Mandarin Gallery #04-16 near Somerset MRT
We may have an uncountable number of Japanese restaurants on this tiny island, but to have one that serves very refined Japanese sweets Hashida Garo should be the very first; aptly plugging the gap in this industry! Contrasting to its sister Hashida Sushi (just two storeys below) that serves the upmarket premium sushi / kaiseki menu, Hashida Garo offers a much lower price point yet still delivers the best quality you would have hoped for. Do not be mistaken that this is just a dessert place, as a pretty good lunch, brunch and dinner menu is available as well!
The Sanma Set – Fragrantly grilled Saba Mackerel that is glazed with the perfect marination served together with rice, pickles and the slithery chawanmushi! Very interesting Mackerel over here as the bones, as fine as its meat is, proves a little tricky to remove. Patience greatly needed over here if you want to savour its fine meat. $26.80.
The Unagi Ippon set – Perfumed with a light peppercorn fragrance, this is by far the most authentic unagi don that we could get in Sg. We may question the utilisation of peppercorn here but this is what you usually get back in Japan. So calming as it cuts through the thick, heavy tasting slices of unagi that are cooked to the perfect mushy texture. Precision indeed. $19.80.
Though served at petite sizes, these desserts or 和菓子 (wagashi) are still priced very reasonably and wouldn’t make the average customer walking off feeling ripped. The Fu Manjyu, definitely a Japanese classic, with a hybrid texture of mochi and jelly, beautifully encapsulates a lightly sweet white bean paste within! $3.80.
And the winner dessert for us was the Yubeshi, that has refreshing yuzu bits entrapped in the gelatinous skin. Of course this dessert doesn’t end there with the meticulous Japanese, as encased within the gelatin skin, is the lightly sweet white bean paste. So memorable! $5.
Hokkaido Cheese Cake – Looking humble, this decadent cheesecake is actually one of the more intense ones that I’ve had. So fluffy within, every bit of the flour is so thoroughly permeated with the fragrant butter, milk and cheese. Sublime. $3.
Reminded fondly of Higashiyaman which is hailed as one of the highest echelons in Japanese premium sweets from Japan Times, Hashida Garo unbelievably refined Japanese sweets, has definitely left an indelible impression in me. So, Japanese afficionadoes or not, this is very highly recommended!
Verdict: An excellent restaurant.