Orchard Gateway @ Emerald 5th floor near Somerset MRT
It may be one of the hardest-to-find restaurant for me as the new, sparkling Orchard Gateway has a slightly confusing blueprint. To get to this place – cross the transparent bridge linking the two buildings and get into Crate & Barrel furniture shop from which you could get a lift up to the 5th floor. No other tenants around, Tburu is the restaurant right beside the lift.
With tall ceilings and a total glass facade, any table would have a perfect view of the glitzy orchard (which has a slight resemblance to bustling Tokyo). The aim for C and I that night – to get the seemingly attractive deal that only lasts for a limited period, (quoting) “$50 8 course omakase that is usually priced at $100.” But was it really worth $100? We shall see…
Minced Chicken with mint leaves in it is served hot. While I believe the chef is attempting to use the mint to cut through the slightly heavier tasting chicken shreds, the refreshing element is somehow muted.
The sashimi platter served next would calm your stressful week with their freshness and lusciousness. The tuna / akami was so intensely red that I almost mistook it for beef, perhaps due to its better quality. This plate though, still serves a cheaper cut of fish as the premium ones like ottoro and chuttoro are missing from it.
This plate of Salmon was made super delicious with the secretive green sauce that the waiter wasn’t willing to divulge. We took quite a while to try to understand this green savoury sauce, hopefully – suspected to have its natural greenness from Spinach while onions should have been used in its concoction which render it slightly sweet and very palatable. This was THE (only) outstanding dish for us that night.
The Slow braised pork ribs had the perfect soft consistency which is easily pulled apart even by grabbing it with your chopsticks while the soft cartilage would be wiped out by cartilage lovers like myself. However, while its slightly overly sweet and salty dark sauce makes it more flavourful and much heavier tasting, a little bit of refreshing mint or yuzu pepper or some sort may help to lift the overall taste.
And you may be wondering where’s the 8th which is just a bowl of slightly bland mushroom soup. Not worth the shot, it wasn’t taken. In general, you will get loads of meat, from pork to chicken to fish for this omakase set and it seems like a meal that tries to fill you up on proteins. Am not complaining here as I am a huge eater but I personally found it missing the Japanese soul: the intricate balance that glorifies Japanese cuisine. Having been to Japan for more than 5 times, I am never once not amazed by their Kaiseki (slightly similar to omakase just that you know what you are getting) as every course always yields a very different experience and would usually end off with an astounding bowl of carbs (which may be truffle infused, or having a strong seafood umami) that is obviously left out in this meal. A $50 is OK for this meal but a $100 tag would definitely divert me to places like Hashi which is still the best Kaiseki I’ve had in Sg.
Verdict: In between an above average – good restaurant