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Chi Kinjo: Japanese Dining, Highballs, And A Side Of Noir

Step into this modern-sushi and highball den, and be entranced by its riveting noir narrative.

Photo: Chi Kinjo

Chi Kinjo is Coterie Concepts’ latest venture, and the newest character added to their drama-worthy narrative involving Sum Yi Tai Bar & Restaurant, Mona Lounge, and Eliza. A modern-sushi bar and highball den, Chi Kinjo is also the daughter of an influential Japanese man caught in a dilemma between love and family. Set during the time in Kyoto when chaos was the mandate and danger was foretold, Chi Kinjo is an intimate yet lively sushi and izakaya restaurant and basement bar, with its noir narrative reflected in the dark-accented Oriental decor.

Photo: Chi Kinjo

In this serene space along Telok Ayer, Chef Lamley Chua brings together creative and classic Japanese dishes perfect for a getaway from the bustle of the city. Try innovative dishes like the Sushi Sandwich (S$8 or S$12), or the selection of lunch boxes (S$18) for a quick and convenient lunch on-the-go. These dishes are also available for dine-in!

Photo: Chi Kinjo

For starters, we loved the Kaffir Lime Karaage (S$15++), a fusion bar bite of deep-fried chicken thigh pieces sprinkled with dried nori and deliciously perfumed with the citrusy scent of kaffir lime. Unlike some karaage we’ve had that are mostly skin and batter, and hardly any chicken, Chef Lamley’s karaage did not fall into that pit, and was so very addictive! Don’t forget to dip your karaage into the charred red pepper mayo on the side – it really heightens the flavour! Or, if you are so inclined, order a pint of beer or a bottle of sake to go with these moreish bites.

Photo: Chi Kinjo

Another highlight would be the Ming Dynasty Egg Tofu (S$12++): silky homemade tofu topped with crab and a rich century egg sauce, creating a delicate balance of textures and flavours.

If you spend a lot of time scrolling through foodie Instagram pages like us, you’ve probably heard of sushi burritos, originating from the USA. The Sushi Sandwich (S$8 / S$12) is Chef Lamley’s latest creation; a “sandwich” for all you sushi lovers out there, that fuses together cultures and flavours. Try the Asian Prawn Cocktail Sushi Sandwich, made with a locally-inspired filling of tiger prawns, chili shrimp paste, cucumbers and lettuce; or the Sake Sunrise Sushi Sandwich consisting of cured salmon, tobiko, cheese, avocado and lettuce if you prefer salmon instead.

The lunch menu also includes heartier options with their modernised bento boxes! We loved the classic Chirashi Box (S$18++), a generous bowl of marinated assorted sashimi on sushi rice, topped with a flavourful yuzu sauce and served with chawanmushi on the side.

For those who prefer a meatier option, go for the Bento Box (S$18++): fragrant ume rice, spinach with Caesar dressing, delicate egg rolls with wasabi mayo, and tsukemono (Japanese-style pickles); and take your pick from either the XO Sauce Ginger Pork or Hamburg Steak.

Of course, don’t leave Chi Kinjo without trying their drinks, a creative menu rustled up by Coterie Concepts’ Group Chief Bartender, Sam Wong. Signatures include the Shiso Watermelon (S$14++), a mix of Shiso Sake, freshly pressed watermelon juice, calamansi, simple syrup and lemon juice; and the Gin & Ginger (S$16++): muddled fresh ginger and mint leaves with Tanqueray 10, ginger beer, lime juice and simple syrup. Happy hour at Chi Kinjo starts at 5PM, so you can always head down after work, post-bento lunch!

With an intriguing backstory worthy of a Netflix series, creative and delicious food, and vibes that Joe Shisido would approve of, Chi Kinjo is one place we’re going to visit again (and keep updated on)!

29 Stanley Street Singapore 068738