Nestled in a quiet spot in the middle of Ngee Ann City’s 5th floor is Mizuki, a Japanese restaurant that has been known among its regulars for its excellent tempura since it opened in 2017.
While sushi and sashimi has been part of Mizuki’s repertoire since opening as well, it is perhaps their tempura that got more attention over the years. That is set to change however, as the restaurant brought in Chef Kawakami Hiroaki in early 2022. The Osaka-born chef has had a career in a number of fine-dining Japanese restaurants including the Bulgari Resort in Dubai prior to moving to Singapore.
Entering the restaurant, one sees the clear divide between the tempura and sushi sections – separated through wooden Japanese wooden lattice screens featuring cloud-like motifs. To the left, the darke marble counters are where tempura dishes are served. To the right, the oak-colored counters are where the sushi dishes are prepared.
While Mizuki still offers their standalone tempura and sashimi course menus, their new combined sushi and tempura (S$268++) gives diners the best of both worlds. The combined menu requires a balancing act from both chefs as the fried items need to be freshly cooked to be delivered to the table hot and crispy while the sushi needs to be cut and pressed exactly when needed.
We had a trio of ark shell with miso and mustard, gingko nuts and yellowtail that’s lightly torched for appetizers. I enjoyed the miso and mustard combo. This humble prelude was rather unrepresentative of the decadent courses that were to follow later that evening.
Sashimi (3 kinds)
The sashimi course consisted of a nicely plated assortment of golden eye snapper (kinmedai), bluefin tuna (otoro) and prawn (botan ebi). The prawn was notable for its unparalleled sweetness while the tuna possessed a wonderful slippery and melt-in-your-mouth texture.
Tempura (5 kinds)
The tempura course was perhaps the longest course for the evening. Timing plays a big factor here as each piece needs to be served hot and crispy. The wait time between pieces was a bit long here but well worth it!
We were served 5 pieces of tempura, with the highlight undeniably being the seaweed tempura topped with a glorious serving of fresh and creamy Hokkaido bafun uni and caviar. I absolutely loved the juxtaposition of the creamy and crispy textures here.
The other pieces that came in the tempura course were conger eel (anago), shark fin, prawn (ebi) and mushrooms. Each piece was served piping hot with crispy breading on the outside. The conger eel was especially meaty while the shark fin possessed a texture similar to crackers with its thin strands fried to a crisp.
Seasonal Cooked Dish – Seiko Kani
As I visited in December, we had the snow crab for the cooked dish. The Seiko kani comprises of a steamed and deshelled Hokkaido female snow crab with roe, eggs as well as meat that’s already separated from the bones. The flesh was sweet and was naturally savory even without any condiments.
Premium Nigiri Sushi (4 kinds)
The nigiri course consisted of 4 types of sushi including bluefin tuna (toro), sea perch (nodoguro), sea bream (shiromi) and sea urchin (uni). The sea urchin was served as a gunkan and placed atop a bed of sushi rice wrapped with seaweed. Chef Hiroaki used short-spined sea urchin for the roll which rendered it creamy and smooth in terms of taste profile.
Carbohydrate Course – Kakiage Don / Soba OR Mini Negitoro Uni Don
For the carbohydrate course, diners have the option of having the standard dish which is Kakiage Don or Soba. They could also opt to upgrade to a Mini Negitoro Uni Don for a supplement of S$40.
While the Mini Negitoro Uni Don is the undeniable choice for sushi and sea urchin lovers, I felt the Kakiage Don was the more flavorful option and held pretty well on its own. The seafood came with thinly coated batter so it wasn’t cloying at all. It felt like something one could have as an every day type of meal – delicious and comforting.
For the Mini Negitoro Uni Don, Chef Hiroaki used two types of uni as topping. The first is the short-spined sea urchin which was similarly used in the preceding courses while the other type of uni consisted of long-spined sea urchin. The long-spined one was duller in color and brinier in terms of taste profile. It was explained to me that the long-spined sea urchin is actually more premium especially now that it’s off-season.
We ended the meal with a selection of fruits from Japan. For this round, it consisted of a sliced pear, strawberry and persimmons.
I personally feel that Mizuki’s new combined tempura and sushi course menus suits those who are not particularly inclined to either. Both are equally good with the sequence giving diners enough of an introduction to the restaurant’s expertise and capabilities to fit either styles.
391 Orchard Rd
Ngee Ann City
#05 – 32
+65 6734 6308
Daily except Monday, 11:30AM to 3PM, 6PM to 10:30PM