After more than a decade in the Japanese restaurant scene, Rakuzen continues to charm.

With its wide-ranging menus, al fresco dining options and spacious interiors—more than 100 seats, including eight private rooms for four to 24 people—Rakuzen’s still our catch-all dining venue of choice.

  1. Handmade sauces are the norm here, individually prepared and adjusted according to the dish. For instance, for the dashi stock, apart from bonito and kombu, additional ingredients like saba bonito are added to give another dimension of flavour.
  1. Reasonably priced sets. There are no slim pickings when it comes to generous sets you can have for a business lunch or a casual dinner out. We recommend the Rakuzen Maru Bento ($45), a mini kaiseki meal with sashimi, sushi, sunomono (pickled), nimono (braised), unagi kabayaki (grilled eel) and tempura dishes. They also have a special 10th anniversary chirashi set ($18) where you get to choose eight fish toppings—such as tobikko (flying fish roe), ikura (salmon roe), hamachi (yellowtail) or ni hotate (cooked scallop)—atop a bed of sushi rice, to go with chawanmushi, miso soup and a small appetiser.

    Rakuzen maru bento

  1. Fresh seafood, such as maguro otoro (fatty tuna belly), kanpachi (amberjack) and tako (octopus), and shellfish like geoduck clam and razor clams, are sourced from Tsukiji market in Tokyo. Only the best of the season are chosen. Other premium ingredients are obtained from different prefectures, such as wagyu from Kagoshima and Uchibori sushi vinegar from Gifu.

    Fresh sushi from rakuzen restaurant

    Fresh sushi

  1. Nice rice is an understatement because they use koshihikari rice, the premium rice that is a little sticky, sweet and good enough to eat on its own. The restaurant sources their koshihikari from Nagano prefecture, and mills brown rice into white rice in-house to ensure maximum freshness. For the health-conscious, brown rice is a good option that goes well with the grilled or braised dishes.

    Rakuzen uses koshihikari brown rice

    Koshihikari brown rice

  1. The affable chef here augments your dining experience, especially if you choose to sit at the sushi counter. He will pepper your meal with trivia about the art of sushi making, such as, “It may look simple, but few understand how difficult it is to make sushi. It could be the same tuna, same rice, but it’s very different when it is made by different chefs. Even how much air you leave in each sushi makes a difference—the more air, the more sweetness.”

#01-16/19 Time2 Millenia Walk, 9 Raffles Boulevard. Tel: 6333 1171

This post is brought to you in partnership with Rakuzen Japanese Restaurant. For more information, please visit Rakuzen’s website or Facebook page.
Cover: Rakuzen’s 10th anniversary chirashi set
This was first published in Wine & Dine’s April 2017 issue as a Special Feature

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