Thursday 12 June 2014

Spices: Waku Ghin - Ranked 2nd as Asia's Best Restaurant for 2013 (Singapore)

I love to watch food related shows and documentaries and after watching different features, there are three restaurants that I've always remembered. These restos has become my dream restaurant to dine in, El Bulli, L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon and Tetsuya's. Sadly El Bulli has already closed down before I got to dine there but I'm still positive that I'll be able to eat at Ferran Adria's new resto in the future. I've dined in L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon Hong Kong and I must say that it was one of my most memorable meals. That leaves Tetsuya's, the restaurant is owned by world renown chef, Tetsuya Wakuda. His restaurant is in Sydney, Australia, it consistently been part of the world's best. When I heard that he was going to open a resto in Singapore, I really got excited. The name of the resto is Waku Ghin.

Waku Ghin

Two years ago when we visited Singapore for the Formula One season, I wanted to visit the resto even if we had no plans of dining there. We checked out the degustation menu for that evening and found out that it would cost SGD$400 to dine there. I was really taken aback with the cost but I was thinking that it would cost more to fly to Sydney to dine in Tetsuya's. So after almost two years of saving up and waiting for the perfect opportunity, we were back at the front door, this time around we were going to dine!

Degustation Menu for the Night - $400sgd++

I've made reservations months before, knowing that they only accept a few guests for the two seatings per night, 6:30pm and 8pm. Welcomed warmly, we were led to one of the dining rooms with bar type table and chairs, in front was a long stainless tepanyaki grill.

The staff proceeded to tell us that Chef Testsuya wanted the concept of bringing the kitchen in front of the diners. We would be able to see how dishes are prepared, cooked and plated.

Maestros at Work

Before the meal started one of the chefs presented a spectacular crate of  seafood which consists the dishes for the night. Each of these seafood goodies came from different parts of the world.

Chef presenting the Ingredients for the Night

A Wooden Crate of The Freshest Catch from All Over The World

The meal started with the Flan with Queensland Spanner Crab. The soup consist of huge chunks of crab meat and luscious silky flan. It was the perfect way to start the meal since the broth isn't too over powering with flavors, it was simple and so hearty.

Flan with Queensland Spanner Crab

I really liked the circular bowl on where the Carpaccio of Flounder with Bitter Salad was presented. The circular rings highlighted the dish on the center of the bowl. With sashimi as fresh as this,  a little soy, spring onions and strips of zucchini, it tasted simple and good.

Carpaccio of Flounder with Bitter Salad

I've seen and read about this Marinated Botan Shrimp with Sea Urchin and Oscietra Caviar dish, everyone is raving about it. First and foremost, I want to point out the ingredients. The Botan Shirmp is not your ordinary fresh shrimp you buy in the market, this giant type of shrimp are fished in deep waters, it's best and safe to eat raw. The sea urchin came from Hokkaido, the place known to have the best quality of sea urchin or uni. To top it all off, a tablespoon full of one of the most sought after and expensive kind of caviar, the Oscietra caviar. And of course when eating caviar, one has to use a  spoon made of pearl.

Marinated Botan Shrimp with Sea Urchin and Oscietra Caviar

Delicious is not enough to describe how this taste like, its something that one must taste to understand what I mean. The plump juicy fresh botan shrimps, the creamiest sweet sea urchin roe, the nuttiness and subtle flavors of the caviar. Everything complimented each other perfectly. If I were to find an adjective on how it tasted, it's BEAUTIFUL! Hands down, one of the most unforgettable dish I've ever tasted!

Marinated Botan Shrimp with Sea Urchin and Oscietra Caviar

Im guessing that the fish in the Slow Cooked New Zealand John Dory with Charcoaled-Grilled Eggplant was sous-vide. The texture of the fish was like eating a super tender piece of chicken, lightly dressed and it had hints of sesame oil. What's nice about this is that you can really taste the char grill flavor.

Slow Cooked New Zealand with Char-Grilled Eggplant

The Roasted Scampi with Ceylon Tea and Scampi Oil has to be one of the if not the freshest and most perfectly cooked prawn I've eaten. The prawn was super tender and it still had that slightly moist center. The seasoning of Ceylon Tea on the prawn had just the right amount, it didn't overpower the natural sweetness of the prawn, it actually highlighted it more.

Roasted Scampi with Ceylon Tea and Scampi Oil

A plate of raw Abalone from Tasmania was brought out and placed on the table. When I took a closer look, it was still moving.

Abalone from Tasmania

This was the first dish that was cooked and plated in front of us. The maestro behind the grill is Chef Cory Soo Thoo. When Chef Cory was explaining the Tasmanian Abalone with Fregola and Tomato dish to us I saw his sous chef placing a spoonful of mayonnaise on the plate. I was kind of curious and skeptical if the mayo will taste well with pasta and tomato combination.

Chef Cory Soo Thoo

I've tasted Abalone before but nothing cooked like this, usually the ones I had before had a very rubbery texture. But this one was totally different, it was so juicy and tender. As for the mayonnaise, pasta and tomato, the combination of flavors worked deliciously well together.

Tasmanian Abalone with Fregola and Tomato

Chef Cory presented to us a plate of glistening lobster saying it was flown in that same morning from Canada. He proceeded to tell us that he already has pre-cooked the lobster to shorten the prep time.

Canadian Lobster

Lobster was cooked spot on, moist and tender. The bisque was exceptional, so rich and savory. Seeing Chef Cory adding butter and tarragon to the lobster, I was expecting a very French dish. But it totally wasn't, the addition of Wakame seaweed instilled a very Japanese flavor. The word 'Umami' or 'Malinamnam' epitomizes the Canadian Braised Lobster with Tarragon dish. Not a single drop of bisque was left on my bowl, I mopped everything up with the mini baguette that came with the dish.

Canadian Braised Lobster with Tarragon

I've seen, eaten and even cooked Wagyu beef but I've never seen Wagyu beef with this kind of marbling before. This is Japanese Ohmi Beef from Shiga Perfecture, what a beauty!

Japanese Ohmi Beef from Shiga Perfecture

To go with the Wagyu dish, a Wasabi root was freshly grated.

Grating Wasabi

The Wasabi was part of the Japanese Ohmi Beef with Wasabi and Citrus Soy dish. Together with the wasabi, there were crunchy garlic chips and strips of scallions to accompany the beef. On the side was the citrus soy with radish.

Japanes Ohmi Beef with Wasabi and Citrus Soy

Cooked medium rare, I would eat beef of this quality as it is. I took a bite of the meat without anything on and it deliciously melted in my mouth. Happy as it is, I had second thoughts of adding anything to the beef but I did construct the perfect bite as suggested by the chef. Wasabi on the beef, garlic chip, scallion strips and doused with a little sauce. As we respectively place a piece in our mouths, only the sound of 'uhmms' came out.

The 'Perfect' Beed Bite

The next two coursed was served to prepare our paletes for dessert. The first is the Somen with Myoga and Junsai, a cold noodle dish. Somen are very thin wheat noodles, served in a dashi broth with myoga (ginger flower) and Junsai (water flower). I liked the thin noodles' firmness, the cold stock was interesting since I would associate it with being served hot. When I felt a jelly-like thing in my mouth, I looked at my bowl and fished out what looked like a stem that was covered in gelatin. I asked the chef what it was and it turned to be the Junsai. First time I've heard and tasted something like this.

Somen Noodles with Myogo and Junsai

I'm not much of a tea drinker but I've tried and tasted a lot. Known to be a really expensive and the finest type of Japanese green tea, this was my first time to try the Gyokuro. It was also nice and interesting to watch the proper way of brewing the tea.

The Art of Brewing Gyokuro

Usually green tea would have a slightly bitter, grassy, herby flavor but the Gyokuro tasted totally different. It had that very savory, slightly salty and sweet flavor.


After the meal, we were lead to the main dining area to have the final courses of our meal. The room let diners enjoy the view of the city while having desserts.

Main Dining Room

When the server placed a sliced of Musk Melon in front of us, I was really taken aback. The server told us that the melon came from Shizuoka Perfecture. First thing that came to my mind was if it was some kind of a joke..'a slice of melon for dessert?' But when I got a piece and put it in my mouth, my eyes rolled back in extreme delight. This is the sweetest and juiciest piece of melon I've ever tasted in my life!!! After researching about this, the melon turns out to be one of the most expensive fruit money can buy costing around $100 for a whole piece.

Musk Melon from Shizuoka Perfecture

The final course is Tetsuya's signature dessert, Ghin Cheese Cake. The server told us that Chef Tetsuya's favorite metal is silver thus the name Ghin, on the top of the cake was small silver-leaf. Being a cheesecake lover, I excitedly took a spoonful. It was light, creamy and had an airy texture, it was very pleasant to the mouth but I felt that it was lacking the sourness flavor.

Ghin Cheese Cake

Towards the center of the cake, I can start to feel that sour puckering sensation in my mouth. There in the middle was lemon curd, the sour component I was looking for. It was total cheese cake bliss after hitting that center spot.

Lemon Curd in the Center 

We were asked if we wanted coffee or tea to end our meal. Being coffee addicts, it was a double shot espresso and a cup of americano for us. After everything, I was terribly disappointed with the coffee. I asked the server what beans they used and I wasn't surprise to hear that they use Vittoria, an Australia brand that I've tried and disliked for a number of times. The coffee leaves a unpleasant sour and acidic after-taste in my mouth and throat.

Double Shot Espresso

Good thing the petit fours that was served with the coffee was such delicious treats. From  left to right, Macha Truffle, Mascarpone Cheese and Amaretto Choux,  Hazelnut Meringue, Chocolate Creameaux , Rum & Raisin Macaron and Pistachio Macaron.

Petit Fours

While having coffee, we contemplated on the dishes and the whole experience. Hands down, all of the ingredients that was used was of superior quality, the best of the best! Everything was absolutely made and cooked to perfection, we tipped our hats off to Chef Cory. Though I wished he'd be more engaging in conversation, from how it looked he was also attending to to other guests in the adjacent rooms. We commend the staff for being pleasant, regardful and super attentive, it was no surprise that most of the staff are Filipinos(just like in Iggy's), nothing can compare to Filipino hospitality.  If you ask me if it's worth the $400sgd?, to be honest if you just based it on the food alone, it's really a steep price to pay. But for the whole experience, hell yeah it is!


I'm going to end this post by quoting Anthony Bourdain, it's in his show, A Cook's Tour where I've first seen and heard about Tetsuya's. He goes: "Why am I willling to pay hundreds of dollars for a single meal?.....I don't pay for the food, I pay for the experience!"

Waku Ghin
Address: Marina Bay Sands 10 Bayfront Avenue, Level 2 
Tel No: +65 6688 8507 ( reservation is a must for degustation dinner!)

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