One of the blogs that I follow quite religiously is The Travelling Hungryboy which is run by American-Asian Brian Ma, and his brand of writing is very candid and informal which makes it fun to read. He also updates very regularly, which is a particularly important trait for a food blogger. He recommended "Sakari Sushi Restaurant" as having a very good chirashi, so I decided to pop by on my day off - one day after coming back from Japan - to see what the hype is all about.
But the first time I came, I didn't have the chirashi; I was blown away by the awesome sushi at Sushi Tokami (which you can read my review here), so I wanted to see what Singapore could offer. I guess perhaps expectations should be toned down due to the quality of the fish, but I wanted to see what this place was about. So I said to Chef Paul (also known as "Sushi Paul"): Omakase please!
We started off with squid (ika) - good texture, chewy but not being too firm. The meal was off to a good start. I would have preferred more vinegar in the rice but that's always a matter of personal preference and I know Singaporeans don't like too vinegared rice.
Next up, a fish which had a gelatinous crunchy texture, perfumed with some yuzu and ikura. A good dish though I wish I could still recall its name! Never mind. It was good.
We were then served with a kampachi (or was it hamachi - my memory is failing) which was quite good; flavourful.
The kohada was well-prepared, flavourful, tasty - with good fish oils.
I particularly enjoyed the shako (or mantis shrimp), which had great crustacean flavour, very prawny. After all it's a giant prawn - it had a good seafood flavour.
Next up - sea eel (anago), which had good flavour; certainly well-seasoned.
We were then served with negitoro, seasoned with some spring onions. A pretty flavourful dish, good quality of tuna.
And we ended off with some bonito with ginger. Good.
Overall, the sushi omakase at Sakari Sushi was pretty good, although I think the price was relatively high especially for lunch, if we were just to eat the sushi omakase alone. I guess you always pay a premium for omakase anyway. Certain pieces - like the squilla (shako) and the anago - were very good, quite comparable to what you will get in Japan. I thought the rice could have been more flavourful as I do appreciate more flavour in sushi rice, to pair with fish. But then again I think it would make much more sense to do dinner - if we are eating sushi omakase - rather than for lunch, since a comparative sushi omakase at Shinji or Hashida would set you back S$300 per person.
Now, moving on to the chirashi don, which I had on a subsequent occasion. It was good! A small bowl - almost a miniature Aoki bowl but at 2/5 of the price, But it was chockful of ingredients that you would not normally see in a chirashi don, for example - Kohada. Very fresh fish, a good assortment; and you could tell that the fish was of a much higher grade than some of the other places. And at S$22 (average) - it was good value. I would come back for the chirashi don lunch, certainly. This for me is a 8/10.
As you will note from the photos, I have had the chirashi a few times. Haha.
The ambience of Sakari is quite "zen" - there are lots of bricks on the wall and a pleasant woody atmosphere throughout. I guess, as it's not so popular yet, it's a good place for a pleasant conversation.