Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Shinji by Kanesaka @ Raffles Hotel, Singapore

Cuisine: Japanese (Sushi)
Price: SGD260 per person without alcohol (what we paid for)
Visited: 21 October 2013
Food: 7/10
Atmosphere: 8/10
Value for money: 1/10
Services: 9/10

Shinji by Kanesaka @ Raffles Hotel in Singapore is an extension of Sushi Kanesaka at Ginza, Tokyo which is highly reputed with its prestigious 2-Michelin stars. This branch outside Japan also tries to follow the integrity without compromising. Such that the restaurant claims to have fresh seafood fly all the way from Japan to Singapore 4 times a week. As for services, I felt very comfortable upon entering the venue. Chefs and staffs are nice and helpful. They pay attention to minor details. I even got offer to have a combination of sashimi and sushi instead of purely sushi by Chef Takihiro Ishizawa to suit my diet (chef Ishizawa was confident that I am not a type of guy who eat a lot in which his guess was precise). Only if they could slow down the meal a little, that would have been a perfect service: one after one immediately was a little rush for my liking.

The interior of Shinji by Kanesaka is similar to other famous sushi bars that it is kept in traditional Japanese style of simplicity. There are approx 15 seats at sushi counter. However, there are private rooms in different size if privacy is a request. Oh oh....before I forget, there is also another branch of Shinji by Kanesaka at OUE Tower in Singapore.

Shinji by Kanesaka @ Raffles Hotel, Singapore

sushi counter

Chef Ishizawa with uni

For the meal, I chose to go for Sushi Edomae set which comprises of 15 sushi but instead I got offered to have some sashimi mixed with sushi. The price of this course was SGD220 and with tax and service charge it came around to SGD260. Pretty much expensive, wasn't it. This price set is actually in the same range as those famous sushi bars in Tokyo.

The first to arrive was ikura or salmon roe (7/10). Very nice indeed: firm but delicate texture and fresh. Only if the flavour could be heavier and sweeter, that would be a high end ikura. Next to be mentioned was shima aji (7/10). I again could not deny of its quality which was firm and tender on the texture, and mildly sweet on the palate. Fattiness was balance. Yet, it was not the best of its nature. I could say that a good day of this type of fish at Honmono in Thailand would do the same job.

This was then followed by a set of sashimi which comprised of aburi flounder (6/10), aburi flounder with ponsu (5/10), and deep-fried sawagani crab (9/10). It also came with grilled ginko. The sawagani crab was really fine. The cracked and crispy texture were in every single molecules of the crab. It was lightly salted which was enough. However, flounder range did not meet the expectation. I would say without aburi it would surely be tastier whilst ponsu sauce did not contribute much and actually destroyed the natural taste of fish.


shima aji

set of sashimi

aburi flounder with ponsu

deep fried sawagani crab, aburi flounder, and ginko

Moving on to more sashimi dishes, I was served with light and fine vegetable as in the way to wash the palate along.

Sanma sashimi or mackeral pike (8/10) was a fine choice. It was lightly grilled to exhibit natural aroma and taste. Ponsu sauce, if I was correct, was tagged along. The sour scent combined well with strong flavour of sanma. This one was delicious. On the other hand, smoked bonito (7/10) was similar in the way of preparation. It was smoked to reveal the aroma. However, the fillet was firmer and fattier. Red kind of meat in fact. The sauce was ginger base and it was stuffed with fine condiments. This was again wonderful but I felt that freshness and texture could have been better chosen.

mixed boiled vegetable


smoked bonito

fresh sweet corn and tomato

Here come the sushi part. First of all, I and by all means, you all perhaps, have to admit that the size of sushi bite here is small. I don't personally like having too big size of sushi which makes it complicate when eating. However, these were just too small, tiny in fact. Putting such matter aside, the quality of rice was fabulous on the other hand: tasty, firm, and not soaky except the sour taste of rice from vinegar that perhaps was not quite balance with some kind of fish.

Spanish Mackerel or Sawara (6/10): Tagged along with condiment of sour plum, light flavour and soft.

Ika or Squid (7/10): Prepared with salt and lime, tender texture. But sour lime overcome the whole picture.

Chu Toro (7/10) and O Toro (7/10): These 2 were at par, soft and almost melt in the mouth. However, I prefered chu toro more as I could felt unpleasant aroma from o toro, though it was just tiny bit.

Aji or Jack Mackerel (6/10): Lovely chewy texture with sour condiment. It was nice to have but the overall flavour did not quite match along.

Marinated Akami (7/10): Being subordinated to chu toro and o toro, the tasty flavour was comparable in contrast. Only if the rice could be less sour, this bite would have been more enjoyable.

Uni or Sea Urchin (8/10): The best among sushi bite tonight. Fresh and creamy. Sweet scent. Natural aroma spreaded through the palate. Problem is it was too small (T.T)" Anyway, it was lovely but I had had better ones before though.

Kuruma Ebi or Tiger Prawn (3/10): I don't call this kuruma ebi. It was a disappointment. This should not be served in a place high end like this. It was not fresh. The texture was below standard: just muddy soft. I wish I was not served with the prawn.

Anago or Sea Eel: It came in 2 parts: one with salt (6/10) and the other with tare sauce (7/10). The texture was fine. But the flavour of the salted one was a little exaggerated when combined with sour from rice. I preferred the sweet taste of tare sauce which balanced out the whole flavour.

Tamago (6/10): Not too sweet. Soft and custard like. But too gelatine-like. 

The course ended with condiment with grated yuzu and Japanese fruits (melon and pear). The condiment was pretty but fruits were overripe.

All in all, I would not go back to this place unless there are improvements. I do not say it was not nice. But at the price of SGD260, I had far better sushi meal at Saito and Mizutani in Tokyo. Shinji by Kanesaka is still far from being world class from my view. Nice to enjoy it but value for money is a big big question.

Spanish Mackerel or Sawara (if I am not wrong)

Ika or Squid

Chu Toro

O Toro

Aji or Jack Mackerel

Marinated Akami (red tuna meat)

Uni or Sea Urchin

Kuruma Ebi or Tiger Prawn

Anago or Sea Eel

Anago with tare sauce

Anago with salt

condiment (radish with grated yuzu)

tamago or sweet omelette

melon and pear

Shinji by Kanesaka @ Raffles Hotel, Singapore
#02-20 Raffles Hotel Arcade
1 Beach Road
Singapore 189673

Open Hours: Mon - Sat 12:00am - 03:00pm for lunch and 06:00pm - 10:30pm for dinner
Tel: +66 65 6338 6131

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