After going through a pandemic and the closure of his original restaurant, it seems that nothing will stand in the way of Chef Kenjiro ‘Hatch’ Hashida rising to the fore once again. Following his private dining pop-up with OUE Social Kitchen, the Japanese chef has finally opened his swanky new restaurant at 77 Amoy Street, bringing innovative, quality omakase to our scene on a regular basis once again.
These days, omakase is more popularly translated to ‘chef’s choice’, but in restaurants across Japan, it’s more than that – having an omakase meal is also a promise from the chef to the diner that they will walk away from their meal thoroughly satisfied, a promise that Hatch is determined to fulfil for every guest that walks through his doors.
To be one of the first to sit down in this new space and experience Hatch’s menu felt like a real privilege, getting to see the master chef at work as he elevated the art of Japanese dining with his fine ingredients and innovative preparation styles.
When our meal began, right off the bat, Hatch already showed how much he aims to impress with the beautiful opening dish – abalone with uni and caviar, and a mackerel sushi, enjoyed with some seaweed.
The wow factor doesn’t stop there – we were then served the luxurious snow crab and sea cucumber in gold leaf, rich in flavour and plating.
Playing on the idea of mixing temperatures, this was followed by a bowl of turnip soup with a hint of wasabi, teasing our palate with its unusual ability to straddle both hot and cold sensations at the same time, before we were served pickled radish to cleanse our palate.
The New Year is one of Japan’s most important celebrations, one that is always commemorated with mochi, prepared differently across prefectures. For our next dish, Hatch decided to showcase Kyoto’s unique style of preparing the traditional new year dish, with a delicate mochi (made in-house), paired beautifully with tofu, a white miso broth, and served with burdock and apple. A dish made with finesse, there’s even a touch of freshness with the yuzu peel, and Japanese yam.
No Japanese omakase is complete unless there’s sashimi, and Hatch served up his unique style of chutoro. How unique you ask? Unlike presenting the sashimi with wasabi on the side, Hatch doesn’t let any of it go to waste, chopping up the wasabi skin and adding it to the freshly grated wasabi, giving it an additional subtle flavour.
Here, Hatch also served up three pieces of halibut, with the final layer wrapped around a generous, decadent portion of uni. You’d think that it’s a little too much to handle in a single bite (recommended), but really, the flavours and textures just come together beautifully.
Next up, water octopus flown in from Hokkaido, where we were instructed to eat it with the specially prepared seaweed, allowing the umami flavour of the seaweed and the octopus to come out in full.
To give us a taste of summer, Hatch served up ‘Summer Dust’, comprising Shiitake mushrooms, ginkgo nuts and bamboo shoot, along with a lily root dumpling. Don’t be deceived by the simple-looking clear broth, it’s actually full of flavour and complements the dumpling beautifully, each spoonful refreshing and rich.
It was time for Hatch to serve up his specialty – sushi. We had a range of fish served up, from aerojack to snapper, with a pinch of Juniper salt. These were also served with a ponzu sauce, with three slices of sashimi, each one unique in taste but all grilled to perfection, bringing the oils of the fish to life.
The kampachi yellow tail was a real treat, before again giving us a new texture and flavour with the prawn. Meanwhile, the uni and mackerel combination was a wonderful expression of Hashida’s craft, and sums up what he was going to serve us today.
Even the traditional chawanmushi was given the Hatch twist. No longer was it a simple egg custard (perfectly cooked of course), but topped with a dollop of cauliflower puree – delicate and smooth, we got a mix of textures and tastes.
From here, the sushi only got more tantalising – tuna, then snapper, and then barracuda, a fish we’d never tried before, mostly owing to its rarity in the majority of Japanese restaurants.
For our next dish, Hatch decided to spotlight the oyster. First simmered in stock, then rolled up with beancurd skin and deep fried, the final dish requires so much control and mastery to get right, leaving the oyster within still plump. The dish was then completed with shungiku (crown daisy).
The richness of Hatch’s menu proceeded from there to include a bowl of sea perch, combined with uni and ikura, producing a surprisingly explosive, decadent flavour burst, with the ikura gushing out all over the sashimi.
More unique flavours showcasing the diversity of Japanese ingredients and cuisine was still to come. Take for example the shirako (fish sperm), a rather exotic delicacy in Japan, with its unusual creamy consistency and rich ‘ocean’ taste.
Other dishes in the line-up included otoro (fatty tuna), hokigai (surf clam) and one of our favourites – the sea eel, which was grilled till tender and with a smattering of sauce that heightened the meat’s flavour.
And then, a real special treat – pulled crab with sea urchin, topped with a fresh grate of wasabi to mark our final raw dish of the night. No need for words here – this was pure decadence, with all the very best ingredients of the night all in one bowl, each precious bite absolute bliss.
As the evening ended off with dessert – matcha pudding, along with a mochi with sour plum paste, and another with white bean paste and burdock, the meal at Hashida Singapore left us won over by its decadence in taste and elegance in presentation. Hashida does exactly what is expected of a top class omakase dinner – putting his all into crafting a spectacular line-up of dishes for a meal that ensures we leave thoroughly satisfied, and one you’ll be keeping in your memories for a long time to come.