Takayama is the all-new "secret" Japanese dining room to get your omakase fix and more
Inside the lair
Most of us identify establishments through their flashy signs, but when it comes to a certain Japanese restaurant at Downtown Gallery, what you'll notice first is a man sharply dressed in a black suit.
Intimidating? Strange? Alluring? We have to say, all things considered, our curiosity was definitely piqued. The next step? Walk towards the dapper gentleman and he'll gladly open the unasumming door for you, unveiling Takayama. Plot twist: he's pretty amicable if you get to know him.
Inside, the space isn't all that huge. But thanks to its grand furnishings of black marble tiles alongside glossy walls, the cosy space is elevated and transformed into an intimate dining room complete with a spacious open kitchen. While there's a small area sectioned out for regular chairs and tables, as well as a private dining room for bigger groups, the best seat in the house is undoubtedly by the kitchen.
A glorious view awaits — executive chef Taro Takayama and his elite team don't waste a second getting to work, and it's almost cinematic to witness knives and skilled fingers coming together to put a piece of art on a plate. Prior to setting up his own haven (hence the eponymous name), Takayama had previously worked at Mandarin Orchard Singapore, and in three-Michelin starred restaurants in Osaka. You're in good hands, for sure.
The menu here pays homage to the respected food culture in Osaka, where great pride is immortalised in the local cuisine. It also varies and is beautifully dictated by the freshest ingredients throughout the four seasons in Japan. Guests can go for a set lunch menu during the day, and a stellar omakase for dinner — be prepared to relish anything from eight to 11 courses. Safe to say, all produce served goes through a strict screening process, ensuring the best of Osaka on your plate.
It also really depends on how lucky you are when it comes to what's available for the day — we had the pleasure of tasting white uni, flounder with soya sauce foam, baby octopus with roasted chilli sauce, blue fin tuna with kombu soya sauce, and an unforgettable Japanese tuna tartare deftly seasoned with dollops of caviar and a marinated egg yolk. Takayama's signature dish? Steamed abalone topped with uni and served with a briny abalone liver sauce. Believe us, it'll be hard to eat anything out of a can after this winner.
Here's where luxury, formidable craft and theatre come together in an impeccable meal reserved for discerning folk. Go on, treat yourselves.
6A Shenton Way, Downtown Gallery, #01-09/10, Tel: 6224 0864
Opening hours: 12pm-2.30pm, 6.30pm-10pm