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Food review: Gyu Bar's nine-course wagyu omakase offers a gastronomic journey through Japan

Jasmine Alimin
Jasmine Alimin • 5 min read
Food review: Gyu Bar's nine-course wagyu omakase offers a gastronomic journey through Japan
Gyu Bar’s new nine-course wagyu omakase takes you on a gastronomic journey through seven prefectures of Japan
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Gyu Bar’s new nine-course wagyu omakase takes us on a gastronomic journey through seven prefectures of Japan, featuring buttery soft beef prepared in a variety of cooking styles

Since its opening in 2018, The Gyu Bar has been a veritable dining destination for meat lovers to enjoy premium Japanese wagyu served with a generous dose of omotenashi, the cornerstone of Japanese hospitality.

The cosy 35-seater, nestled amongst other numerous dining spots near the Mercure and Novotel hotels on Stevens Road, boasts a modern minimalist interior with calming hues of indigo blue juxtaposed against the dark wood of the furniture that discreetly conceal smokeless Shinpo grills used for yakiniku. Although it’s nothing like a traditional Japanese restaurant, the atmosphere here is inviting and unpretentious.

The contemporary dining bar is the brainchild of Chef Tomoo Kimura of the eponymous one-Michelin-starred restaurant at Palais Renaissance, F&B entrepreneur Karen Cheng and founder of The Travelling C.O.W. (Chef On Wheels), and investment director Chua Weiling. Combining their deep product knowledge, quality of provenance and versatility of preparation, the The Gyu Bar’s founders deliver honest food with an unwavering commitment to quality and service.

A dinner experience here will always begin with a free shot of sake served in a cup of your choice from the founders' personal collections of over 150 sake cups beautifully displayed at a Sake Glass Wall behind the bar.

Originally focused solely on yakiniku, The Gyu Bar has expanded its dining repertoire with the introduction of sukiyaki and shabu shabu. As part of the omotenashi experience, the wait staff will expertly guide diners on which cooking style suits their selection of beef, which is airflown chilled, not frozen, into Singapore weekly.

Certainly, the best way for beef aficionados to thoroughly enjoy all types of Japanese wagyu is to order the omakase which Gyu Bar is known for. The restaurant offers eight- to 10-course omakase menus ($138–$198) each with a highlight of quality beef prepared yakiniku-style, and a nine-course wagyu-centric omakase menu ($238++) which applies a variety of cooking techniques to bring out the different flavour profiles for each cut of wagyu. The latter is unique in that it takes us on a mouth-watering journey through seven different prefectures of Japan.

The epicurean adventure begins with a duo of snacks: beef tartare made with creamy-buttery Wa Oh wagyu chuck rib (from Kumamoto Prefecture) blended with tossed onions and a house-blend sauce, and filled into a mini waffle cone crowned with super sweet Hokkaido uni. The second snack is a decadent mouth-popper: uni tempura topped with generous dollop of uni, fresh crab and caviar.

As a starter, we sample the first-place winner in the Wagyu Olympics 2017 — Satsuma wagyu chuck rib from Kagoshima Prefecture. This cut of meat, served chilled with a mini salad and house-made sesame dressing, is extremely tender with well-balanced marbling and intensely buttery flavour.

The following platter features tasting portions of seasonal starters and the star of the show, Ohmi wagyu temari — a luscious slice of sirloin torched and draped over temari rice and topped with freshly shaved truffle. We learn that Ohmi from Shiga Prefecture is the oldest wagyu variant in Japan with a history of more than 400 years.

For the fifth dish, we tuck into a healthier, leaner cut of Tankaku wagyu sirloin steak (from free-range shorthorn cattle of Iwate Prefecture), prepared katsu-style with panko breadcrumbs on a bed of aromatic Japanese curry.

The highlight of the omakase is the yakiniku platter of Miyazakigyu beef featuring three different cuts — sirloin, tenderloin, and chuck rib — each offering a unique taste profile. Known for its signature snowflake marbling and depth of flavours, this meat from the Miyazaki Prefecture pairs perfectly with simple condiments like sea salt, wasabi, garlic chips or leek sauce.

We then enjoy a comforting shabu shabu of seasonal greens, konyaku noodles and Sanuki Olive wagyu, all gently simmering in an aromatic dashi soup. As the name suggests, Sanuki Olive beef from Kagawa Prefecture — one of the rarest in the world — is derived from a small herd of 1,700 cattle that are fed olives as part of their diet, giving the meat its unusual tasty umami flavour.

Before the meal concludes with a seasonal soup and dessert, guests need to make space for a carb-laden dish: a choice of Aburi Wagyu Uni Chirashi Mini Don, or Chilled Aburi Wagyu Inaniwa Udon. Both feature sweet-savoury Furano wagyu chuck rib from the Hokkaido Prefecture, known for its well-fed cattle that graze on wheat, hay, rice and wheat straw, okara and beet pulp.

For its hefty price tag, the nine-course meal is well worth the splurge — not just for its diverse range of wagyu offered but also the versatility in cooking techniques and warmest of hospitality. Do book in advance to avoid disappointment.

30 Stevens Road #01-08 (near the entrance of Mercure Hotel)

Tel: 6732-0702 / 9150-3164
Email: [email protected]

Opening Hours
Mondays to Sundays
Lunch: 12pm to 3pm
Dinner: 6pm to 10pm

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