Tag Archives: sea urchin

Waku Ghin’s signature sea urchin with botan shrimp and Oscietre caviar

Tetsuya Wakuda is one of my favourite chefs from my visits to Tetsuya’s in Sydney – back in Rozelle and also when it moved to Kent Street. I have always admired his ability to pair pure and distinct flavours so beautifully. I finally got to go to Waku Ghin at Marina Bay Sands this week, and what a treat it was.

Your meal is served primarily in small 8-seater rooms in front of a teppanyaki grill and with your personal chef for the evening. Counter seating is always my preference – it gives you an opportunity to talk to the chef, see the produce, watch him cook, and also sneakily take a peek at what others are ordering to inspire you to try new things.

With a set 10-course degustation menu, you don’t get the chance to do the latter, but we did get a preview of the first course from the other couple who were seated in our room and who had arrived before us. By the third course, the team at Tetsuya had deftly managed to catch the four of us up so we were all served the remaining savoury courses at the same time.

Chilled white asparagus soup with white miso and Oscietre caviar

We started with a chilled cream of white asparagus soup with white miso cream and Oscietre caviar. What a way to start a meal. The soup was so silky and so full of flavour of the delicate white asparagus you really wished there was more (that was the common theme for all the dishes during the evening, actually).

Second was Waku Ghin’s signature dish – marinated botan shrimp with sea urchin and Oscietre caviar, stunningly presented in a half shell of sea urchin. To be eaten with a mother-of-pearl spoon, you are recommended to eat every mouthful with a bit of all three, and with each you get the sweetness of the prawn and sea urchin and the explosion of saltiness from the caviar. This has got to be up there as one of my favourite dishes ever.

Slow-cooked John Dory with roasted eggplant

Third course was slow-cooked John Dory with roasted eggplant and a chicken stock reduction. Our chef explained to us how they made the chicken stock and the laborious and complex processes to ensure only the clean flavour of the chicken was extracted and reduced. An odd pairing with fish and eggplant, and I think the chicken stock reduction tied the dish together well.

Australian abalone with fregola, rocket, seaweed and tomato

Next up was fresh Australian abalone, simply seared on the teppan and served with fregola, tomato, rocket and seaweed. This was about as rare as I have ever had abalone, miles away from the more chewy abalone you usually get at Chinese banquets. This was fresh and succulent and sweet and presented in this way almost was like eating it straight from the sea.

Braised Canadian lobster with tarragon

Braised Canadian lobster came next, quintessentially French-style, in a stock made from the lobster shells, finished with butter and tarragon. Again, the lobster was cooked so that it was just to the point past being raw, allowing the sweetness and the tenderness of the lobster to shine.

The beautifully marbled Japanese Ohmi wagyu roll

Two beef dishes followed. The first was charcoal grilled fillet of Tasmanian grass-fed  beef with Tetsuya’s own-brand wasabi mustard. The chef seared these in front of us on the teppan before slicing them into bite-sized pieces of beef so tender you felt that you could cut it with a butter knife. Nothing fancy here, just a fillet of beef on your plate and tasted great with or without the wasabi mustard.

Japanese Ohmi wagyu roll with wasabi and citrus soy

Japanese Ohmi wagyu roll from Shiga Prefecture came next. Just looking at the gorgeous marbling on the raw beef filled the room with oohs and aahs. I think it was because we knew that that marbling would be melt-in-the-mouth flavour once cooked. It was served with freshly-grated wasabi, fried garlic slices, thinly sliced Japanese negi and a citrus soy dipping sauce. Similar to the fillet, I tried the beef on its own and then with a little bit of all the condiments and in this instance, the inclusion of everything made the marvelous wagyu sing in your mouth.

Consommé with rice and snapper

Final savoury dish was a consommé with rice and snapper followed with a palate-cleansing cup of gyokuro, tea made from green tea that has been grown in the shade. A touch of yuzu zest to the consommé lifted the dish making it a clean and refreshing end to the meal. And the tea, which was brewed with water at just 40C had a distinct savoury, seaweed flavour. Absolutely perfect example of umami.

Selection of exquisite petit fours to end a perfect meal

We were almost sad to be moved out of our private dining area to a more traditional dining area to eat have our final two courses of dessert – mostly because it was an indication that the meal was coming to its end. I have to be totally honest and say that Tetsuya’s desserts have never wowed me the same way his savoury dishes do, and this was no different. We were served a cold soup of strawberry with lychee and coconut and what turned out to be my birthday cake, a milk chocolate cake with caramel and citrus. Both were delicious – as were the petit fours, but my memory of Waku Ghin is firmly, and happily, within the walls of the private dining room.

Waku Ghin
Casino Level 2
Access lifts located:
B1 & Opposite ArtBox at Level 1
The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
Tel: +65 6688 8507

Open for lunch on Fridays 11.30am – 1.30pm
Dinner two seatings 6pm and 8.30pm



Cutting the burrata

I’d read about L’operetta and wanted to try this Italian restaurant that served authentic pizza from Naples, with a Japanese owner and chef.

It’s at the end of what I call the “dead zone” of Boat Quay – the section past BQ Bar to the bridge, but its overtly opulent and brightly lit decor is at least sure to attract some attention from those coming from the bridge end of Boat Quay.

Friday night, and the place was 30% full when we got there at 8.30 …  Hmmm …. the waiter (who we found out started that night) had difficulty finding our reservation … Hmmm … Took us a while to even get our menus and wine list … Hmmm …

Then things turned around.

Burrata with prosciutto, baby tomatoes and arugula

Not long after we’d ordered, the Japanese Maitre D (also MD), Taka, came and started chatting to us about the Burrata he was serving.  Burrata is an epiphany for me – mozarella cheese made not from milk but from a mix of mozarella and cream, encased in a mozarella skin, imported from the heel of Italy (where he pointed to the heel of his very cool shoes), Puglia. Fresh, rich, creamy-as-hell, this thing is absolutely gorgeous.   Served with thinly shaved prosciutto, arugula and sweet sweet baby tomatoes, this pillow of cheese seemed almost to fill your mouth with more cheese than you put in there Definitely one to share because of its richness, and the size of the dish, but oh so good.

For some reason I didn’t go for the pizza and ended up ordering a sea urchin and grey mullet roe pasta which came disappointingly with lots of brocolli in it, and I think that flavour overpowered the delicate uni flavour I was expecting.  The uni and grey mullet roe did add a creaminess to the pasta, but perhaps not the best dish to complement the burrata.

On the other hand, the pizza that D ordered, totally did.

Napoletana-style wood-fired pizza with mozarella, prosciutto and rocket

Read the ieatishootipost post for details of the pizza (and watch the video!).  It is definitely different from what you can get in Singapore – the dough is crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and chewy – almost naan-like.  And the toppings are simple and delicately flavoured.

The pizzas are all under $30.  The place is fun and the chef comes and chats to the tables to get feedback on the food.  And they have burrata :).  I just wish I worked around the Raffles Place area – that’s where I’d be lunching.  But I’ll be going back there again.  Oh yes.