iKO | Modern-Japanese Bistronomy along Neil Road
Located along the vibrant Neil Road, iKO welcomes new Chef-Owner Dylan Ong onboard. The name probably doesn’t sound unfamiliar to you as Chef Dylan is the face and brain behind The Masses. At iKO, you can expect the same experimental and adventurous food that you find at The Masses. Stepping into the dimly lit restaurant filled with quirky posters, murals and upbeat music, one will be greeted with warm hospitality from the service staff. The menu is split into 5 sections – bar snacks, snacks, raw, to start and mains. We tried a range of these new offerings.
We started off with the Negitoro Ice Cream and Salmon Ice Cream ($18 for 2 pcs). The first comprises of seaweed cone filled with minced raw tuna, cured yolk and green onion bud. The second of the same seaweed cone filled with minced raw and smoked salmon, creme fraiche and ikura. It is recommended to have them in one bite and what an umami bite that is.
The Lil Basket ($20, 4pcs) is reminiscent of the local kueh pie tee, with each mini beetroot basket stuffed with Hokkaido snow crab, spicy avocado mousse and lime gel.
Moving on to the raw section, the Oysters ($21 / $42 / $80 for 3 / 6 / 12 pcs) are topped with granita made with lychee puree, grated wasabi, a dash of lime juice and a few drops of sake. Order this when you’re there!
The Hay Smoked Hamachi ($24) is another dish to get – fresh hamachi seasoned with sea salt and ponzu brown butter before it is smoked with hay then served with scallion garlic oil, sweet compressed grapes, trio sesame and viola flowers.
The starters section also manages to impress. The A4 Wagyu “Sukiyaki” ($28) comprises of slices of A4 Wagyu, a glistening egg yolk, shiitake mushrooms, leeks, scallions, perilla (fried!) immersed in a delectable white sukiyaki sauce.
One of the best dishes of the day was the Dope You Up Bowl ($42) – a gorgeous bowl of ume shiso rice underneath A4 wagyu buri, Bafun uni, ikura, cured egg yolk and wagyu fat emulsion. Very indulgent but also worth it.
After having the Dope You Up Bowl, the High Sess Somen ($38) paled in comparison. However, you can try the same if you like lighter flavours. A cold appetiser consisting of chutoro, Hokkaido snow crab, balun uni and Kaviari caviar finished with clam sauce and chives. This is also available in a larger serving size for $48.
For the mains, we had the Hay Smoked Guinea Fowl ($32 single, $62 sharing) and the Miso Black Cod ($36). The former features a medley of up to 15 seasonal vegetables prepared in various renditions with the fowl (seared and brined) atop this med of vegetables and homemade sake ume sauce to complete it. The black cod is first marinated in miso for three days before being grilled. Served on the side is a combination of creamy pumpkin puree, clams, grilled firefly squid, carrots, pickled daikon and roasted nectarines.
To end the meal, we had the Yuzu Semi Freddo ($15), composed of soft zesty yuzu curds, Hokkaido milk ice-cream, fluffy mint sponge, miso caramel drizzle and honeycomb. The restaurant is serving a 10-course iKO x OCBC tasting menu at $98 per pax (U.P $128) for OCBC card members – a good opportunity to try a variety of dishes from iKO’s menu. It is open Monday to Saturday and is able to seat approximately 55 persons. Budget per person: $40 – 60 per person