Waku Ghin – 28 Mar 2017

Finally. Just under 6 years after my first fine dining experience at Tetsuya’s, I finally made it to Waku Ghin. Technically that makes it the restaurant I’ve had on my wishlist for the longest! I almost didn’t go ahead with the booking though. I knew that it was potentially expensive, but I didn’t expect it to be Noma level expensive! At 450SGD plus tax and service charges, it would be my second most expensive meal to date. But, I had to go, because it closes my Tetsuya loop.

First of all, the booking process was essentially the same as that of Tetsuya’s. I emailed them, they emailed me back, I filled in my credit card details, they secured me a table. Now it was just a matter of waiting.

Then on the 28th of March, it was finally time to trek to Marina Bay Sands and check out the amazing complex. It turns out even with instructions, I’m bad at navigating indoors. It took me a few goes to finally get to the elevator that went up to the restaurant floor. Then, I was somewhat baffled because Waku Ghin’s door wasn’t open so I didn’t see that there was a door! I walked all the way around and back before realising there was a handle and that all I had to do was push.

I was lead into a small room that seated about 5-6 people, in front of a shiny, super clean hot plate which looked a lot like we were going to experience a teppanyaki style dinner.

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Tetsuya’s – 20 April 2011

Tetsuya’s was my very first fine dining experience, so it marks the official beginning of my food adventures. It’s also the poorest quality set of photos since for a number of reasons:

– I had no idea what the photo/dining etiquette was

– I didn’t intend to post the pictures

– I have never paid this much for food before

– I had zero expectations of what the food would look like and taste like

Due to the time difference, working off memory means that the recount may not be accurate, but the key points are still used as comparison points in my current restaurant experiences.

First things first. Being the first fine dining restaurant I’d ever booked, I was mildly surprised that they required credit card details upon making a reservation, however, the booking process was very smooth, albeit at the time, I believe I called their reservations line, received an email with a form attachment for my payment details, and then received confirmation of the date. In addition, I was advised to call and confirm my reservations two days prior. It was such a nerve wracking experience!

I never knew that the best restaurants in Sydney were generally located in the city, I always imagined such famed restaurants being tucked away in their own magical land that only those attending knew how to access. It sounds weird, but I really did think that. This visit demystified my far-fetched theories, so a short walk on Kent Street lead me to the nondescript building that was home to some of the best food around.

To this date, it’s still the most interesting setup in terms of floor plan. Being slightly bewildered, I recall us being ushered into one of the many dining rooms, where each table had chairs facing the window into a secluded zen garden. There was a very subtle light show where the shadow of a bird would be projected, flitting through the leaves of the garden. The floor was relatively quiet, matching the calm, Japanese ambience of the restaurant.

There were many firsts for me here – being asked for still or sparkling water, being asked what occasion I was dining for, and the offering of oysters for “a small fee.” Any offering of oysters has always elicited a yes from me.

There was only one choice here – their degustation in full, so we weren’t offered a menu or advised of what was coming. That wasn’t a concern, but it was something that I noticed.

The first course was a cucumber gazpacho with goat curd (or creme fraiche). Cold soup was new to me, and I found that it tasted quite nice. The oysters were served shortly after, dressed with a rice wine vinaigrette. Those were some delicious oysters!
Continue reading Tetsuya’s – 20 April 2011