The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. The wisdom of this old adage is not lost on the banks seeking to reward the loyalty of their clients. DBS treats their treasured customers at Singapore Changi airport where the two exclusive Asia Treasures lounges feed the customers before they fly. Privileged banking customers of United Overseas Bank get birthday treats. Those who meet some thresholds get a dinner at a top sushi restaurant for a UOB birthday treat. A dinner for two at Shinji by Kanesaka. Those of us who do not meet their criteria can still enjoy the experience as a dining companion. I had dinner at Shinji Carlton Hotel which is the newer of the two Shinji restaurants in Singapore. The other one is at St Regis Hotel. The Raffles Hotel outlet has closed.
The external facade of Shinji Carlton Hotel is somber with a hint of avant garde. It does add to the anticipation as we approached the restaurant. Once inside, a small grill provides an initial sneak peak into the restaurant itself. Despite the modern exterior, the restaurant itself was very traditional. Everything was top grade (the exquisite wooden counter top in particular), but it was a mild disappointment as it looked so similar to the other Shinji restaurants in Singapore.
Diners turning up for their UOB birthday treat are served a fixed course omakase menu prepared for them. Just sit and wait to be fed. There was no decision to be made, other than alcoholic drinks which are separately charged. A jovial young sushi chef introduced himself to us and soon the dinner started with a couple of appetizers.
Next was a series of sashimi dishes. I can’t remember their descriptions but the taste of the sea urchin is still fresh on my mind.
A dish of pickles signalled the end of the sashimi segment. What followed was another of the highlights of the evening – lightly cooked barracuda. The taste of the fish and the broth were pure and clean.
More raw fish items – this time in the form of sushi. The pieces were modest in size and we ate them as fast as the chef could make them. All of them very good, but my favourite was still the one with sea urchin topping. I wonder how does a creature living in salt water get its natural sweet flavour.
The appearance of the sushi mat was a sad moment. It signalled the impending end of the meal. Each person gets a roll of simple tuna maki sushi, cut into three pieces.
The final item of the UOB birthday treat at Shinji Carlton Hotel was another memorable piece – the super sweet Japanese melon. This was a wonderful end to the meal. The Shinji by Kanesaka restaurant setting was serious, but the atmosphere was lightened up by the friendly disposition of the sushi chefs.
Overall Rating: 5 TOPs
Shinji Carlton Hotel
76 Bras Basah Road, Lobby Floor
Lunch: 12pm to 3pm (last order at 2pm)
Dinner: 6pm to 10.30pm (last order at 9pm)
Closed on Sundays
Reservations : +65 6338 6131
Nearby MRT Stations : City Hall, Bras Basah
The Ordinary Patrons | Real Dining Experience of Ordinary People
an independent Singapore food blog