Restaurant Review: Hokkai Villa Offers A Value-For-Money Omakase Set
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The illustrious eight-course meal includes familiar favourites and a smattering of uncommon Japanese delights
If we had a penny for the number of times we absentmindedly referred to Hokkai Villa as Pasir Panjang’s Haw Par Villa, we’ll be able to buy everyone a round of the restaurant’s omakase sets, seeing how the price points are fairly affordable for their boast of premium ingredients.
It’ll be a year since Hokkai Villa entered into the culinary scene and to mark its milestone, the Japanese restaurant is offering up an eight-course omakase meal at quite a steal of $100. While claiming to be a casual fine dining restaurant, Hokkai Villa leans more homely with its wooden-panelled flooring and equally rustic furniture, awash with warm, ambient lighting. In corners, you’ll spot several spotted bamboo plants for that oriental touch.
Helming the kitchen is Executive Chef Thomas Kok – a culinary artist that has 35 years of experience under his belt, with the bulk of it he gained in Hokkaido. Mirroring Japanese city’s culinary practices, Chef Thomas sends forth dishes that are built on the freshest seafood, flown directly from Sapporo’s seafood wholesalers. And when he’s not in the kitchen fussing over the quality of ingredients, you might actually find Chef Thomas waiting tables.
Well, according to what we observed when we popped by the restaurant. Minutes after finding our seats, he promptly served us the rather intriguing Crystalline Iceplant Salad with Sesame Dressing to kick off the omakase meal.
Harvested from the seaside of Kyushu, the crystalline iceplant touts a hide of itsy-bitsy bubbles, that is rubbery to touch but very crunchy when eaten. The peculiar green is salty and delightfully succulent.
The Premium Assorted Sashimi platter is a testament to Hokkai Villa’s fresh seafood offerings, featuring the likes of salmon belly, red snapper, hamachi, amberjack and kimedai (red snapper). While delicious in their own natural flavours, the assorted sashimi was enjoyed more in the second round, diced and mixed with aromatic Hokkaido rice from the Hokkai Villa Bara Chirashi.
Another yummy oceanic delight is the Nama Kama, which comes cooked this time around. Prettily plated with greens, Kyushu’s yellowtail easily breaks apart with a slight pull of a fork, causing its white flesh to crumble into a pool of Chef’s awesome Nitsuke sauce of sake and mirin.
Meat lovers will definitely find their cravings quelled with the Wagyu Beef Teppanyaki. Only lightly seasoned with salt and pepper, the beef cubes are the very pride of their Saga origins – juicy, tender and packing a punch with its meaty flavours. We also loved the complimentary side of fried garlic slices.
Created in 2002, the Signature Crispy Maki is more than just a perennial dish of Chef Thomas. Aside from its familiar makeup of seaweed, Hokkaido rice, toppings of roe and a cooked salmon center, the maki glitters with bonito flakes – an ingredient now ubiquitous, thanks to Chef Thomas who said to be the one that first introduced the flakes’ deliciousness to the Singapore scene.
We were grateful that our omakase meal didn’t end off with a predictable scoop of green tea or sesame ice cream. Instead, we were greeted by a pastel orange ball of Hokkaido Melon Ice Cream. Creamy, yet sorbet-like, the icy delight justifies its Hokkaido melon claims, which left us yearning for seconds. But at an $8 a scoop? We rather leave it to the big spenders.
Address: 33-35 Pekin Street, Singapore 048763
Tel: 6909 0828/9271 5004
Operating Hours: 11am to 11pm (Monday to Friday); 6pm to 10pm (Saturday); Closed on Sunday
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