Fans of Japanese cuisine who have declared their love for its diverse make-up of ingredients, tastes and seasons have more than often only grazed the tip of the iceberg. After all, the country's made up of 47 prefectures — now that's 47 different ways to do fish. What our inner food snob's telling us is this: Don't call yourself a devotee when you've only tasted dishes exclusive to a particular region.
With Marina Square's new all-Japanese dining wing, your taste buds will go on a trek through Japan like no other. Emporium Shokuhin houses a gourmet grocer, live seafood market, a beef dry-aging facility and a total of eight dining concepts ranging from a grilled meat restaurant and seafood wine bar to a fine dining establishment.
On our visit, we found ourselves at Takujo, a new Japanese fine dining address showcasing dishes from the Ehime and Miyazaki prefectures.
We started with the shiromi sakana no akasu, which brought together pieces of white fish with red vinegar jelly. Mikan-dai, a sea bream from Uwajima in the Ehime prefecture was the seasonal catch, and what made this particular find interesting was its faint citrusy flavour as fish from that area are fed with Japanese orange. For more options, guests are presented with a live seafood trolley at their table from which they can make their selection.
For something from the grill, we suggest the hon maguro cheek, a generous helping of Bluefin tuna cheek. Chosen right from Emporium Shokuhin's live seafood market, this fleshy, almost melt-in-your-mouth tender cheek is something you can tuck into straight away instead of saving the best for last when it's part of a whole fish. If you fancy, the whole tuna head's available as well at a day's notice.
To end the meal on a sweet note, opt for the genmaicha (matcha and roasted brown rice) ice cream. Served in small rectangular blocks and torched lightly at the top, it's a creamy, toasty finish to a wholesome, unpretentious fine-dining experience.
6 Raffles Boulevard #01-18 Marina Square. Tel: 6224 3433