Elegant Japanese fine dining
Keyaki, from the ambience down to the food, has a wonderful, traditional elegance not commonly found these days. Walking through the garden to the restaurant, I felt just as though I'd escaped to a sanctuary safe from all the troubles of the day. The restaurant offers kaiseki (traditional multi-course sets) from upwards of $150, as well as special sets based on seasonal offerings. What's great about Keyaki is the lack of hard rules for at least two diners to order the same kaiseki set - I just love enlightened restaurants.
Umeshu, Amuse Bouche
Since it was my birthday, we got some happy juice (umeshu) to start. We picked Keyaki's omakase kaiseki set, as well as a salmon kaiseki set, both in the vicinity of $180. The amuse bouche was a cold dish of garnished battered fish - tasty but definitely not my favourite sort of thing. Oh, by the way, the pictures are a jumble of the two sets but I have faith that all you witty ones would have no difficulties figuring it out, roughly.
Sesame Tofu, Marinated Octopus
The sesame tofu fared much better, a smooth, dense custard with the fragrance from the ground sesame just gently permeating. The marinated octopus sashimi, too, was a delight - fresh like the sea with a lovely bite.
The sashimi in each of the sets were very good. The maguro was one of the best I've had locally (just look at the hue!) and the crunchy clams were completely delicious. Everything was wonderfully sweet, as you'd expect, with the stand-outs being the amazing botan shrimp and beautiful otoro. Man, that burst of flavour biting into otoro gets me every time.
The assorted platter consisted of smoked duck, fish liver, and slices of what resembled a meat loaf. Excellently prepared dishes though not particularly memorable.
Soup with wanton, Grilled king crab legs
A light broth with dumplings came next, to lay the backdrop for a platter of sweet, succulent grilled king crab legs.
Grilled cod, Scrambled egg with chicken
The grilled cod had a surprisingly sturdy texture suggesting that it had been cured in some way. It was almost a little of an acquired taste, but it did grow on me. The scrambled egg was unbelievably fluffy and tasted amazing, completely overshadowing the chicken even.
Stewed eggplant, corn and ebi kakiage
I didn't think much of the dish at first glance, but the stewed eggplant, which was bursting with juices (yet surprisingly not overcooked), really bowled me over. The flavours from the hokkaido sweet corn kakiage were well-rounded and delicious, although the batter could be lighter.
Salmon sukiyaki, Sushi (uni, salmon roe and scallop)
Then came a salmon sukiyaki enough to be a stand-alone meal. It was faultlessly executed, with scattered salmon roe as icing on the cake. The sushi, a trio of uni, salmon roe and scallop, was just fantastic - excellently prepared and brimming with the flavours of the ocean.
The cold udon had a great texture, with the grated ginger working surprisingly well with the chives and seaweed to form a most delicious dipping broth.
Melon pudding, Melon
Desserts were a simple affair - a melon pudding, and a slice of melon. But, as you can imagine, they were flawless - probably the sweetest melon I've ever tasted all my life. Keyaki presents an elegant and multi-faceted traditional Japanese meal that is excellently prepared but not always memorable. I have to admit that a few of the (probably more traditional) dishes were lost on me, and I would prefer heading over to Hachi (for an omakase comprising of a little of all the best things in life) or Sushi Kuu (for an omakase emphasising on gorgeous sashimi and sushi).
7 Raffles Boulevard
Level 4 Pan Pacific Singapore
Tel: 6826 8240
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