Sushi lunch set, $90
I was having a casual lunch at Tatsuya by the sushi counter almost two years ago when I saw a lady stroll into the restaurant in a t-shirt and sweat shorts. Juxtaposed with the row of dolled up, glamorous women seated at the sushi counter, she looked completely out of place but appeared unfazed. Then she sat down beside me, full of dignity and grace, whispered her order to the staff, and proceeded to enjoy an omakase by herself. Sushi after premium sushi landed on her plate from the chef's hands, which she savoured in a sort of quiet joy, unperturbed and completely at peace. Just watching her (mostly from the corner of my eye), I have to say, she changed my life.
I saw in her a woman who was not only comfortable in her own skin, but also her own best friend, and (at least to my imagination) financially sound enough to strut into a restaurant in her most unflattering lounge clothes to enjoy a luxurious meal. I was well and truly inspired. Since then I've always wanted to do the same thing - strut into Tatsuya, have a meal by myself, and nibble on premium sushi in joy and solitude. So I did just that.
Delicate chawanmushi with yuzu zest
Except with much less aplomb! I strutted in like she did, but the sushi counter was full (on a weekday afternoon!) so I was seated in a private room instead. And then my heart sank further when my sushi course was served to me all at once, rather than piece by piece. Nevertheless, it was jolly good quality time - just me and my sushi - and that was pretty much the whole point of it all anyway.
Mouthwatering aburi sushi
It was my first time trying Tatsuya's more premium offerings. Previously, it was all the rage for offering amazing-value set lunches between $28-$30 (I've got evidence too) but since its renovation, prices have been adjusted to make it on par with the rest of the higher-end Japanese restaurants ($35-$40). I chose the $90 sushi set (served with light appetizers and chawanmushi), which seemed like a suitable compromise between the standard lunch sets and omakase ($200).
The fish was luscious. Sweet and fresh like they were straight from the ocean (did you see that glorious, glorious shrimp?). I'll be hard-pressed to name all the fish but it featured mostly belly cuts, including tai (sea bream), kanpachi (amberjack), and the divine otoro. I understood, finally, the hype about Tatsuya's aburi sushi. They were executed with a surprisingly modern flair, each decorated with just the right sprinkle of garnish (such as yuzu, amongst others) to bring out the flavour in each sushi. Absolutely delicious. My only gripe was that the seaweed for the gunkan sushi and maki was soggy - how could it be soggy at this price point? So the set is certainly not cheap, nor good value, but overall very delicious, indeed.
22 Scotts Road,
Goodwood Park Hotel,
Tel: (65) 6737 1160
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