While the dining concept of omakase is not necessarily a groundbreaking one here in Singapore, the idea that it can be done without the stuffiness often pegged to it is something rarely seen. Stepping up to the plate is Cho Omakase, an intimately decorated Japanese dining stop that makes for a tranquil respite amidst the bustle of the CBD.
For the uninitiated, the concept of omakase is that you’re leaving your gastronomic experience in the able hands of the chef – who, at Cho Omakase, would be Chef Donny Tan. What this means is that you’ll get inspired dishes that are off-menu, allowing the chef to flex their culinary flair to present you with a fresh dining experience. It makes for an exciting approach to Japanese dining, although, in more than a few occasions, it might exclude the diners on a budget. Thankfully, Cho Omakase aims to bridge that gap with the introduction of their new set lunches. Making use of the freshest ingredients that one would expect to feast on in an omakase setting, the dishes on offer scrimp on nothing to offer you the very best in flavours and textures.
Take, for example, the Bara Chirashi ($18.80), which sees fresh fish flown in twice a week from Japan, prepared by hand in front of you, and nestled atop a bed of fluffy sushi rice. With a mix of maguro, Hamachi, salmon and a seasonal fish that’s diced and plated with avocados, cucumbers and tamago, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to taste the light crunchiness of the burdock root that rounds off this dish. It’s wholly satisfying and surprisingly filling for lunch.
The Zaku Don ($15.80) is another memorable plate that’ll appeal to lovers of a good pork bowl. Working with Kurobuta pork, Chef Tan braises the meat for eight hours in a broth that’s sweetened with Okinawan sugar. The pork belly is then plated with a generous portion of sushi rice, and a liberal amount of broth to compliment. Because of the time spent braising the meat, each piece of pork has a melt-in-your-mouth consistency, while retaining its rich sweetness along with tender fat and skin bits.
Lovers of unagi need to order an Unagi Special ($21.80) to get a sampling of Chef Tan’s unique take on omakase dining. The dish presents unagi prepared in three ways, each seeking to enhance or contrast the flavour of the unagi. The first way is the classic method of unagi preparation, where the meat is grilled and served with a light, sweet sauce. The second iteration sees the unagi wrapped in a lightly charred tamago omelette, and the last method places unagi slices in a light vinegar-based sauce that comes with seaweed and thinly sliced cucumbers.
All of Cho Omakase’s set lunches come with an appetiser, salad, chawanmushi, miso soup, pickles and dessert, and the menu undergoes a change every two to three months to ensure that you are offered the freshest produce of the season.
14 Lorong Telok, Singapore 049027
Mondays to Saturdays
Lunch – 12pm to 3pm
Dinner – 6pm to 10pm
Text Aaron Kok
Images Cho Omakase