Kaiseki dining revolves around the Japanese principle of shun, a traditional belief that ingredients should be eaten in their proper season, when flavours are at their peak. Considered the epitome of Japanese cuisine, the traditional meal typically comprises six- to 15-courses, with each one showcasing a particular cooking method. Thus, the experience begins with appetisers and sashimi to whet the palate, and then followed by cooked dishes, a rice course and dessert.
According to chef Hirohashi Nobuaki of Ushidoki Wagyu Kaiseki, each menu is designed by the head chef based on what’s in season, and diners can’t customise their menus unless they have allergies or dietary requirements. One of the most important elements of kaiseki dining is the soup course, with Nobuaki enthusing, “dashi is typically used in most dishes such as braised vegetables and fish. If you can enjoy its soup dish, you will enjoy the rest of the menu.”
The sashimi course also sets the tone for the rest of the dining experience. “This course showcases the best ingredients and the chef’s skills,” states Nobuaki.
Although kaiseki dining is not as popular as omakase or Edomae sushi in Singapore, the island is still home to a handful of restaurants offering different memorable kaiseki experiences. Here are five to get you started.
Head to Keyaki for an authentic kaiseki experience while surrounded by a stunning Japanese garden. For lunch, the culinary team serves a delectable eight-course kaiseki menu that begins with seasonal sashimi, such as yellowtail, scallop and bluefin tuna. Then, delight in tantalising mains, including the succulent Wagyu beef that is grilled and topped with aromatic garlic chips; and the thin inaniwa udon bathed in a light broth and topped with crisp Sakura shrimps. Book here.
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