Ten years on, Japanese rooftop izakaya Kinki Restaurant + Bar gets a chic new makeover and a refreshed menu of modernised classics
Located above the waters of Marina Bay, on levels two and three of Customs House, Kinki offers unparalleled views of Singapore’s city skyline while sporting a brand new look.
Founded in May 2010, the brand tells the story of Kinki-chan, an overlooked sumo who turned his shortcomings into cred by transforming himself into Chef Kinki, a man whose mad skills in the kitchen and bar had top sumos eating out of his hand.
At its launch, Kinki evoked an urban cool with its stunning waterfront views, graffiti-clad decor, funky cuisine, East-West drinks list and tradition-twisting seating choices, which all defied the conventions of Japanese dining. A decade later, Kinki has revamped its two-storey space with new perspectives from Singapore-based designers and artists Rockett Studio, Punkt Creative, Sean Dunston and ANTZ.
Kinki has revamped its two-storey space with new perspectives from Singapore-based designers and artists Rockett Studio, Punkt Creative, Sean Dunston and ANTZ
Now with a fresh face, meet the Geisha: the epitome of Japanese femininity and hospitality. “Observing the F&B scene for the past 10 years, she is now ready to take over and rule the world,” teases Kinki. “She is a mix of tradition meets modernity. She flouts the rules and does things her own way — the Kinki way.”
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While rooted in the fundamentals of traditional Japanese cuisine, Kinki pushes the boundaries, serving up classics in a new light. Capturing this spirit best is the AC/DC Dynamite ($22), a tempura-fried mixed seafood roll topped with a slice of Japanese cucumber. Served with premium Niigata Koshihikari rice, the roll features finely cut salmon and seasonal white fish, such as hirame (Japanese flounder) or hamachi (Japanese yellowtail); all mixed with sriracha mayo. Finally, the roll is drizzled with a soy reduction of sake, mirin, sugar and eel sauce along with a sprinkling of chilli powder and garnished with Japanese dried chilli shreds.
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Another highlight is the Cowabunga ($36), a decadent roll for fans of beef. Premium Japanese rice makes the acquaintance of the unconventional cream cheese, cucumber, homemade spicy mayo and, of course, melt-in-the-mouth A4 wagyu beef slices seared aburi-style. Even the dressing makes up for the premium price tag; a soy reduction of sake, mirin, sugar and eel sauce is simmered for up to five hours and drizzled atop the roll.
Premium Japanese rice meets cream cheese, cucumber, homemade spicy mayo and melt-in-the-mouth A4 wagyu beef slices seared aburi-style in the Cowabunga
The epitome of luxury on the menu, however, is the aptly-named High Roller Wagyu Don ($98), featuring Ohmi A4 wagyu striploin from Japan is charcoal-grilled, sliced, then drizzled with beef teriyaki sauce made from rendered beef fat, mirin, sake, sugar, garlic and shoyu.
The Ohmi Beef brand is the oldest in Japan, with a history that dates back more than 400 years. It is known for its high marbling content, mellow flavour and leaving a sweet aftertaste.
But that’s not all; the rice bowl is also topped with tokujo or grade AA uni from Hokkaido, along with ikura, Italian black truffle, micro herbs, and an onsen egg steamed for 30 minutes at 70 degrees.
At $98, the High Roller Wagyu Don features premium Ohmi A4 wagyu striploin from Japan and uni from Hokkaido, along with ikura, Italian black truffle, micro herbs and an onsen egg
Ascend to level three to the backstreets at Kinki’s rooftop bar. The Geisha is grittier, grungier, sexier and bolder, with a lot more attitude, says Kinki.
Experience this new muse with the Geisha-Rita ($22), Kinki’s take on the margarita with Ocho Blanco tequila, Nigori umeshu, cointreau and lime juice; garnished with freshly cracked pepper and dehydrated lime. Cointreau replaces Triple Sec for a smoother finish, while the pepper is a pleasant surprise for diners expecting a salt rim.
The Gin Assam Boi ($20) is as cheeky as its name suggests. A nod to the hawker culture of pairing a large glass of sugarcane juice with street food, Kinki’s cocktail is a thirst-quenching mix of Kyro gin, Malibu rum, Gori umeshu and pineapple juice. Garnished with assam powder and a single pickled ume (plum), the concoction carries an intriguing olive-green tint.
A nod to the hawker culture of pairing a large glass of sugarcane juice with street food, the Gin Assam Boi is a thirst-quenching mix of Kyro gin, Malibu rum, Gori umeshu and pineapple juice
Kinki is among a handful of bars here that carry the gin at the core of the cocktail. In 2015, Kyro was voted “The World’s Best Gin for Gin & Tonic” at the International Wine & Spirit Competition, which receives entries from more than 90 countries annually.
Also from its gin selection is the Tears Of A Geisha ($22), which comes complete with a sweet surprise. The cocktail first starts with Japanese sweet cucumber blended with a touch of water, then mixed with cucumber syrup. The mixture is filtered six times for clarity and to remove any fibres or grains.
Within a martini glass sits a generous sphere of Sakura No Hana jelly. Yuzu umeshu is cooked with water and infused with cured sakura flowers, then added with gelatin sheets. The jelly is then set in a mould for at least five hours. Upon order, the jelly is placed at the centre of a martini glass and doused with Roku gin, sweet cucumber and Double Dutch tonic water.
For any occasion, enjoy stunning waterfront views, graffiti-clad decor, funky cuisine, an East-West drinks list and the hospitality of the Geisha — all at the new and improved Kinki.
Kinki Restaurant + Bar
70 Collyer Quay, #02-02 Customs House, Singapore 049323
Phone: 6533 3471
Lunch: Monday to Friday 12pm to 3pm (Last order 2.30pm)
Dinner: Monday to Saturday & public holiday 6pm to 11pm (Last order 10.30pm)
Monday to Thursday 5pm to 12am (Last order 11.30pm)
Friday, Saturday & public holiday 5pm to 2am
Closed on Sundays