Omakase review: Sushi Chiharu by Tamaya Dining at 45A Cuppage Road, Singapore 229464

September 23, 2018

Nestled inside Tamaya restaurant at Cuppage Terrace is the small 12-seater Sushi Chiharu. This restaurant serves omakase and nigiri menus that employs the Edomae-sushi technique which means food is prepared in the traditional way (without advanced cooking and storage apparatus). This 150-year-old tradition pays homage to the Japanese Edo period and the food is seasonal and simple, so as to showcase the skills of the chef. And it indeed did! Our chef for the night told us that they had to attend a special sushi course in Insyokujin College in Tokyo (only in Japanese, except the one in BKK?) for 6 months before they are deployed to Sushi Chiharus all over the world with the HQ being the Bib Gourmand one in Osaka. 


The menu is simple - for S$140++ you get a 18-item omakase course and for S$90++ you get just the 10-piece Nigiri Sushi course. The former is much more value-for-money to be honest, for I felt the beginning and the end was the strongest in our omakase course. But undoubtedly everything was super fresh, with close to 85% of their seafood imported directly from Japan twice weekly. Quality you can taste! We had a great tasting session.

1. Pumpkin Soup
Not just any pumpkin soup, but one that's made with dashi, a bit of soy sauce and sugar and topped with some caviar. I loved how this whetted our appetites for what's next!


2. Taraba Kani Kimi Sunose (King crab with traditional egg sauce and vinegar)
So sweet, so fresh. There's nothing better than biting on a juicy fat king crab leg!


3. Pacific sardine with ponzu sauce and red radish
This was alright, a little fishy (by its nature) to me. Strangely enough though me and my dining companions were just talking about sardines when this dish appeared!


The aburi method is often employed to cook the seafood. This is not really cheating since in the olden days they probably do something similar with a flame.


4. Maguro (tuna) and Shima Aji (horse mackerel)
The two seasonal sashimi was absolutely divine. I realised that as I advance in Japanese cuisine, salmon is a very unusual fish for sashimi/sushi. These were delish, not to mention those edible flowers.


5. Hamo Tempura (daggertooth pike conger)
I didn't really like this even though the tempura batter was really well done. I thought the texture was a little too slimy for me inside. However it is NOT fishy. 


Then we come to the 10-course nigiri set, which began by them giving us some hand towelettes because we will be eating these using our fingers. I kept forgetting halfway ^.^

6. Ika somen (squid with black squid ink salt)
Slimy in a good way, with the squid ink salt cutting through the texture (that I kind of dislike). If all squid is served this way, I'll eat it!



7. Kisu (sand borer fish) sandwiched with kombu
Typical edomae style nigiri sushi.


8. Karachi (Tuna cured in soy sauce with mustard on top)
This was so umami, it was a flavour explosion in my mouth. Definitely in my top 3.


9. Aji Sujime (Japanese horse mackerel cured with vinegar with negi or green onions and ginger)
This was really light and refreshing, probably one of my favourites.


10. Uni (Sea urchin)
What can I say? As fresh as it gets.



11. Botan Ebi (Ebi head stuffed with rice)
We had an anatomical wonder on our hands with this dish. Remember how everyone loves to suck the heads of the prawns when they eat prawn noodles? This is a better way to get the "juice" out. It was plenty. First they get grilled on a charcoal stove.



12. Botan Ebi (Sweet prawn with its own roe on top)
I watched as the chef stripped it of its roe live in front of us, and it was bright superhero green. Quite amazing, but the prawn was super sweet and juicy.


13. Tamasu Aburi (Barracuda). 
I forgot to take a pic! *Face palm* I think I didn't like this one, that's why. Haha. 

14. Anago (Sea eel on sasa leaf) 
This was better, it is a type of unagi but I didn't feel like I was in any danger of eating bones accidentally. The grilling was done very lightly before the sauce was brushed on it.


15 . Scallop
The scallop was really fresh - it was marinated in scallop sauce and wrapped in seaweed.


16. Kerayaki (Egg)
I LOVE THIS. It's castella cake with a bit of sushi rice inside. It was so fluffy and light, like eating airy egg puffs. Apparently this is one of their signatures. Amazing!



17.  Miso soup with water lily
A little strange to have the little seeds surrounded by a gelatinous substance around, but it was a good comforting soup to have. 


18. Japanese melon
We were all savouring this part. The melon is precious and expensive stuff so for us to enjoy it purely on its own, is just testament to their edomae philosophy.


Here's the outside decor to look out for when you are finding the place!



Simple but delicious. This is one good omakase with a price tag that won't break the bank either! Splurge on this when you have the occasion to, or just feel like pampering yourself with 18 pieces of delectable food. I'll definitely recommend this to all my omakase-loving friends!


Sushi Chiharu by Tamaya Dining
45A Cuppage Road, Singapore 229464
+65 68353639 *(reservations required due to small seating space)
Mon to Sat from 6pm - 1130pm; Sun and PH from 6pm - 1030pm

Thanks to Food News PR and Tamaya Dining for the invite!

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