It’s known that one of Australia’s finest chefs, Tetsuya Wakuda, still travels from Sydney to Singapore quite often — typically every once in two months. He checks up on his two-Michelin-starred restaurant Waku Ghin, arriving unannounced at times and surprising the well-trained stationed staff who work within the lofty space at Marina Bay Sands.
Opened eight years ago, Waku Ghin is Tetsuya’s first and only international outpost and remains at the pinnacle of Singapore’s contemporary Japanese-European culinary scene. This is where locals and holidaymakers can savour the chef’s much-raved-about marinated Botan ebi topped with uni and vast gobbets of Oscietra caviar. All these refined ingredients are carefully packaged in the theatrical spiky bowl of a sliced sea urchin shell that balances on a bed of crushed ice, making this dish a true poster-child for the restaurant.
But at its core, the dishes at Waku Ghin are dependent on what’s seasonally available, save for some of the visually stunning signature items, which would appear on the dinner menu more often than not. Nonetheless, the decadent Omakase experience would always start with a dedicated chef arriving with a large wooden box, teeming with seafood so fresh that lobsters would have been crawling away were they not tightly bound.
On top of that, these fresh, seasonal ingredients are prepared with a knack for precision right before your very eyes on the spick and span steel cooking surface. The custom-built grill has been set up in all four private dining rooms, dividing the 25-seater restaurant for an even more exclusive and intimate dining event. Diners sit high on the bar chairs while chatting with the chef plus taking in all the sights, smells, sounds and sizzles, before digging into spoonfuls of chopped, simmered, grilled, or seared delights.
Whatever that happens behind the counter is a testament to Tetsuya and his staff’s steadfast attention to precision. Take for example how the star Tasmanian abalones are prepared: First simply seasoned with salt and pepper, before being placed on the grill that’s set to 180 degrees Celsius. The abalones are watched closely, pressed down and flipped to ensure being cooked evenly, as well as left with a gorgeous brown char on each surface. To avoid sticking to the hot counter and being ruined when removed, the abalones are shifted to new spots regularly, like an artful orchestra conducted by the chef.
If to be had, meat lovers will be satiated by the melt-in-your-mouth Ohmi A5 wagyu steak sourced from Shiga Prefecture. Again, seasoning is usually kept to a minimum of salt and pepper as the restaurant isn’t afraid to let its fresh features and cooking techniques shine. The well-marbled cut, cooked to a flawless medium rare in mere moments, fully becomes a scrumptious treat when savoured with citrus soy and wasabi. You only need to see how the chef grates the wasabi root on a shark-skin board (always employing a circular motion, never a linear up-and-down) to know it’s going to be of good quality to bring out a simple yet well-executed burst of thoughtful flavours when combined with the beef.
As for rounding out the culinary journey at Waku Ghin, diners leave the teppan area for the drawing room, where sweet treats of all kinds are hard to resist, even after a satisfying full-course meal that’s second to none.
Waku Ghin, The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, Level 2 Dining, L2-01
2 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore 018956, Tel: 6688 8507
Find out more at MarinaBaySands.com/WakuGhin