- Rachel Chia
Sushi Tei, Paragon
Sushi Tei needs no introduction. This homegrown Japanese food chain has been around since 1994, and today boasts 13 outlets stuffed to the gills with delicious nosh from the Land of the Rising Sun. What’s new these days is the spring menu, Blossoms of Joy, which will be available for about three months, featuring the produce of the season.
Chawanmushi lovers will adore the luxe upgrade to this humble steamed egg custard: topped with five thick, fatty slices of liver, the Truffle Foie Gras Chawanmushi ($12.80) boasts the delicious earthy smell of truffle and luscious mouthfeel of pan-fried foie gras. It’s a decadent combination that shines against the light, silky-smooth chawanmushi. Digging to the bottom of the cup, we find crab meat, mushrooms, chicken, and a ginkgo nut. Delicious.
This season, Sushi Tei is featuring camellia buri: farm-raised amberjack from Kamigoto Island in Nagasaki. They’re fed a diet enriched with camellia oil – which, in turn, is rich in oleic acid – resulting in a fish that, when eaten, will supposedly benefit your skin and cholesterol levels. Regardless of the health perks, we enjoy everything on the plate in the Sashimi Moriawase "Goto" 4 Kinds ($29.80), including fresh-tasting salmon and juicy, sweet prawns.
Our top pick for the night is the photogenic Bara Chirashi Tower ($15.80): it’s packed with tasty ingredients, yet the price is pretty affordable. The colourful plate is stacked with flavours and textures: sweet, crispy, soft, fatty. Chunks of tuna, salmon, prawn and camellia buri are topped with a moreish mentaiko mayo sauce, tempura bits, pops of salty ikura, and chrysanthemum petals for colour. A thin layer of creamy, sliced avocados divides the vinegared rice, giving the dish a flavour profile reminiscent of a poke bowl.
A close contender for top dish of the night, the Kaisen Blossom Roll ($14.80) is practically spring on a plate: pink mentaiko mayo, orange ikura, green spring onions, yellow chrysanthemum petals, white rice, and a dark teriyaki sauce combine to create a presentation so pretty, it could almost pass off as art. Like the chirashi tower, this dish also plays up flavour and texture, finding a good balance of salty, sweet, creamy and crispy. The luxe factor? A little heap of aburi minced salmon, crabmeat and caviar on top.
The third main of the night is White Curry Omurice ($15.80). This Hokkaido specialty is cooked with fresh milk and cream, resulting in its namesake white-coloured sauce. Sitting in the fragrant curry is a generous serving of tomato omelette rice, dotted with carrot and chicken pieces. The omelette, sadly, is’t as creamy as we’d hoped, and the two shatteringly crisp pieces of deep fried kagoshima pork belly on it completely steal the show.
Meat lovers will adore the Truffle Satsuma Wagyu Steak Foie Gras ($33.80), an indulgent pairing of beef, truffle sauce, and foie gras (the same one used in the chawanmushi). Satsuma wagyu comes from Kagoshima in southern Japan, and our beef hails from one of the largest black cattle farms, whose cows are fed roasted soybeans. This special diet is said to give their meat exceptional flavour and tenderness. It’s not an empty promise: juicy and perfectly cooked, the beef does, indeed, melt in our mouths. We’ll definitely be back for more.
Sushi Tei, Paragon outlet
90 Orchard Road, #05-04/05, Paragon, Singapore 238859
Open 11.30am to 10pm daily