Mikuni Launches “Grand Tasting Tour Menu” Featuring Exquisite Fugu Delicacies – Available Now till Jan 31

It was love at first bite. Two years ago, Mikuni’s Chef Moon Kyung Soo took our breath away with his creation of Mikuni’s truffle kanpachi of an extraordinary depth of umaminess. There is so much skill in that single dish that captivated us – the type of fish; its quality; precise thickness of each slice, the choice of ingredients that balances flavor with texture… We were quite evidently, hooked.

Fast-forward two years down the road (we would’ve returned sooner if not for the slew of new restaurants popping up all around the island), and we find ourselves nestled comfortably at Mikuni, our zealous excitement at the launch of its luxurious fugu (commonly known as globefish or pufferfish) menu: Mikuni Grand Tasting Tour Menu ($220 for eight courses; $310 with four varieties of sake pairing), available now till January 31, 2016. If eight courses bid too heavy for lunch, an à la carte fugu menu is also available: sashimi ($88), tempura ($38) and hot pot ($48) – each portion is good for two persons.

Mikuni - Group shot - Review by Gourmet Adventures

Our first contact with globefish happened in 2014 at Singapore’s first fugu restaurant, Fuku Fine Fugu Kaiseki Restaurant, where we came face-to-face with this dangerously extravagant delicacy. Then, we sampled globefish creations by traditional preparation methods; today, the culinary prowess of Chef Moon is undeniable in his modern Japanese creations.

The Mikuni Grand Tasting Tour Menu starts with otoushi, consisting of four items: globefish skin jelly, a sushi ball topped with globefish sashimi, and sliced globefish meat lightly marinated in mirin boshi (sweet sake) and topped with plum, chopped toro (tuna belly), and caviar – balancing out the mirin while yielding looks of envy. What piques our interest is the bouncy, savory jelly that breaks softly in the mouth to reveal crunchy textures of globefish skin, making it hard to imagine anything quite possibly as exquisite.

Otoushi: Globefish skin jelly, sushi ball, chopped toro at Mikuni

Mikuni Japanese Restaurant, Fairmont Singapore - Globefish, Fugu, Pufferfish Skin Jelly, Sushi Ball, Caviar - Review by Gourmet Adventures

Otoushi: Globefish skin jelly at Mikuni

Mikuni Japanese Restaurant, Fairmont Singapore - Globefish, Fugu, Pufferfish Skin Jelly Closeup - Review by Gourmet Adventures

The last component of the otoushi arrives; globefish shirako egg custard with yuzu. Shirako, better known as cod milt or sperm sacs, is considered a delicacy in Japanese cuisine. Here, shirako is served gently boiled and served in smooth chawanmushi with a hint of yuzu – full of savory-sweet fishy flavors while retaining its lusciously creamy texture.

Otoushi: Shirako chawanmushi at Mikuni

Mikuni Japanese Restaurant, Fairmont Singapore - Globefish, Fugu, Pufferfish Shirako Chawanmushi - Review by Gourmet Adventures

Mikuni Japanese Restaurant, Fairmont Singapore - Globefish, Fugu, Pufferfish Shirako Chawanmushi 2 - Review by Gourmet Adventures

Possibly our favorite item on the menu, the second course; tataki, made us squeal with pleasure. There are many grades of globefish; presented here, is tora fugu, the finest grade of globefish from the Yamaguchi prefecture. Instead of treating it with ponzu, Chef Moon uses barley miso, serving it with interior and exterior globefish skin (the former more gelatinous; while the latter bears more tenacity and crunch) and leek flower on a crisp leaf of cabbage. It is the best of ingredients treated with utmost respect – transforming beautifully on the palate.

Tataki: Globefish skin with barley miso at Mikuni

Mikuni Japanese Restaurant, Fairmont Singapore - Globefish, Fugu, Pufferfish Tora Fugu Tataki - Review by Gourmet Adventures

The third course of sashimi features globefish traditionally presented with baby leek, ponzuand spicy radish; thin foils of gold gently graces the dish, and a globefish fin (its black and yellow color shows that it is tora fugu from the Yamaguchi prefecture) acts as a centerpiece – traditionally soaked in sake to add flavor. We place the baby leek and globefish skin in the middle of the sashimi, swiftly rolling it up as we’d do the Peking duck dish, dipping it into the ponzu and radish sauce that adds punch. Also part of the sashimi course are thick slices of seasonal tokusen sashimi toro and yellowtail. It is good – the unctuous, fatty slice of tuna belly oozes sweet juiciness that propels one to believe all is right with the world.

Sashimi: Globefish sashimi at Mikuni

Mikuni Japanese Restaurant, Fairmont Singapore - Globefish, Fugu, Pufferfish Sashimi - Review by Gourmet Adventures

Mikuni Japanese Restaurant, Fairmont Singapore - Globefish, Fugu, Pufferfish Sashimi Closeup - Review by Gourmet Adventures

Tora fugu fin (to soak in sake) at Mikuni

Mikuni Japanese Restaurant, Fairmont Singapore - Globefish, Fugu, Pufferfish Sashimi & Tora Fugu Fin - Review by Gourmet Adventures

Sashimi: Seasonal tokusen sashimi toro and yellowtail at Mikuni

Mikuni Japanese Restaurant, Fairmont Singapore - Sashimi - Review by Gourmet Adventures

In the fourth course; grill, we take a break from the briny creature for a taste of meatier pastures – perfectly grilled Miyazaki cubes of grade 5 Wagyu ribeye, served with seasonal vegetables such as Kyoto baby potato, organic beetroot, yam, chestnut, garlic and green ginko nut. The absurdly sweet meat is beautifully grilled, exuding a waft of chargrilled smokiness juxtaposed with its oleaginous fattiness owed to intense marbling – all that massaging has not gone to waste.

Grill: Grade 5 Miyazaki Wagyu ribeye with seasonal vegetables at Mikuni

Mikuni Japanese Restaurant, Fairmont Singapore - Miyazaki Wagyu Beef Ribeye - Review by Gourmet Adventures

Grade 5 Miyazaki Wagyu beef at Mikuni

Mikuni Japanese Restaurant, Fairmont Singapore - Miyazaki Wagyu Beef Cube - Review by Gourmet Adventures

We approach the fifth course; deep-fried, with much apprehension. We’ve never quite enjoyed kaarage, but here, the globefish kaarage shines with oil but doesn’t leak, having been twice-fried to retain its moist sweetness while obtaining absolute crispiness. Its pearly flesh is perfumed with Sakura salt and a house-special marinate that pairs deliciously with the grilled Japanese sweet green chili.

Deep-fried: Globefish kaarage at Mikuni

Mikuni Japanese Restaurant, Fairmont Singapore - Globefish, Fugu, Pufferfish Kaarage - Review by Gourmet Adventures

We start to fill up at the sixth course; hot pot, but one sip of the fugu chiri nabe globefish broth, and our appetite is back. The clear soup is full of sweet flavors of vegetables and briny tones. The sweetness of the broth is extracted boiling globefish and seasonal vegetables in pure kombu water.

Fugu chiri nabe globefish broth at Mikuni

Mikuni Japanese Restaurant, Fairmont Singapore - Globefish, Fugu, Pufferfish Chiri Nabe Broth - Review by Gourmet Adventures

On the seventh course of rice, a takeaway style takana onigiri is presented on a wooden tray, wrapped so that it opens easily in three simple steps. The crisp seaweed gives way to reveal aromatic uni rice with bits of crunchy pan-fried takana-zuke (Japanese pickles). Our dining companion decides to take it home for consumption, but greed got the better of us. It is delicious.

Rice: Takeaway style uni rice takana onigiri at Mikuni

Mikuni Japanese Restaurant, Fairmont Singapore - Globefish, Fugu, Pufferfish Uni Rice - Review by Gourmet Adventures

Mikuni Japanese Restaurant, Fairmont Singapore - Globefish, Fugu, Pufferfish Uni Rice 2 - Review by Gourmet Adventures

Our hearts skip a beat when it is time for dessert. Inspired by the Llao Llao craze that has taken Singapore by storm, Chef Moon decided to showcase organic Hokkaido yogurt with quality fruit – strawberry, blueberry, orange and wine jelly that punctures the senses with a sweet freshness that ends the meal in perfect harmony.

Dessert: Hokkaido yogurt with fresh fruit at Mikuni

Mikuni Japanese Restaurant, Fairmont Singapore - Hokkaido Yogurt Dessert - Review by Gourmet Adventures

Mikuni’s Grand Tasting Tour Menu is the kind of meal that so many seek, but often fail to find – and at such standards, it would be a shame to miss.

Grand Tasting Tour Menu; Available now till Jan 31, 2016. Mikuni, 3/F Fairmont Singapore, 80 Bras Basah Rd., 6431-6156. Open noon-2:30pm, 6:30-10:30pm.

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