The hype: Rokukakutei in Osaka has been a one-Michelin-starred establishment since 2009. After the flagship success, it opened a second outlet in Ginza, Tokyo. Now, the brand has arrived on our shores, its first overseas venture.
The vibe: Taking cue from its upmarket Ginza origins—the team in Singapore is from the Ginza branch—Rokukakutei Singapore exudes a modern, luxurious vibe but stays characteristically Japanese thanks to small touches, such as the mellow woods and the small signboard outside written in kanji.
The food: Deep fried skewers served omakase style is the name of the game here. Currently, there are only two options on the menu—a $134 one featuring 20 skewers and a $288 one featuring 15 skewers paired with wines and Champagne. Whichever set you order, you’ll get an assorted bowl of veggies (that’s surprisingly yummy), homemade pickles, fruit agar gelatin and a few slices of bread. The pricier set also comes with a dessert of the day and an espresso.
If you sit by the counter, you’ll get front row seats to catch Chef Hideyuki Tanaka perform his signature spinning move where he coats his skewers in a light, crispy batter then flash frys them in boiling oil in one smooth, swift motion. The skewers are all made live like this in front of you, ensuring that your skewers are always served piping hot and fast. Be prepared to eat quickly as the chefs are well-trained to serve in rapid-fire pace.
The skewers of meat, seafood and vegetables are then placed in front of you one at a time on top of a thin piece of bread (you can eat it if you wish, but why would you) meant to soak up excess oil. There is also a plate filled with five dips—lemon and mustard, shoyu, mustard with sesame, red wine sauce and Japanese salt and pepper. It is not immediately obvious, but you are meant to dip the skewer in whichever the other end of the stick is pointing at.
Some skewers are obviously better than others. And while it does boil down to certain preferences, unique standouts include the chicken breast and perilla with mountain caviar “Tonburi”, the salmon with pickled chrysanthemum on top, and cheese. If you really fancy a particular skewer, there is the option to purchase individual ones ($5.50-$11) as add-ons to your omakase set.
The drinks: Personally, going for the $288 option in order to have the glass of Champagne and wine pairings (two reds, two whites) is worth the price bump. Having 15 skewers is filling enough (trust us) and since every one of them is deep fried, not having drinks to go along with them makes for a less pleasant experience. Their croquette of green peas, for instance, pairs nicely with their house white, while the duck and welsh onion skewer is a perfect accompaniment with their house red.
Why you’ll be back: While the lively, expeditious tempo of the place is not suitable for those looking for a slow food experience, it is a very appropriate place for a bunch of foodie friends to have a meal while exchanging banter about each passing skewer. There’s no time to feel bored as you’re constantly looking forward to what the chef decides to serve up next.