Wednesday, 18 June 2014


Chanced upon Ikyu while exploring the Tiong Bahru neighbourhood one day, and made reservations for dinner on a weekday after checking out its menu online. According to the website, Chef Takuma Seki defies limits and definitions by reinventing and revitalising the soul of Japanese food to put surprise and wonder back into eating. It is located along Yong Siak Road with 40 Hands, Open Door Policy and PoTeaTo. Stepping into the dark place with grunge metal, what stood out is décor atypical of most Japanese restaurants with lots of wood. My dining companion ordered from the à la carte menu while I had the omakase. Started with an appetiser salad followed by fresh sashimi of salmon belly, amberjack and tuna directly flown in from Tsukiji –  both dishes were nothing to rave about or fault. Grilled pork sausage or hotdog was so salty I cringed with every bite while French foie gras had a crisp and a tad hard outside with insides soft but not enough to melt in the mouth.

There was a nice aroma of butter in sautéed hotate and mushroom with fresh scallops well-balanced by different types of mushrooms in a savoury sauce. Robata king crab with soy and butter was sweet, juicy and firm. Fried fugu sperm, tasteless on its own with a mushy texture, was encased in a thin layer of flour and deep-fried. Served as two balls on potato salad with raw greens and half a cherry tomato, they were drizzled with a tart dressing. Rack of lamb had a gamely smell and taste I did not like though it was one of the better ones my dining companion had. Then it was time for nigiri sushi of amberjack, anago, conch, squid and tuna. After a soup was served as palate cleanser between the savoury and sweet, our cups of green tea supposedly "contaminated" with oil was replaced with new ones. Dessert was Niigata rice ice-cream with fresh strawberry and whipped cream, which had an overwhelming taste of milk and a texture that reminded my dining companion of pudding.

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