I love Japanese food, but I’m often suspicious of the quality and standards set by Japanese restaurants here in Singapore. They might start out great, but few Japanese restaurants seem to be able to maintain their commitment to standards. Takumi has been the standout Japanese Restaurant at Keppel Bay since 2008, so tasting their new menu is a perfect way to see if they’ve kept their game up.
Helmed by Chef Kenji Okumura, Keppel Bay’s Takumi Japanese Restaurant brings sushi, robatayaki and teppanyaki to the diner. Besides the fact that the location allows for some beautiful dining sessions, I think it’s important to mention that the restaurant itself is beautifully decorated.
The fittings make the place feel cozy, and I really loved the Somen slide they placed right in the middle of the restaurant!
It takes a very brave chef to break tradition, especially if it’s Japanese Cuisine. Chef Kenji’s new menu has touches of continental flair, something not seen in most Japanese Restaurants.
The Burrata Cheese ($15) is a perfect example of this daring attitude. The Caprese Salad is made with burrata from Italy, diced tomatoes and dressed with a Japanese Shiso sauce instead of the usual Basil Pesto.
The Takumi Healthy Salad ($16) brought together some familiar Japanese ingredients like Natto and Grilled Nori with less common ingredients like Sargassum Seaweed that can only be found in Japan’s Mie Prefecture. These ingredients are not traditionally found together, but Chef Kenji’s intelligent use of a wasabi dressing made with shoyu, sugar, oil, black pepper and mustard seeds held the dish together well.
It’s not sashimi, but the Amberjack Carpaccio ($15) is another one of those instant hits. This is a marriage of the sure-fire Japanese treatment of raw fish, with the European-styled garnishing we’re familiar with. This seasonal fish is dressed in a truffle oil-infused shoyu, then topped off with salted seaweed and shiso flowers. I liked the texture of the fish, and thought the dressing gave its flavour a real boost!
The winning opener for this meal, however, is clearly the Seasonal Appetizer Plater ($30). This dish is meant to represent the approach of winter, with autumn leaves on the plate symbolising the fall of the leaves in Japan. Of course, what winter dish is complete without boiled crab from Hokkaido, served with Ikura? This plater is truly seasonal in the sense that Chef Kenji returns to Japans 4 times a year to meet with farmers, fishermen and other producers to get exclusive ingredients for Takumi.
Besides the Queen crab, there’s some serious artistry on this platter! If yo order this, check out the Chawanmushi that is served in a hollowed out Yuzu, and the boiled water chestnut, carved to look like an acorn!
While everyone is still queuing for Man Man, I suggest you come over here for some River Shimanto Unagi Sushi & Kushiyaki ($8 each). The eel is sourced from Shimanto, named one of the “3 Clear-Flowing Rivers” in Japan. The river has no dams, and is far away from cities, so the eels are natural and sweet tasting. Add a charcoal grill to this equation, and we’ve got ourselves some top class Unagi.
I really liked the Kushiyaki version for its soft flesh and charred finish. I usually worry about the soft bones in Unagi, but I didn’t even feel any in this skewer. I suspect the bones were so soft, I just chewed through them without noticing! We were all supposed to only have one skewer, but I was secretly hoping for just one more bite of this delectable dish.
If this Crab Hot Pot ($30) was served to me in Japan during Winter season, I’d devour it immediately. I really liked the miso-based stock, which is made from grilled fish bones, shoyu, mirin and miso paste. The ingredients of the soup are pretty simple, but it’s the combination of these simple components that make such a hearty whole. Vegetables like carrot and turnip lend a sweet, satisfying touch to the soup while the crab gives it the scent of the ocean!
Kamemeshi Coup de Grâce
Chef Kenji’s final dish of the night is most definitely the one I would come back for. If you can only order one dish (but why would you!?), this is it. The Kamemeshi of the day ($15) is the Muhammed Ali of the menu: It’s looks light, but but delivers such a flavour that you can’t help but give in to it completely. Our Kamemeshi came with fresh Uni, Ikura and Crab, so it was sweet and fragrant to boot!
Great Date Option
Takumi’s inspired new menu breaks with tradition, and Chef Kenji has managed to successfully deliver with a contemporary touch. I saw no less than 3 dating couples at this place, as well as some small family groups. Takumi hits much of the right beats to deliver contemporary Japanese cuisine in a beautiful setting, and I strongly approve of the effort they put into sourcing high quality ingredients from Japan.
Address: 2 Keppel Bay Vista, #02-01 Marina at keppel Bay, Singapore 098382
- Monday to Sunday
Lunch 12pm – 2.30pm (2pm Last Order)
Dinner 6pm – 10.30pm (10pm Last Order)