Hubert Burda Media

Kuu d’Etat

A Japanese dive that delivers portions so generous you needn’t head out for a second meal? Oishi!

I’m staring at the plate of Japanese Black Pork “Shabu-Shabu” Salad that the waiter has placed in front of me. It is huge. How am I supposed to finish it all by myself?
“Is this meant for a group of four people?” I ask Darryl Chow, the managing director of Sushi Kuu and one of the three founding partners of Singapore’s latest modern-Japanese restaurant concept.
He chuckles and says its meant for one. “Quite a few customers have asked us the same thing; but most people choose to share this,” he reveals, pointing out that big portions are the norm at Sushi Kuu so its customers don’t have to hunt down wanton mee thereafter to get full.
If the restaurant name sounds familiar, it’s probably because you’ve heard of or dined at its highly popular identical twin in Hong Kong’s Lan Kwai Fong. Because they felt the market was ready for such a dining concept, Chow and his partners picked Singapore for Sushi Kuu’s maiden foray overseas.
The 2,100-sq-ft, 70-seater dining establishment at Palais Renaissance is decked out in a contemporary style with black, grey and dark wood taking centre stage. Diners can opt to sit at the interactive sushi bar, cosy booth seats or four-seater tables as soothing instrumental music adds to the tranquillity and serenity.
I put a small portion of the salad on my plate. The thinly sliced black pork is tender and not too dry while the vegetables are oh-so-fresh. Walnuts and pine nuts add crunch to the dish, while the house-made sesame dressing with deep-fried garlic gives this dish a decadent aroma and taste that’s addictive enough for me to constantly fill my plate again and again (but no, I didn’t manage to finish the salad).
As with a number of Japanese restaurants on our shores, the ingredients are flown in three times a week. But what’s different is the presentation and creativity. Each dish here, like that at its sister branch in Hong Kong, is the culinary masterpiece of Group Head Chef Satoru Mukogawa. His bubbly personality, coupled with his impressive skills in the kitchen, make him invaluable to Sushi Kuu.
Take the Cocktail. Don’t be misled by its name for this is not a beverage. Instead, this is a sexy martini glass brimming with sea urchin, snow crab, salmon roe and caviar. “It’s one of the house favourites,” says Chow, who is dining with me. Unfortunately, considering the delightful mix of ingredients, my only grouse is that the portion is a tad small.
Then there’s the Assorted Sashimi on Sushi Rice. Also served in a large bowl (definitely another one to be shared), the ingredients are designed to form a hybrid creature of the sea — the head of a prawn and “tail” of a crab claw. With a variety of fresh sashimi slices (salmon, toro, scallop, uni, yellowtail, tamago, botan shrimp and crab claw) atop warm and fragrant rice, the multi-coloured dish is such a pretty sight. I don’t suggest sharing this so you can feast on your favourite sashimi all by yourself.
Since opening its doors to the public in mid-September, Sushi Kuu has already more than its foot in the door of the fine dining scene, capturing, we hear, the hearts (and stomachs) of quite a number of socialites and local foodies.
After all those gargantuan portions, the Seafood Teapot Soup is the recommended way to conclude the meal. Served in a brown clay teapot, the broth is poured into a shallow cup to be drunk in one gulp. The clear liquid is a burst of flavours yet a refreshing “drink” to cleanse one’s palate.
Indeed, that bowl of wanton mee will just have to wait.
Sushi Kuu, #01-07 Palais Renaissance, 390 Orchard Road, Tel: 6736 0100
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