WAKUDA | Celebrating The Best of Okinawa Produce With Chef Tetsuya Wakuda
Situated at the lobby of Tower 2, WAKUDA Singapore is the brainchild of two-Michelin starred chef Tetsuya Wakuda and John Kunkel, CEO of 50 Eggs Hospitality. A buzz-worthy restaurant that redefines traditional Japanese dining and prides itself on using fresh produce. During our visit this time, we had the opportunity to try WAKUDA’s “
Celebrating the best of Okinawa” menu, a specially curated menu together with the Okinawa Prefectural Government Singapore Government Office. It is a one-off ten-course menu as WAKUDA introduces its lunch service (12pm to 3pm) on Thursdays and Fridays. Previously, WAKUDA only served dinner from 5pm to 11pm.
We started off with the Monzuku Su (seaweed) that is an essential product of the fishing industry in the Okinawa Prefecture and a staple of the Okinawans as it contains rich minerals such as calcium, magnesium and soluble dietary fibre. Chef Tetsuya’s take on this ingredient is to serve it cold with yuzu and shoyu broth and topped with a tiny bit of Okinawa lime (a hybrid of mandarin oranges and kumquat) – sure to stir your appetite.
The next dish is one of WAKUDA’s signature – Big Eye Tuna. Marinated loin of tuna is set on toasted bread with wasabi and plated with sea grapes. The wild-caught tuna (maguro) in Okinawa waters is characterised by its lean flesh, firm texture and refreshing flavour.
This salad of Sea Grape and Onagadai (long-tail red snapper) is one of my favourite courses. Sea grapes is an edible seaweed cultivated and harvested in coastal waters and aquaculture farms in Okinawa. These sea grapes present a light crunch with pops of umami, fairly similar to caviar. Commonly used as a garnish, the sea grapes lend some savouriness to this salad and the freshness of the snapper is also evident.
In season right now, the fourth course features poached Shirako (Cod Milt) and Tofu Yo. Shirako is a Japanese delicacy that tastes buttery and creamy. The tofu yo is fermented tofu, a traditional Japanese delicacy originating from Okinawa.
Our next course was this stunning marinated canadian lobster in shikwasa with asparagus. Crunchy, chewy, soft, sour, sweet, salty – the flavours and textures were rather complex in this dish but they complemented each other and we thought that this dish was well-executed, and showcased the freshness of the produce.
For the Chef’s Selection of Sushi, the line-up was yako shell, tiger prawns and sode ika (squid). The yako shell is an iconic Okinawa delicacy and usually enjoyed raw to savour the deep oceanic flavours. The tiger prawns are sweet to the palate with a tender bite, with slight spice added to it. My favourite was the Sode Ika with the addition of shiso leaf underneath, hence the tint of green.
The two hot dishes in this menu were the Steamed Okinawa Grouper and Braised Beef Cheek. The former reminds us of Chinese-style steamed fish, particularly with the spring onion garnish and soya sauce but with a Japanese spin to it as some wakane is hidden underneath the fish.
The beef cheeks were beautifully braised but the texture was unlike the usual beef cheeks that we have had. The texture of this dish was firmer and closer to beef tongue instead. The marbling was good too.
We rounded off this wonderful meal with Kokuto Ice-cream (not-featured) and Ginger & Shikwasa Creme Brûlée. Our experience at WAKUDA was great, it felt as though we were momentarily transported to Japan, amidst the elegantly designed communal spaces and the well-thought out dishes. This menu also introduced us to Okinawan produce and the recurring word throughout our meal was “refreshing”. P.S If you’re planning to dine there or are celebrating a special occasion, we recommend getting the seats in front of the beautiful tree (which were told come from Japan), right behind the counter where you see the Chefs in action. We are not posting a photo here so that you can witness its beauty in person during your visit! Budget per person: – (menu featured is not usually available), but lunch sets start from $72++ per person
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