At his Omakase fine-dining establishment,Chef Kenjiro Hashida brings diners on a pilgrimage to discover the best of Japan’s cuisine

The dining experience at Hashida Singapore begins as you step through the doors where a warm Japanese welcome greets you. But instead of the usual call of “Irasshaimase” by a team of service staff, you step into an oasis of calm.

The entrance pathway takes you to a torii or shrine gate that leads down a narrow hallway that opens up to a honden (main hall), seen as a sacred space at a Shinto shrine. This space is carved out into three dining areas, comprising a main 12-seat- er dining hall and two private rooms of either seven or eight seats. This is where chef-owner Kenjiro Hashida, in partnership with OUE Restaurants, provides diners with not only faultless food but also a space to watch him perform his culinary magic.

His particular style of Japanese cuisine has been delighting palates since 2013 in various restaurants that he worked at in Singapore. Chef Hatch, as he is affectionately known, says: “Since Hashida restaurant was first established in 2013, we have enjoyed a common understanding with our fans and customers that food represents not just sustenance, but rather, a powerful and almost sacred medium through which we convene to share our knowledge, memories, cultures and joy. Here, we aim to take diners on a pilgrimage to discover some of Japan’s most precious gifts of nature, harvested and prepared impeccably with years of experience, to be finally enshrined at the coveted chef’s table at Hashida Singapore.”

It is a pilgrimage indeed; during our media tasting recently, we met two gentlemen sitting at the same dining space chatting to Chef Hatch like they were old friends. One of them told us that he has been following Chef Hatch’s career for the last seven years. He offers a reason: “Chef has an eye for detail and he cooks with a lot of heart.”


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Chef Hatch is a graduate of L’Ecole Tsuji Tokyo (Tsuji Culinary Institute), Japan’s top culinary school. At 14, he apprenticed under his father, Master Chef Tokio Hashida, who heads one of Japan’s premier sushi restaurants — Hashida Sushi in Tokyo.

 

We start our Omakase menu ($350++) with the starter, a platter of charcoal-scorched mackerel eaten with soy sauce and sweet snow crab and sea cucumber marinated with vinegar. Uni and abalone get a luxe treatment with a topping of caviar. We recommend eating the sweet potato paste last and balancing the richness with a cup of full-bodied turnip soup.

Chawanmushi, the must-order dish in any Japanese restaurant, is given a Chef Hatch twist. This bowl of steaming goodness is prepared with shrimp, lotus roots and cauliflower puree; the crunch of the lotus roots along with the smoothness of the cauliflower gives a pleasant finish, followed by a hint of spiciness, thanks to shichimi, which is a Japanese seven-spice blend powder.

Next is a plate of sashimi featuring Chutoro (tuna belly), and this delicacy is treated with great respect by the chef as he lets the freshness of the fish sing. The only other ingredient he has added is a sprinkling of wasabi skin that he cleans and simmers with soy sauce.

In between courses, it is fascinating to watch the food being prepared and cooked. We sip on sake, sit back and watch our dish- es take place as Chef Hatch and his dedicated team deftly shape, sauce and place the various types of fish, raw or grilled over the hibachi (a traditional Japanese heating device), on the rice.

The meal ended with dessert, which was a platter of fresh fruits teamed with a cup of matcha pudding with a swirl of brown sugar syrup. Hanabira Mochi is, of course, a must, and in Chef Hatch’s hands, the treat takes on a pillowy texture with white bean paste, sour plum sauce and gobo or burdock root.

Leaving the restaurant takes you through the same way you came in, but with a new understanding and appreciation of where Chef Hatch is coming from. His cuisine is well-thought-out and well-executed. If his aim is to make sure everyone has a spiritual experience, he has succeeded beautifully.

 

HASHIDA SINGAPORE

77 Amoy Street, Singapore 069896

For reservations: Call/WhatsApp +65 8129 5336

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.hashida.sg

Opening hours: Tuesdays (Dinner only): 7.00pm – 10.30pm

Wednesdays to Sundays (Lunch) 12.00pm – 3.00pm (Dinner) 7.00pm – 10.30pm

Closed on Mondays