Emporium Shokuhin has for the past few weeks, received much media coverage in both the print and online media. Positioned as Singapore’s first Japanese food shopping and dining destination with a gourmet grocer, live seafood market, beef dry-aging facility and 8 dining concepts, Emporium Shokuhin seems like the place to be at. Although I personally would have preferred a stronger emphasis in the gourmet grocer section (for instance featuring more fruits and vegetables or even the option to pick a live King crab from the tank and have it steamed fresh for you on the spot to enjoy), the Emporium is set to be viewed as a collective whole with the 8 restaurants offering varying gourmet dining experiences. Takujo (たくじょう) is the Emporium’s premium answer for a restaurant. While it may be close to a kaiseki style restaurant, the best items off the select menu which I’ve tried thus far were the more wholesome A5 Miyazaki Sukiyaki Don (available only for lunch), the Ise Ebi Miso Soup, and most importantly, the Genmaicha Ice Cream.
I started dinner with the Chilled Vegetable Salad with Bonito Reduction ($10++; tasting portion depicted). Crisp and refreshing, the slices of daikon and okura were gently soaked in a tangy bonito liquid.
Seasonal White Fish garnished with a sweet vinegar jelly ($22++; tasting portion depicted)
Nagasaki Bluefin Tuna with Konbu Soy Dressing ($22++; tasting portion depicted)
I was quite impressed with this serving of Crispy Crab Croquettes ($18++; tasting portion depicted). Each piece literally burst upon the first bite, revealing the warm creamy seafood sweet stuffing within. Delicious.
This portion of Grilled Tuna Cheek (Seasonal price) was delectable through and through. I loved chunky portions of tuna that was nicely grilled to a tender savouriness without losing its juiciness. Dip it in the side of salt provided for a touch of added flavour, and reveal the tuna’s flavourful depth and complexity.
The A5 Miyazaki Sukiyaki Don ($38++, Lunch Only) was for me, the best dish for the night. Tender, well marbled beef slices were braised in a sweet savoury sukiyaki sauce and then topped on a bowl of Nigata rice. Break the poached egg in the centre, and relish in this bowl of comfort food that is worth down to the last grain.
The Ise Ebi Miso Soup ($16++; tasting portion depicted) is worth the recommendation. Hearty, clear, with a hint of sea sweetness enveloping the more distinct miso, I thoroughly enjoyed every sip from this broth. Best enjoyed when served and experience that sigh of satisfaction.
I had a good mind not to even mention this lest the Genmaicha Ice Cream ($6++; tasting portion depicted) would be unavailable when I do go down to visit for a serving. The experience of this dish was truly sublime. I loved the creamy, slightly frosty blocks of vanilla ice cream that provided a wonderful textural contrast as each serving rolls sweetly in your mouth. It carried a subtle yet almost unmistakble fragrance from molasses, with a layer of caramelized sugar gently coating the ice cream’s surface. A masterpiece, and something I wished could be ordered home.
Ishizuchi Jyunmai Daiginjo ($108++)
Although I didn’t get the opportunity to savour the range of artisan dishes from Takujo, certain dishes did stand out as worthy items that demanded a visit. If you are in the area, you have to try the Miyazaki Sukiyaki don and possibly finish it off with some genmaicha ice cream. Yet, for an overall dining experience, Takujo does seem a little detached or less unique from what I would consider a distinguished kaiseki or even a Japanese dining experience. There were elements of artisanal creativity, and with quality produce readily available, much more certainly can be done to up the ante. Being part of Emporium Shokuhin, and with the way the entire concept has been positioned, expectations are high for what is possibly the flagship restaurant in the area. Still, the Emporium does offer a tantalizing range of gourmet choices, though a lot more work is needed to solidify a presence in an already saturated Japanese dining scene and with strong competitors like Isetan and Medi-ya.
Thank you Emporium Shokuhin for the invitation.
Reservations: 6224 3433
1130 am to 3pm
6pm to 10pm