Waku Ghin is hands down the best restaurant I’ve been to in Singapore. They’re also incredibly expensive. Dinner is a SGD 450++ affair which puts it close to Gaggan’s price tag. I contemplated long and hard before deciding to check out their relatively tamer SGD 180++ executive 5-course lunch. They recently started lunch service on Fridays that offers the same sit-down private teppanyaki experience with less courses. It’s a good way to get a preview of what they’re all about. It’s also a lot easier on the wallet at approximately half the dinner cost.
Waku Ghin has 2 Michelin stars and they’re rated 23rd on Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants. The service here is impeccable. Waiters and waitresses are friendly and accommodating. I was given a selection of magazines to browse through when they saw I was a solo diner. I thought that was a nice touch, even though people tend to prefer their smartphones nowadays. Doors are swung open for you as soon as you approach and your chair is pulled back for you when you need to go to the toilet.
You’re seated at The Bar at Waku Ghin until the teppanyaki rooms are ready. Each room sits 4-5 customers and you have your own private chef to cook your meal. All the proteins like lobster and wagyu steak is cooked to order by your teppanyaki chef so it comes to you freshly made. Our chef is Japanese but he has a reasonable command of the English language from working in the main Tetsuya’s Restaurant in Sydney.
Lunch started with Salad of the Sea. This is a take on their famous botan shrimp, Ossetra caviar and uni dish in the form of sushi. There are two possible variations on this for lunch – either sushi or cold pasta. Ossetra caviar is the most prized and expensive type of caviar from the sturgeon – real caviar! The chef told me he also put ume plum they pickled in-house into the sushi to cut through the rich flavors. It works so well! Beautiful and balanced. The sweet botan shrimp combines with the salty caviar and creamy uni for a flavor explosion in your mouth. It’s perfection!
There’s also sashimi of Tasmanian ocean trout, Japanese snapper, squid and wakame (underneath the radish) as a palate cleanser. The squid is insanely creamy and has great texture. It’s marinated in sweet, acidic sauce. That’s my favorite after the shrimp + caviar + uni bite.
Next up is Grilled Anago with Foie Gras, Confit of Zucchini and Sansho. The chef freshly grated wasabi from a wasabi rhizome to put inside. This is a very intense dish. Anago cooked Japanese style is already very rich and it’s paired with foie gras and a confit (cooked in fat) vegetable. Very nicely done but not for the faint of heart. So fatty. So yums. An excellent heavy dish to contrast with the previous lighter flavors.
The chef started warming a concoction in a small sauce pot on the teppan grill. He said this was the famous Ghin Bouillabaisse made from 22 different types of fish (!!!).
This delicious broth is the base for a dish of lobster from Canada and scallops from Japan. The claw of the Canadian lobster was lovingly grilled and the chubby rotund scallops were given a quick sear before being plated with the bouillabaisse.
This dish is out of control! Premium seafood ingredients paired with a broth simmered for 3 days with 22 kinds of fish. It’s mental! Ghin Bouillabaisse tastes like an umami bomb on your palate. The Canadian lobster is naturally sweet and the incredibly plump scallops are tender and yummy. I hardly ever see scallops of these size and they’re Japanese scallops, which are the highest quality and sweetest in the world. The complex soup goes so well with the crusty bread they provided. I used it to soak up every single drop from my bowl.
Japanese A5 Ohmi Wagyu from Shiga Prefecture with Wasabi and Citrus Soy. Ohmi wagyu is one of the Japan top 3 wagyu together with Kobe and Matsuzaka. This is very premium stuff! It has certification which states the provenance of the cow and their ancestor details. The chef showed us the beautifully marbled piece of Japanese wagyu before he cooked it.
This is a very generous portion bigger and thicker than a deck of playing cards! It’s seared on the teppanyaki Japanese style in the form of thick cubes. This is not fake Australian wagyu bred from Japanese cows. It’s not only real A5 grade Japanese wagyu from Japan, it’s from an exclusive branded breed.
I really enjoyed wagyu steak. It’s incredibly fatty and delicious. Truly melt-in-your-mouth. But here’s an unpopular view – I don’t fancy eating large quantities of heavily marbled wagyu. This is a personal preference. I can’t eat lots of fatty pork belly as well, while some people can happily destroy a whole pork trotter. I liked it, but this portion size is too much of a good thing.
The Ohmi A5 wagyu was served with maitake mushroom rice and a soy based dipping sauce. There was also a plate of palate cleansing greens to help with the rich flavors. The mushroom rice was excellent – savory and umami. I asked what maitake mushrooms were and the chef brought a whole colony out from the kitchen!
They import this entire thing from Nagano in Japan! That’s why it costs so much to eat here.
We were guided to a lounge area after the savory courses so we can have dessert overlooking the marina. This is Apricot Seed Panna Cotta with Apricot Jam and Honey Ice Cream. It’s the fucking bomb! I love the honey ice cream. This is a more delicate and acidic dessert that goes well with the heavy meal. I prefer fruit based desserts to chocolate ones.
There’s also complimentary green tea to go with your dessert. It’s exceedingly fragrant and high quality.
I may have erroneously stated that it was my birthday when I made the reservation. The waitress came up with a nice birthday plate featuring Chocolate Mousse with Vanilla and Macadamia. I think the cake is from Patisserie Platine by Waku Ghin downstairs. It has a crispy gianduja (chocolate-hazelnut) base. I’ve only eaten this texture once before in an expensive gianduja cake my ex bought me. Delicious!
Waku Ghin’s Executive 5-course Lunch ended with a selection of petit fours. The yuzu jelly was shockingly sour. It made not just my lips, but my whole face pucker! Intense. Hazelnut meringue was very good. I liked that. Chocolate truffle with champagne was the best – a nice alcoholic truffle made with reduced and condensed champagne. Luxurious! They’re all made in-house.
I was presented with the menu at the end. The front cover even had a birthday wish and the date inscripted.
I truly enjoyed my meal at Waku Ghin. This is the best Michelin starred restaurant I’ve eaten at in Singapore. The service is faultless. The food is delicious and uses superior ingredients and lengthy cooking techniques. It’s a bit expensive for lunch but I thought the SGD 212 (RM 645) bill was a fair price. I highly recommend Waku Ghin. It whetted my appetite for the longer dinner course. I’ll definitely be back but at that price, I’ll have to find a special occasion to splurge on. Maybe it’ll even be my real birthday. Haha.