One of Singapore’s strengths as far as the dining scene is concerned are the impressive logistics here. Cooks in the city have very little local produce available, but are able to use the finest seafood, meat and vegetables from around the world. All of these goods are flown on a daily basis, and get to the kitchens in pristine condition. Furthermore, having customers who are willing to fork out serious amounts of cash for good food makes it all that much easier. The kinds of products we are talking about here are not cheap after all.
Given that the finest raw materials are a pre-condition for a successful sushi restaurant, Singapore is one of the few locations around the world, where you will find the outposts of Japanese chefs. Kanesaka San comes from a two-star sushi restaurant in Tokyo, and set up two restaurants in Singapore: One in the Raffles Plaza, and one in the KUO tower, close to the Bay.
This is a small restaurant, not unlike the sushi bars that you find in Japan. The decoration here is simple and does not distract from the food. Service-wise, the total opposite is the case: The large front of house team is extremely courteous, polite and helpful. The chefs are equally helpful, and all speak some English, making efforts to explain the products and their craft.
Kanesaka serves Edomae sushi, which is the style of sushi from Tokyo. The lukewarm, seasoned rice brings out more complexity in the flavour of the fish and adds contrast to each bite. Kanesaka uses wasabi liberally, making the sushi here more spicy than it is in other top sushi restaurants.
Quality-wise, the fish is impressive. Outside of Japan, there will be few places offering such beautiful seafood. Whilst you have to pay for the privilege of eating here, the product quality more than justifies the prices. The omakase menu (chef’s choice) also features other dishes, making it a more varied choice. It can also include more expensive products such as hairy crab, caviar and the likes.
Amongst the memorable mouthfuls are the botan ebi, horse mackerel and even high quality maguro (lean tuna, which often isn’t that interesting). Tamago (omelette) finishes the meal beautifully, and all one can say about this restaurant is that it is one of the few places outside of Japan that really manages to feature high-quality sushi not too dissimilar from some of the better joints in Japan.
Shinji by Kanesaka is a restaurant that could only exist in a handful of cities around the world. The access to produce and willingness of customers to pay for them makes it a rarity in the world of fine dining. For that reason alone, eating here is worth it: Unless you go to Japan, you will have trouble finding better sushi.