sushi Kimura’s special caviar and nori

In addition to the caviar, the other special ingredient is a thick sheet of nori or dried seaweed from Kumamoto. A product of the first harvest and double the usual thickness, it is unique to Kimura. Paired with the uni, it softened the brininess with strong umami and a satisfying crunch that an ordinary thin slice of nori doesn’t have.

Then it was sushi time with a limited edition sake from Niigata – initially fruity on the nose but with a long and pleasantly dry finish.

Chef Kimura’s aka shari or sushi rice comes from Yamagata and is prepared with a blend of two types of aged Kyoto vinegar – two years and 15 years. The result is yieldingly firm shari with individual grains that is slightly sour but otherwise well-rounded and is perfectly balanced with the tender neta or topping.

Some of Kimura’s fish are sourced from Hiroki Hasegawa, a fish broker from the chef’s home prefecture of Kanagawa. Hasegewa san is famous for taking great care of the live fish before shipping out to his many illustrious clients.

Sushi Kimura's kinmedai

Sushi Kimura’s kinmedai

The sushi:

  • Hasegawa san’s tai or sea bream from Sagami Bay – translucent with a plump, fleshy texture and mellow flavour.
  • Kasugo-dai or small sea bream, which melted in the mouth and paired perfectly with the firm rice.
  • Hasegawa san’s kinmedai or golden-eyed dai with a squeeze of sudachi or citrus. The kinmedai was a stunner because unlike the white flesh with a strip of crimson skin, the belly cut at Kimura looked like pink mother-of-pearl. It was tender, sweet and the best sushi of the night.
  • Kampachi or amberjack had the usual satisfying springy sweetness.
  • An uni handroll with a top half of murasaki from Miyagi and a lower half of bafun from Hokkaido was crunchy and sweet umami.
  • Kuruma ebi or prawn sushi.
  • Otoro or tuna belly came from a giant Atlantic bluefin tuna, chosen because the 389 kg whopper – aged for three weeks and served aburi or seared by charcoal embers – was in its prime and the Japanese version wasn’t.
  • Another very special highlight was the huge hotate or scallop from Iwate, wrapped in lightly toasted nori. It was huge because it was five years old and not the usual one-year specimen. Sweet, juicy and oh so satisfying. A tie with the kinmedai.
  • An intricate rice bowl heralded the conclusion of the main courses, with ikura or salmon roe, onsen tamago or onsen egg, uni, and negitoro or scraped tuna. It was accompanied by a tiny bowl of piping hot soup.
  • The tamago cake was equally fancy and composed of egg mixed with flounder, grouper and yamato imo or mountain yam. Delicious.
  • For dessert, there was a premium pink strawberry, Shizuoka’s saccharine sweet musk melon and a square of cheese made with fish!

Who says you have to go to Tokyo to find something special.

https://www.sushikimura.com.sg

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