I was immensely pleased when I walked into Shin Kushiya. Heralding itself as a fine Kushiyaki (charcoal grilled meat) restaurant, it was difficult to not notice the waft of smoky fragrance and sizzling crispiness filling the atmosphere.
And apart from their Kushiyaki specialty, Shin Kushiya is also a concept of Japanese and fusion foods. How well could sea urchin, truffle oil and angel hair pasta go together? Well, Shin Kushiya has done it.
When it comes to the standard fare of sushi, I found the salmon and tuna nigiri sushi to be adequately fresh. The vinegar is however a little uneven with certain parts of the sushi being stronger in its pungency. However, the Ika sushi had its cut a little too thick. Resulting in a bit of a creamy texture and little overall sparkle to the dish.
$1.90 – Sake, Ika. $2.20 – Maguro.
The Pumpkin Croquette ($7.80) while it is a bit pricey, it is perhaps justifiable for its crispiness and creamy stuffing. Goes very well with the sauce dip.
When the grilled items came, I was impressed by the delicate hint of smokiness emanating from it. The Kawa – Crispy chicken skin with salt was grilled to a fine crisp that gave a good crunch on each bite. The seasoning was light that only aimed to reveal the natural sweetness of the skin.
For the Buta Bara Yaki Miso Gingner ($2.80), which is the three layered pork belly with miso gingner, there was a good flavour to the belly pork. However, the leanness in the choice of this particular piece of skewered meat did little to live up to its named standards. A slight amount of grilled crisp fat would have done it good.
The Gyu Karubi ($3.80) is a particular favourite amongst diners according to the waiter there. Each stick of prime beef is marinated with a good amount of cracked black pepper and crushed salt to bring out the natural flavours and juices. After the grill over the hot charcoal, I found the meat to be crisp on the outside, meaty on the inside but with flavours ranging from saltish smoky to neutral.
I simply must give my praises for the Shin Truffle Infused Uni Pasta. Call it an infusion of both French and Japanese, the dish is created with slightly undercooked Angel Hair Pasta drizzled and tossed with a good sense of truffle oil, tobiko, topped with caviar and finally with a few pieces of fresh sea urchin, then chilled.
The delightful taste is hearty with a good roundness of the earth, and the undercooked pasta gives a firm chew and bite, leaving one to break into the flavours of the dish. When it comes to the sea urchin, it is delicately sweet, odourless and fresh. Complementing well with the earthen concept of the dish.
I would visit Shin Kushiya again for more of this! Served to you at $24.80.
While I might have heaped praises on the Shin Truffle Infused Uni Pasta, the Beef Foie Gras Daikon (Pan Seared Tenderloin with Caramelised Foie Gras with Simmered Radish) is…something else. The first thing I noted was the stark difference in the actual serving and the display picture. While I may accept that appearances may differ, I believe the true ideal and presentation of the dish should remain the same.
The picture showed the daikon sitting on a yellow cream emulsion base but what was served was instead a thickened orangey viscous gravy. Nevermind the difference, the gravy was also way too salty and it actually marred the perfection of the grilled tenderloin and foie gras.
I expected more from Shin Kushiya after such a nice performance, but this pulled down the grade. Beef Foie Gras Daikon – $28.80.
When it comes to desserts, I ordered the Umeshu Tiramisu. For $7.80, the sweet ending is a special concoction of plum wine with tiramisu. The tiramisu was average with little hint of the umeshu. I would rather have a more alcoholic dessert.
As a healthy alternative after all the rich food, I also had the Tofu Cheesecake. $4.80 would give you a decent square piece that is topped with a sprig of leaf and a slice of lemon to which I believe adds to visual pleasure and illusion of the cheesecake’s natural sourness.
Quite delightful with the presence of soy and bits of tofu here and there. And the crisp base was a good combination as well.
When it comes to grilled meats, Shin Kushiya performs very well. And that is also not forgetting the Shin Truffle Infused Uni Pasta. A name that long definitely tastes as good as it should. The ambience of the restaurant would easily equate to a casual yet fine dining restaurant because of its price range for certain dishes. If you are looking for things strictly Japanese, the restaurant is not the place to be as after all fusion dishes are aplenty. And if you take note, the background music is more contemporary and different.
But for the record, Shin Kushiya would be the place to be if you are willing to fork out a sum for a decent Japanese fusion inspired meal. Otherwise, you might feel better eating at the traditional Japanese sushi bar just next door.
1 Harbourfront Walk
Tel : 6275 8766