There are some places that offer true, authentic, good value-for-money food, such as my favourite Teppei, or Chikuwa Tei, or Aoki's set lunch; places that don't try to rip you off, but offers good value for what you're paying.
One place where I certainly did not find that at was at Shinzo Japanese Cuisine operated by Lawrence Chia, brother of Ronnie Chia of Tatsuya.
To cut the long story short, we were in a party of about 10 or more people. Some of them ordered the most expensive omakase set which I understand to be about S$190 per pax. On a budget, I opted for the S$167 (which is, in my opinion, pretty expensive). So, I expected to eat until I dropped - or at least; to have a variety of foods - in various styles - which would also leave me feeling satisfied.
I was so wrong.
To be fair to Lawrence, it started off on an alright note. We were presented with some fish liver tofu which was alright - although the liver taste could have been stronger.
The next course was sashimi - and this was not bad; there was sea bream with truffled Japanese seaweed, one piece of chutoro which was quite heavenly, a yellowtail, and an ebi. Not bad - and quite delightfully presented.
We moved on to a plate of fish - this was just lightly seasoned and grilled, to be eaten with some radish and lemon. I thought to myself - this was alright.
And then - some Japanese eggplant which came in a creamy sauce. Not bad, although the eggplant seemed to be overwhelmed by the sauce and I could hardly taste the sweetness.
And after that - there was just course after course of sushi; and that was it. If you really wanted to know what was served:
Okay, I mean - it seems to be alot of fish - and this would have been pretty awesome if I were eating a sushi omakase. But when the chefs were feeding those who ordered the S$190 sets all the good stuff such as snow crab, a whole sea urchin, and they finished off with more sushi, fried rice, noodles, etc - so that they were satiated, I was thinking; hey! I'm not full! Where's the next dish! Where's my food! Where's - some noodles or something? Hell, you could give me a plate of lowly salmon maki and I'd be happy! What...but no - there's no other food left. No fried rice, no ramen, no soba, no nothing.
Certainly there were perhaps 10 pieces of sushi and that's great. Wow. But hey, seriously, I expected better for that kind of price.
No wonder Teppei is such a wonderful place - for S$70 I ate like a king. For S$80 - course after course. In contrast, Shinzo's food may be refined especially the sushi, but it left me high and dry. In the end, I walked over to BK Eating House and had a bowl of meesua-tar. Man, I was happy. I finally had a smile on my face.
Come on, I know that food costs in Singapore are high and all that, and the cost price of the food that you gave to us at the dinner is probably about S$50 at most. And I pay S$100++ for your service? Hell no.
Sorry, not going back. There are tons of other good Japanese places that I'd rather spend my money on.