Shinji by Kanesaka
Posted April 14, 2013on:
Those in the Japanese dining scene would have probably known of Shinji by now; many food reviews have already been written about it. And most of those reviews, if not all, indicate that the sushi at Shinji is one of the best in Singapore now.
So I wasn’t really interested in comparing Shinji to the other establishments such as Aoki, Tatsuya, etc. I had something else in mind – comparing Shinji to Sushi Saito. If you haven’t heard of Saito before, it’s a 3-star Michelin sushi restaurant in Tokyo which I reviewed here.
It might be a bit unfair to compare them like that, but then again Shinji was set up by Kanesaka-san, who runs the 2-star Sushi Kanesaka in Ginza. Surely the idea was to bring some of that quality over here as well, since Shinji is Kanesaka-san’s first venture outside of Japan.
And from what I’ve read1, it seems like Saito-san was mentored by Kanesaka-san, which owns a stake in Sushi Saito, and they both share the same suppliers. If you read my Sushi Saito review and compare to this one, you’ll also see the strong similarities.
Stepping inside, the ambience really reminded me of the higher-end sushi restaurants in Tokyo; the quiet zen feel of muted soft wooden tones and matte cotton white formed the elegant aesthetic of Shinji.
The service was also excellent; probably the best service I’ve enjoyed locally since eating at Waku Ghin. They gave me a small box to put my bag on so that it wouldn’t touch the floor and even made a mini “cushion” out of napkins for me to put my camera!
The lunch menu of Shinji is very simple as well, they only offer the Setsugetsuka Sushi Course Sets and an Omakase Special. As this was my first time at Shinji, I decided to go with the Hana set, a 9 piece nigiri sushi set.
Appetizer – shredded ginger flowers, seaweed and tuna
Chutoro (Fatty tuna belly)
Otoro (Very fatty tuna belly)
Aji (Horse mackerel)
Maguro zuke (Marinated tuna)
Kuruma ebi (Tiger prawn)
Anago (Conger eel)
Tekka maki (Tuna rolls)
Dessert – pumpkin puree with some red beans at the bottom
The verdict? Well Shinji is probably the best sushi I’ve had in Singapore. The neta was incredibly fresh and the shari was well-made, with a good flavour to it.
However, Shinji’s sushi was nowhere near close to that of Saito’s sushi. There was a distinct difference in the quality and flavours in both the neta and shari, and considering the shari is 80% of the sushi, the difference was made to be even more obvious.
But for all that difference, I’m definitely returning to Shinji again for my sushi fix, because there’s no way I’m paying for a ticket to Tokyo every time I want to eat good sushi. Still, it really did feel for a moment that I was back in Japan…
Shinji by Kanesaka
1 Beach Road, #02-20
Tel: +65 6338 6131