Those with a penchant for expense account-type sushi-yas will rejoice at the recent addition of Hashida Sushi (“Hashida”) to the vibrant Japanese dining scene.
Housed in the zen surrounds of a blond wood-swathed corner space on the second floor of Mandarin Gallery, Hashida is the eponymous offshoot of Tokio Hashida’s Tokyo-based sushi-ya, which has been serving sushi in Japan for decades.
Offering just 18 seats – Atomi’s Hiroshima chairs, no less – at a minimalist wood counter and another 8 in a private room, Hashida is a business venture between Tokio Hashida’s son, Kenjiro “Hatch” Hashida (“Hatch”), and 2 other local partners.
At 34 year old, Hatch probably ranks amongst the youngest master sushi chefs in town but his sushi chops, honed from almost 20 years of learning the ropes at this father’s sushi-ya has put him in good stead, as did his year-long stint at The Geisha in Shanghai in 2011. Hatch is also conversant in English as he spent a year in the USA after graduating from L’Ecole Tsuji Tokyo.
Working alongside Hatch at Hashida are 3 other sushi chefs: Tomoo Kimura (former executive sushi chef of Sushi Ichi), Kenji Nakagawa and Mitsuhiro Ayabe.
What to expect
The hallmark of Hashida is sushi served omakase (which means let the chef decide) style.
While there’s no a la carte menu here, there are various lunch and dinner tasting menus to suit your budget. Come at lunch (prices: Tsubaki at S$80, Ayame at S$120 and Hiiraji at S$250) if you do not wish to burn a big hole in your pocket but if you want to experience the best of Hashida (and its hand-carved wasabi-toro) and don’t mind a dent to your credit card, dinner (prices: Tessen at S$300 and Fukuju S$450) can’t be beat.
On that note, my companion and I had Fukuju at dinner served by two different chefs (Hatch and Kimura-san) and there were slight variations in our courses; so don’t go to Hashida expecting your Fukuju dinner to be a carbon copy of this.
|Junsai in vinegar and ume-spiked dashi|
|Sashimi platter: miru-gai, hokkai-mizu-tako, kinmedai (mid) and karei|
To start, an appetizer of junsai (water shield) in vinegar and ume (Japanese plum)-spiked dashi to tease the palate and this was followed by a sashimi platter of Tsukiji-imported fish including karei (summer flounder), kinmedai (Splendid Alfonsino), mirugai (geoduck) to be taken sheer or gently dipped in sour plum, sea salt or Japanese chilli.
|Chawanmushi with yuba and grille anago|
We were looking forward to the signature chawanmushi with shirako (cod milt) but in place of that, an equally dazzling chawanmushi with yuba (beancurd skin) and grilled anago (salt-water eel) made an appearance.
|Sea urchin, Hokkaido hairy crab and a tiny dollop of mustard-like crab brain (on the left corner)|
More decadence followed: a tongue of sea urchin beside steamed Hokkaido hairy crab meat and a petite dollop of the crab’s mustard-like brain; toro tataki served with a drizzle of garlic chips marinated (for a year) in shoyu; and nasu (eggplant) in bonito jelly with goma dressing.
|And the parade of sushi began…herewith a taira-gai (pen shell)|
And then the parade of sushi began: Japanese seabass, amberjack, venus clam, pen shell, conch shell and sea perch (or blackthroat) – lightly scored and torched, brushed with a whisper of shoyu or subtly seasoned with salt and draped over hand-pressed sushi rice.
|“Hatch” with his hunk of tuna|
At that point, Hatch unveiled his hunk of toro from which he carefully carved out slices of chu-toro and served them rolled-up with nothing but a hint of freshly grated wasabi. He repeated the process with a different cut of the toro and served it as a sushi.
|Yuzu-scented dashi broth with matsutake mushroom, baby snapper and somen|
|Uni-ikura donburi featuring both bafun and murasaki uni|
Yes, we’d thought that Hatch had left the best for last but the food kept coming, not least the transcendental bowl of yuzu-scented dashi broth with a slice of matsutake mushroom and baby snapper with oodles of somen. And this was followed by a petite bowl of uni-ikura donburi featuring not one but two types of uni (bafun and murasaki).
Torched ankimo (monkfish liver) served with a 135-year-old sweet sauce handed down by Tokio Hashida completed the savoury courses but Hatch, who is also a pastry chef of a confectionery line in Japan, will not let you leave without desserts.
|Mizu manju for dessert|
We were served a mochi-like mizu manju, pineapple paste and mango-stuffed rice cake with see-through skin, basking in a light gingered syrup refreshed with mint tea. It’s sublime. But we couldn’t hide our disappointment at the absence of Hatch’s famed macarons.
Well, that provides just the perfect excuse to return. It’s time to forgo a few lunches to save up for yet another big meal at Hashida.
Hashida Sushi | 333A Orchard Road #02-37 Mandarin Gallery | Tel: 65-6733 2114 | www.hashida.com.sg
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You may also like: Shinji by Kanesaka, Ooi Dining, Ki-Sho or Hashi Japanese Restaurant.
© Evelyn Chen 2013
Please note that the reviews published in this blog are sometimes hosted. I am under no obligation to review every restaurant I’ve visited. If I do, the reviews are 100% my own.