Zento Asian Global Cuisine and Sushi Bar
18B Dempsey Road
(+65) 6474 0378
Zento, which means “futuristic”, is the latest culinary bomb to drop on trendy Dempsey. This contemporary Japanese eatery – whose flagship is in Philadelphia, US – has an Indonesia-born chef, Gunawan Wibisono, at the helm. But don’t be misled by his nationality: this sushi master was taught by American Iron Chef, Masahuru Morimoto, and it shows.
The superb quality sushi is artfully prepared, with daring flourishes I’ve not seen at other Japanese restaurants in Singapore. And as well as traditional items, the menu offers scallop carpaccio and combinations such as succulent mango sashimi, a riceless maki, that give this place an exciting edge.
Most noteworthy of the other dishes we tried was five assorted sashimi with seven sauces, the sashimi barely seared for a wonderful barbecue flavour; volcano futomaki, a divine, deep-fried cut roll containing shrimp tempura and salmon; rock shrimp tempura, its batter so light as to be barely visible; and a selection of sushi featuring plump fish and small bites of perfectly sticky rice. Everything here is made from scratch, right down to the pickled ginger and the home-brewed soy sauce.
My sweet tooth tends to make an appearance after eating Japanese food, and it wasn’t disappointed by the pastry chef’s chocolate lava cake. There is always a moment of delightful anticipation just before you break the crust of the cake, wondering whether you will be greeted by a dried-up black hole or an oozing river of goo. At the risk of spoiling your surprise, I can tell you that it was the latter.
Dining at Zento is a full-on sensual rush in a trendy setting.
Our two favourite words are “free” and “beer”, especially when they are used in the same sentence. Zento offers one-for-one beers, house-pour spirits, wine and sake between 5pm and 7pm daily.