Thursday, July 12, 2007

Review: Sushi Yoshida

Righto. Since we're in the mood of giving away secrets, let me show you the one I've kept for awhile. There's not much point now, though, because the restaurant has realized that a $28 price tag on what they were offering was too silly and have now increased the prices to $38, which kind of changes the simple value equation.

I love this place because of their freshness of the fish, the friendliness of the chefs and the general moody lighting of the high wooden bar and pale green walls of this little sushi cave in the wall.

Its a place that you can sit and have a three hour dinner, just on any regular friday. In fact, the later the better, since that's when you get a bunch of happy, giggly cooks. That's also when they play the old 1930s Shanghai music of swaying dancing cheongsummed women, or U2 or some lounge-trance, depending on what kind of mood the guys are in.

I had come so often for dinner that one day when I made an impromptu booking for lunch, I got a shock when looking at their set menu. I had a coddled soft boiled egg with mirin, sake and wasabi, delightfully light and fresh, with just a hint of yuzu, a full main with chirashi, or a sashimi moriawase, or a sushi platter, two bowls of clear fish soup and rice, as well as a dessert, for just $28. I'm not sure that that covers just the sahimi, on a good day. $28 Sing dollars is like, what, $18USD or 9 UK pounds.

Of course, you can find normal bento sets in any of Singapore's ubiquitous Japanese restaurants for the same price. The reason this is different is that I love that they don't stinge on the types and amount of sashimi that they give in the set and that you can have a clear soup boiled with pork and fish bones, or a miso soup, cloudy with enoki mushrooms. Also that they don't do the cheap slice of watermelon dessert but on good days, serve a unique home-made dessert of slices of yuzu peel soaked in honey and served with julienned aloe vera.

For those who are wondering, I don't have a picture of it here but the largest choice of the sets is the chirashi (trust me, I've tried them all) but the one I like best is the sashimi moriawase.

That's because the best and probably the simplest thing at the restaurant, is the chef's garlic fried rice. I love when it's being made and the warm savory smell penetrates the large metal tin over the stove, through to the whole sushi counter and front of house. It's like the most fragrant, pungent, increadible smell ever and they cleverly pair the steaming hot rice with a bit of cold chives and cucumber. I also ask for it to substitute my white rice and I haven't yet had one dining companion who didn't comment on how yummy it was. I even dream of it when I travel. Once in a while.

On this particular occasion, we ordered some extra seasonal specials. Whitefish, whole uni, which wasn't even as expensive as I thought it'd be (or is at other places) and another time, it was steamed Japanese yam buds (I love these when they are in season) and tiny red crabs, which they plucked from the glass cage and fried till whole and crispy. I wish I'd taken pictures of those, they were cute..and delicious.

Yoshida is definitely not a cheap meal and even the lunch set is now pretty fully priced. I was pretty shocked that they hiked the lunch set price $10 at one go and the dinners can set you back a couple hundred. However, I still feel the ambience, food quality and experience makes it a worthwhile visit.

Sushi Yoshida
10 Devonshire Road,

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