Best Omakase Experiences In Southeast Asia

Level up your Japanese dining game at these top-notch restaurants.
Monday 6 January 2020

Omakase literally translated is, “to entrust yourself in the hands of another”.

We discover the top omakase dining spots where you can leave yourself in the hands of the top chefs who offer the very best seasonal ingredients of the moment.

Taka 

The omakase menu at Taka will set your heart fluttering and that’s not just from the four-digit price mark that could probably get you a one-way ticket to Japan. What you’ll experience is an elevated omakase dining experience that revels in its high standards by using the most premium ingredients and a respect for traditional methods of crafting sushi.

Taka - sushi

The first thing you’ll notice is the generous portion of sushi, where each is made with their signature airy Japanese rice. Pay close attention, and you’ll notice the sushi will “sink” a few seconds after it lands on your plate.

This is why the restaurant recommends that you follow its “10 seconds golden rule” of placing the entire piece of sushi in your mouth within 10 seconds when it arrives on your plate, so you can savour the textures of each grain of rice. The sushi is also served at a certain temperature to ensure the best flavours of the fish are highlighted. If anything, we’re convinced that sushi making is the perfect combination of art and science.

The grilled Japanese seaperch is another main feature, simple yet bursting with flavour. Meanwhile, Chef Hirohisa Suzuki says his favourite ingredient to work with at the moment has to be the Japanese sardine and mackerel, which he serves simply as a sushi dish.

Omakase dining shouldn’t be rushed. Taka’s serene and refined interior makes you want to take your time and reflect on life as you sit at the restaurant’s one of a kind 300-year-old Hinoki wood counter. The counter is not only a grand sight, it is also said to be a natural aroma diffuser that helps neutralise any fishy odours. For more exclusive affairs, there are also private and VIP rooms to choose from.

Address: Level 3A The St. Regis Kuala Lumpur, No 6 Jalan Stesen Sentral 2Kuala Lumpur Sentral50470 Kuala Lumpur

Tel: +6012 330 3600

Sushi Ryu

Located in the modern business hub of Platinum Park near KLCC, Sushi Ryu was born from the need for an elevated omakase experience, serving premium ingredients combined with a clever concept offering a unique setting for diners to immerse in the ultimate dining experience.

As a result, Sushi Ryu is a destination that isn’t afraid to go against the grain when it comes to their menu. The Ume menu also comes with add-ons such as seasonal truffles, foie gras or caviar. Those with a big appetite can opt for either a hand roll or a rice bowl as an add-on to their meal. A must-try is the signature mini wagyu beef don that comes with melt-in-your-mouth pieces of wagyu, topped off with a dash of caviar in a hearty rice bowl serving.

Their fresh sashimi is served with the right consistency of wasabi and soy sauce to bring out the best flavour of each fish. A classic dish has to be the pacific sanma sashimi, a fish that may be a regular dish in most Japanese restaurants, but here, the sanma is served raw in the simplest of ways, showing that the chefs here know what they’re doing. Top off the meal with not one, but two servings of seasonal dessert. The beancurd pudding offers the perfect amount of sweetness to counter the indulgent meal.

Address: Platinum ParkPersiaran KLCC, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 50088 Kuala Lumpur

Tel: +603 2181 1533

Sushi Hinata

Tucked away in Bukit Bintang, this hidden gem is a well-kept secret of residents nearby and those who know where to get the best sashimi in town. Sushi Hinata is recognised for using 10-day aged fish, a method known to get the most flavours and they’ve managed to retain their expertise in that area.

IMG_0163 - sushi

Master Chef Eijii serves up a storm while he remains attentive to your needs. “Other restaurants decide the contents of their omakase menu on a monthly basis, but here the menu varies every single day. We make it possible to serve a different menu every day for every customer,” he says.

The restaurant strives to offer the optimum dining experience for their clientele; Master Chef Eijii says he liaises with his broker almost every morning to ensure he gets the best ingredients directly from Japan. “It’s a long duration and distance for the fish, which are caught by fishermen, sent to the Japanese fish markets and flown in directly to Kuala Lumpur from Hinata. In my opinion, great omakase is made up by all the people involved in the process from the sea to the table,” he says.

If you are lucky enough, try the Shirako or fish sperm, a delicacy that is only in season towards the end of the year. Be sure to savour the freshness of their sushi dishes; some of our favourites are the flounder, squid and fatty tuna. Wash it down with some sake from their small but carefully curated selection that serves as the perfect accompaniment to their menu.

Address: A-0-1 Ground Floor St. Mary Residence, No 1 Jalan Tengah50450 Kuala Lumpur

Tel: +603 2022 1349

Shoukouwa

With two Michelin stars to its name, Shoukouwa in Singapore offers authentic edomae sushi directly from Ginza, Tokyo. The restaurant adheres to the true edomae sushi tradition of preparing sushi with the right consistency of rice vinegar, wasabi and soy sauce using ingredients flown daily from the celebrated Toyosu Market in Tokyo.

Shoukouwa_Junsai - sushi

The restaurant suggests that “the art of fine sushi is one that is contemplative and considered, like a Zen expression.” Once you’re seated at the eight-seat counter seat, you’ll understand what they mean by this. The intimate setting lets you truly discover and appreciate the art of sushi making.

The restaurant went through an extensive renovation earlier this year by acclaimed designer Tomoyuki Hisano, who has a string of Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant designs to his name. The interiors are inspired by the “wabi-sabi” or beauty in simplicity concept; this philosophy is reflected in its menus as well. The restaurant offers three omakase menus – the Mio, Miyabi and the Hana – each showcasing the tantalising nature of every ingredient used, catering to different appetites and taste buds. If you’re a true aficionado, the Hana menu is a must-try; it showcases the very best seasonal ingredients as the chefs take you through the course, using all their culinary mastery to bring you the best dining experience.

Address: 1 Fullerton Rd, #02-02A One Fullerton, Singapore 049213

Tel: +65 6423 9939

The Gyu Bar

While most omakase menus showcase the best of what the seas have to offer, The Gyu Bar focuses on the fruits of the land. Located in the posh district of Steven’s Road in Singapore, meat lovers will revel in their selection of prime cuts and the best wagyu in town. Their knowledge of beef sets them apart from other yakiniku restaurants.

The Gyu Bar-Yakiniku - sushi

The restaurant is known to spoil diners with a variety of premium cuts. A good place to discover rare cuts is through the omakase beef platter that comes with five beef cuts of the day. They are known to purchase entire cows, particularly of the Kumamoto Wa-oh breed from Japan where the meat is then chilled rather than frozen to preserve the flavour and texture.

The modern interior offers a nice, cosy atmosphere that’s a different take from traditional Japanese restaurants and makes for a good spot for those lengthy, indulgent meals and a fantastic spot to impress your date or a business associate.

Address: 30 #01-08 Stevens Rd, Singapore 257840

Tel: +65 6732 0702

Tenko Omakase

Tenko restaurant, housed inside the Pullman Bangkok King Power, is a must-try destination for omakase lovers. It is helmed by Chef Goji Kobayashi, who formerly helmed a one-star Michelin restaurant in San Francisco, the United States.

Their fish are flown from Toyosu market in Tokyo several times a week and unlike other menus, they also offer tempura, teriyaki and even vegan dishes if you fancy that.

DSC_4468 - sushi

Their carefully curated seasonal menu offers hand-picked ingredients selected by artisanal producers exclusively for the restaurant. Some of their special ingredients include the Takeshima A4 wagyu beef, red sea urchin, and rice from Niigata.

Some dishes are served with a modern flair but one thing Tenko does best is remaining true to the centuries-old Japanese methods of sushi making. The setting is just as lovely as its fresh, seasonal menu. Set in the stand-alone structure of a botanic garden with its serene koi ponds and greens, it makes a great escape from the hectic city of Bangkok. The detail can be seen down to its precious handpicked ceramic plates, all works of art by craftsmen and potters in Japan.

Address: Pullman Bangkok King Power, 8/2 Rang Nam Alley, Thanon Phaya Thai, Ratchathewi, Bangkok 10400

Tel: +66 2 680 9999

This article is an excerpt from UNRESERVED’s November 2019 issue from the article Seasonal Delights.