Makansutra: Brave new world of omakase at Puri-Puri
Omakase meal at Puri-Puri is delightful
We are into a brand new decade, and as always, we look forward to moving bravely ahead.
So I want to tell the tale of this brave omakase meal with a bold twist, made exciting yet agreeable in so many ways.
At Puri-Puri, chef Greg Lee serves kaisen bowls in a mixed development in Beach Road, but you can call ahead for an omakase meal.
Give him at least 10 days' notice to design it, with prices from $60.
For our meal ($100 a person, minimum of four), chef Greg doled out some stunning surprises with influences from the US and Korea.
First up is the Applewood-smoked Quail Egg with Gold Flakes and Sour Cream that is prettily set on wooden spoons.
The smokiness is arresting. It forces you to bite into the moist yolk encircled by the smokey goodness.
It frames the next bite - Wai San (Japanese Mountain Yam) with Fish Roe and Uni - nicely. The slippery and crunchy sweet yam, coupled with the umami-laden sea urchin and touched by the ocean saltiness of the roe, is such a delight.
Just a couple of bites are enough to enjoy the pleasure he puts out.
Of course, things will not be the same without his fresh and delightfully simple sashimi platter - complete with otoro, sweet ebi, salmon belly, hotate and tuna.
Then a shocker arrives - the tara shirako. This is the third time I am trying cod sperm sac and chef Greg serves it with sea grapes.
This one-ups pig's brain when it comes to that mushy, creamy sensation.
The sea grapes are a nice touch with the yuzu sauce they sit on.
The next stunner is the chawanmushi, and the eye-opener is not just the pan-seared foie gras that sits above, but the sweet chestnut cream wedged between with fish roe atop.
If you can imagine what I just described, you will understand why I want to go back for more of this.
The sixth dish - and by now I am panting - is the roasted Marlin Collar with Japanese White Corn, Radish and Lemon. The collar of the fish is incredibly juicy and how can it not go well with those sweet little corn kernels lifted by zesty lemon.
The momentum builds as next on offer is a humble shabu-shabu set, served individually and cooked for you (so you will not smell like his kitchen after the meal).
The shiitake mushroom, kurobuta pork and glass noodle with tofu are such a charming antithesis to the rich bites earlier, we actually yearn for it.
The final sweet winning touch is the Yuzu Cheesecake with Graham Cracker base, Honey Jelly, Fruits and Walnut. They all contradicted one another in taste, texture and colour, yet the combination is what my palate adores.
And here is the twist.
Chef Greg has never been to Japan and honed his skills working at local Japanese restaurants over the last decade. He even ran a hawker stall two years back.
He feels bold and confident enough to go it alone because he loves Japanese food and local foodies are always craving for more of it.
Here is to a bold, brave and fresh new year.
367 Beach Road
Opens 11.30am to 9.30pm