Steamed monkfish liver is something unexpected, but a Japanese omakase menu is always guaranteed to offer surprises. This bite-sized delicacy, served warm with ponzu, is one of 13 courses offered on Ki-sho’s “let the chef choose” menu. Affable and easy-going head chef, Kazuhiro Hamamto, whips out his iPhone to show us a photo of the ugly, slimy fish (his words) and explains that the liver composes half the weight of the fish, which is flown in from Hokkaido.
How anyone figured out that this is a delicacy is open for discussion, preferably over a glass of sake (Dassai 39, $84 carafe) or a Premium Asahi beer ($15). Certainly, the taste is delicate, while the texture is creamy and soft. Coincidentally, CNN Go includes it in the world’s Top 50 list of most delicious foods.
Everything on the omakase menu (priced from $230 to $330, depending on the number of seasonal dishes) is made to the exacting standards of the Kyoto-trained chef, who has also done a stint at the acclaimed Waku Ghin. He offers a unique interpretation of Japanese cuisine and is well supported by attentive waiters.
The seasonal dishes on the menu change from night to night; obligatory are the sashimi, nigiri sushi, miso soup and melt-in-your-mouth grilled Wagyu beef. Standouts on the evening we visit are the French Gillardeau oyster with ikura and the charcoal-grilled Hokkaido scallop. Both seafood’s taste as if they were plucked from the sea this very morning, a testament to modern transportation and the chef’s skill.
Situated in a black-and-white on Scotts Road, Ki-sho, which translates roughly as aristocratic craftsmanship, has an impressive 10-seater pine sushi bar, a sake room with 50 labels, and two formal private dining rooms. Much of the elegant, minimalist interior was hand-built by a team of Japanese artisans: think paper screens and striking flower arrangements. And it’s oh-so-quiet: any road noise is blocked by thick glass windows. So we are a little surprised to emerge into downtown Singapore rather than a Kyoto alley, and happy to be comfortably satisfied after an evening of pleasant surprises.
Must-try dish: Charcoal-grilled Hida Wagyu