Keyaki (which opened in 1986) has won many awards among them the Best Restaurant in Singapore in 1987, 1991, 2003-6 and 2010 and is the #1 ranked Japanese restaurant in Singapore (there are 174 japanese restaurants on the island alone!). The Guilty Stomach has frequented it many times and each time come away enthralled by the whole experience.
To get to the restaurant entrance you have to walk through a beautifully manicured and calming japanes garden and readies you in many ways for the meal that awaits you. Whether it is the patterns on the sand or the bridge across the pond or the bonsai trimmed paths or the pond that borders the full length of the restaurant brimming with fat and happy carp fish, it all works well as a starter.
The elegant Genta Yamashita (the manager) bows to greet you along with his ever-present team. On the right hand side is a teppanyaki grill (pity you have to sit with your back to the wonderful gardens) and on the left hand side is the large restaurant space and of course the small sushi bar on the far corner where busy chefs do their magic.
The Kaiseki is not dissimilar to the degustation menus of western restaurants. In Keyaki there is a 8 course version, 10 course and 12 course version each with very different options. Prices range from SD 130-180. Not bad for top end cuisine.
Highlights for the one we selected included a series of exquisite appetizers to wet the appetite including seaweed topped with sea urchins, Tobiko egg, boiled octopus with mustard miso, white radish wrapped sweet prawn, duck with asparagus and a chicken/pumpkin ‘terrine’. Following the appetizers there was a clear clam soup, Shahimi (blue fin tuna, yellow tail and another interesting clam I had not seen before), Sushi, followed by steamed wagyu beef with pnsu sauce, chilled noodles and green tea cheesecake.
Its wine list has a great selection of French, Italian and New World wines. It also has an extensive sake list (with a lovely sparking sake from Hyogo) including a shoshu list (Japanese vodka)
The Guilty Stomach advocates that we step up our support of Japanese restaurants. The asian public has sadly kept away from Japanese restaurants over the last month following the nuclear power disaster in Japan after the tsunami, in their concern about food contamination. This is unfounded given the tough rules that Singapore quickly put in place for food imports from Japan. The guilty stomach believes that going Japanese is the best way to support Japan get back on its feet.
Keyaki is situated in the ‘garden floor’ (4th floor) of the Pan Pacific Hotel, Marina Square, Singapore