Ikkoten is a traditional Kyoto Kaiseki-style omakase nestled in the heart of the Central Business District along Telok Ayer Street. It opened its doors just last week, and at its helm is Executive Chef, Brandon Low, a Singaporean who trained under various Japanese chefs who hail from Kyoto (hence the choice of cuisine).
Above: Ikkoten’s Executive Chef, Brandon Low.
Chef Low is focused; there are just three omakase menus to choose from; one for lunch (Yuki, $138++), and two for dinner (Tsuki, $198++ and Hana, $298++). Along with some delightful Sake recommended by the team, we tried the Hana menu prepared by the young chef.
Sesame Tofu with uni & dashi sauce
Above: Sesame Tofu with uni & dashi sauce.
This has a texture that’s similar to fishball, plus there are strong hints of peanut butter probably owing to the sesame seasoning. It’s not overpowering though, and an interesting starter to the meal. My companion enjoyed this dish very much.
Above: a plate of starters.
Pickled vegetables topped with Shredded bonito flakes
These are crunchy, refreshing, and really opens up the appetite. The Bonito flakes are fresh and tasty. A good addition to this plate of starters.
Summer fruit Fig with egg miso and yuzu
The fig is super soft, almost like it was steamed. It has a melt-in-the-mouth texture, and is a nice mix of sweetness from the fig, and savouriness from the miso. I enjoyed this very much.
Deep fried Broad bean stuffed with homemade fish cake and Baby sweet fish Tempura
The fish is slightly bitter and is an acquired taste. I liked it, and a Senior Editor sitting nearby said that he loved it too. The broad beans have a sweet potato-like texture; which is surprising when you bite into it. There’s an apricot on the side that complements the fried pieces nicely. I suggest you eat it.
Rolled seabream Fishcake cooked in kyoto clear dashi broth
Above: Rolled seabream Fishcake cooked in kyoto clear dashi broth.
The clear broth is very light and pang, while the fish is meaty and can be a meal in itself.
Three line grunt fish rolled with traditional sour plum soy sauce
Above: chef preparing the grunt fish.
Above: the top of the fish gets lightly seared with charcoal.
Above: Three line grunt fish rolled with traditional sour plum soy sauce.
This is my favourite dish of the night. The sour plum soy sauce is delicious; not too sour and not too salty. Topped with fresh uni, the entire dish is well thought-out with all ingredients completing each other.
Bluefin tuna belly surface Charcoal Grilled topped with bubble shoyu
Above: the tuna belly getting seared over charcoal.
Above: chef slicing the fish.
Above: Bluefin tuna belly surface Charcoal Grilled topped with bubble shoyu.
Chef sears the tuna belly and the whole room smells like a delicious barbecue. He tops slices of it with a strange but novel “bubble” soy sauce that is his own secret invention (it jiggles like jelly), and the whole thing comes together in an extremely tasty combination. The tuna is fresh and literally melts in the mouth; a must-try for Ikkoten, and worth your time to visit this restaurant just for this dish. At this point, this tuna has become my favourite dish of the night.
Crispy crystal crackers topped with negitoro and Hokkaido sea urchin with seaweed soy sauce and Crispy rice crackers
Above: Crispy crystal crackers topped with negitoro and Hokkaido sea urchin with seaweed soy sauce and Crispy rice crackers.
There are a lot of things going on in this dish, but wow, it’s another really tasty morsel. From the minced raw tuna to the uni on a bed of a crispy cracker, this is a delightful mix of textures. It’s a crunchy base with a soft top. Nicely planned and truly very delicious. Another win for the chef, and truly worthy of being called his signature dish.
Grilled Japanese Spanish mackerel topped with burnt egg sauce
Above: Grilled Japanese Spanish mackerel topped with burnt egg sauce.
The egg sauce has an almost creamy foie gras-like texture, which juxtaposes the meaty mackerel in a lovely way. It’s a good first hot dish that fills the tummy and isn’t too heavy. Eat the fresh ginger flower stem at the end to refresh the palate — it’s very nice.
By this point of an omakase, I usually feel exceedingly full; sometimes to the point of not being able to eat another bite. But Chef has paced the dishes well and nothing is too overwhelming or filling, and I can actually go on. If you’re not a big eater, take it easy on the earlier soup (Suimono) and don’t finish the fish in it, because that one was meaty and rather filling.
Deep fried grated mountain yam Tofu ball with thicken dashi sauce
Above: Deep fried grated mountain yam Tofu ball with thicken dashi sauce.
Other than the soup, this was the dish I didn’t finish. It’s quite a plain yam and tofu ball, but eat it with the sweet pumpkin and spring onion and the entire thing works. It’s not one of my favourite dishes but I can appreciate why the chef included this plainer dish to clear the palate and not make everything so jelak.
Hay Smoked charcoal A5 Wagyu beef with Sesame ponzu sauce
Above: Hay Smoked charcoal A5 Wagyu beef with Sesame ponzu sauce.
The first thing that hits you with this dish is the smell of peppers. It smells sweet and fragrant and makes you want to reach for them first before the beef. The beef itself is tasty at points but can be more tender. Perhaps it was the cut I had on my plate. A nice overall dish nonetheless.
Umami Cherry blossom shrimp collagen claypot rice with burnt miso soup and homemade pickles
Above: Umami Cherry blossom shrimp collagen claypot rice with burnt miso soup and homemade pickles.
This is a whole meal in itself, but surprisingly manageable after almost a full meal. The rice has that QQ texture and is flavourful in itself. Add in the truffle caviar and gold dust, and this makes one truly decadent dish. This is also the first time I’m trying a burnt miso soup; it has a slightly bitter aftertaste, which I think is quite nice.
Shizuoka crown melon , kyoho Grape and muscat Grape
Above: fruit dessert plate.
You can’t go wrong with fresh Japanese fruits. Enjoy these from “less sweet to the sweetest” on your plate. Ask the Chef where to start and end.
Finished off with traditional tea ceremony style Matcha
Above: hot matcha tea.
Both matcha and hojicha are served at the end to close the meal. These are prepared traditional tea ceremony style, and it’s delightful to watch them being prepared, and then to sip on their goodness at the end of a full meal.
If you work in the CBD, this is a good place to hold a business lunch (if you don’t need to deal with traffic and can just walk over). No one says no to a quality omakase, and it’s one way to impress the person you’re trying to woo. Ikkoten and its Executive Chef have promise, and with the first round of dishes we’ve had tonight, there are hits and misses but we’re overall impressed and satisfied.
Ikkoten is located at 86 Telok Ayer Street, Singapore 048469. Opens Mon-Sat for lunch (12-230pm) and dinner (7-1030pm). CLICK HERE for online reservations.