Having just celebrated its first anniversary last month, gourmet Japanese grocer Emporium Shokuhin has won the hearts of Singaporeans with its live seafood market, beef dry-aging facility, and of course, its eight different dining concepts. Recently, we put their food on trial by embarking on an ambitious food trail of three different restaurants – the ramen joint Burosu Honten, sushi restaurant Senmi Sushi, and seafood bar Umi+Vino.
I don’t know about you but sushi rice and raw fish are almost comfort food to me. At Senmi Sushi, the Kaisen Don ($21.80) is neatly presented, with its seven types of sashimi displayed in full glory atop suitably vinegared rice. We would have liked the slices of salmon, tuna, swordfish, and sea bream to be thicker, but at $21.80 per serve, the margin for complaints is indeed quite small. The seafood hails from Hokkaido, with scallop, sweet prawn, and salmon roe completing the bowl.
Joining the ranks of sushi rolls of Senmi Sushi is the new Dynamite Maki ($16.80), a prawn tempura and avocado maki topped with flamed Wagyu beef, and tempura. I’m not a huge fan of the combination – the addition of wagyu feels more like a bid to ‘luxe up’ a classic pairing – and the accompanying sauce was too sweet…but things do get better.
The tastiest stop of the night had to be Emporium Shokuhin’s ramen concept Burosu Honten. With wood-forward interiors, you do have to admire the amount of space and manpower they save by implementing serving windows for each of the booth seats along the wall. Our Burosu Ehime Super Blend Ramen ($16.80) obligingly arrived through the serving window, along with the new Wagyu Beef Gyoza with Garlic Miso Mayo ($8.80).
What makes the newly launched ramen special is the broth, which features a heady mix of pork bones, prawns, and different types of fish from Ehime (a prefecture in Japan near Hiroshima). The result is a rather intense broth that features the density of usual pork bone broth, with the sweetness of seafood – delicious. We also love the succulent beef gyozas topped with torched garlic miso mayo. The skin enclosing the moist wagyu (that was cooked in broth before being wrapped up) was of an almost perfect thickness and a right amount of char on the outside.
Umi means ocean or sea in Japanese, so it’s easy to guess what you’ll be having at Umi+Vino. The Hokkaido Scallop Sashimi & Kombu Pasta ($22) was a delight to eat and went well with a glass of sparking Ferrari Brut ($15++). The chilled angel hair pasta had a good bite while the delicate sweetness of the fresh scallop balanced out the slightly salty kombu.
Another dish featuring the fish of Ehime is the Ehime Fish Pie ($24++). The mix of fish swimming in the cream sauce depends on what they’re able to get so everything is fresh and seasonal. We just wished the puff pastry was thicker so we could scoop up all that yummy sauce.
If you don’t feel like seafood, there’s always the failsafe 48hr Braised Wagyu Beef ($32) with asparagus and mashed potatoes. The tender USDA prime Wagyu beef brisket is braised for 48 hours and pan fried before serving.
Those looking for something sweet will find what they seek in the Tiramisu ($8). Not overwhelming on the coffee with a good texture, it’s more than decent a version for a non-Italian restaurant!
As for the rest of the drinks list, most of the cocktails – typically $15-$16 – we tried were on the sweet side and overwhelmed the fresh seafood so we recommend going for the wines instead.
Top Image: Ramen Gyoza Set, Burosu Honten, Emporium Shokuhin. All other images courtesy of Sylvester T. Fedor.