Joo Chiat just went upmarket with newcomer Maeda on the scene. They tout themselves to be Omakase/Kaiseki specialists. But if you want something off the menu, the selection didn't look too shabby. While more pricey than Wahiro on the other side of Joo Chiat, it is not a bad alternative. It's a tad more formal in feel, quiet although like all true Singaporeans, it's not necessarily a dress up place, although our appropriately friendly yet professional server had a jacket on.
Maeda is helmed by young chef Maeda, who I understand has gone into partnership with the guy behind the wildly successful Aston's group. The chef seemed quiet and shy but willing to indulge in a word or 2, while staying focused on the task at hand of feeding his customers and making sure they are happy.
Since it was our first time, Mr. Server suggested we go with the Chef's choice, or Omakase. I ordered a Calpis Soda (they get brownie points for stocking this!) and happily played along, while B ordered a Nigorizake or unfiltered Sake, which is cloudy when shaken before serving.
|Top down: Canadian Oyster with Ponzu, Clam Salad, Blood Tuna|
The clam salad was served in the style of a Japanese potato salad, only not as heavy. The clams were cooked just right and a surprisingly good platform to carry the creamy Japanese mayo.
|Close up of the Blood Tuna|
|Sashimi: Salmon, Vinegared Mackeral, Yellowtail, Seared Toro, Scallop|
|Japanese Garlic and Shisito topped with Mentaiko Mayonaise|
|Steamed Bamboo with Sweet Miso|
|Steamed Broad Beans or Soramame|
|Deep fried Kurobuta pork slice with sugar snaps|
|Chopped Tuna Belly on Rice|
That left absolutely no room for dessert so thankfully, dessert was a paltry choice of green tea or sesame ice creams, which I could do without.
For the price, I thought we could have had a little more exciting stuff, but it's a period where I'm more forgiving since supplies are a challenge for Japanese restaurants. Hopefully as Japan recovers from the disaster and control the damage from the reactors to crops and produce, that we can finally enjoy Japan's finest again.
I would visit Maeda again with the hope that there is more to Chef Maeda's repertoire. What we got was decent but may be a little pricey for the area. If it is to sustain its pricing, differentiation wold be necessary especially since the same type of course at Wahiro would only be at about 60% of the price. Of course, the skills of the young Malaysian chef at Wahiro is not at the level of Chef Maeda but if sashimi is only one course (albeit an important one), query if most folks would pay Maeda prices.
467 Joo Chiat Road