Photos by Chong Yap of Make Your Calories Count
If you visited Suntec City recently then you would probably agree that the whole area is turning into a F&B haven given the number of restaurants that the mall welcomes. Not only do we see a flux of new restaurant concepts but even the older restaurants in the area are going through a facelift such as Kuishin Bo located just next to Sumiya.
With a name that spells charcoal house in Japanese, it is no wonder that Sumiya's speciality lies in charcoal-grilled food. For seafood lovers, it would be a haven given the variety of selection which are mostly air-flown to Singapore at least thrice a week from Japan.
Given that seafood anchors the offering of the restaurant, Sumiya differentiates with unique cooking methods such as its irori genshiyaki (charcoal-grilling). Being one of the highlights of the restaurant, you will see the chefs at work as you step in.
This technique allows a beautiful layer of smoky char on the seafood while preserving the succulence of the ingredients. The whole fish or selected fish parts for instance would be skewered and slow-grilled vertically around a stack of smouldering charcoal and cooking time can take anything from 20 to 40 minutes. In the meantime, do try some of the starters!
The half-shell scallops served here would not disappoint and if you have some business associates that you would like to impress, be sure to order this. Char-grilled to perfection with soy sauce dashi broth, the scallop was fresh, succulent and cooked perfectly. If you are not too tolerant towards salty broths, you might find it slightly too strong but for those looking for a strong flavour, this would fit the bill.
When it comes to the selection of fish, do check with the servers on the seasonal specials or catch of the day as it is subjected to availability.
The Renkodai is a type of sea bream and while it tasted great, do watch out for the tiny bones so for the parents, do keep a look out for your kids. With a drying machine in-house, it helps to control the temperature at 30 degrees Celsius with a heat that replicates the warm of typical sun rays. This process helps to intensify the natural flavours of the fish just like how sun-dried tomatoes would compare with normal tomatoes. Dried with a proprietary marinade before char-grilling it, the desired taste would be imparted on the selected catch.
Perhaps I was expecting a stronger differentiation with an additional cooking technique, I was rather unimpressed with the taste. While the drying machine was supposed to extract the natural flavours of the fish, it came across rather and this could perhaps be a choice of the fish.
A classic that one cannot go wrong, this dish fondly reminded me of my dining experience at Nobu InterContinental Hotel in Hong Kong where the quality was on par. Char-grilled to perfection again like its other dishes, I particularly enjoyed the crisp skin that was a collective result of the grill and the salt that was carefully massaged onto the yellowtail collar, extracting the moisture to the surface. This however did not compromise the underlying flesh as the naturally oily fish made sure that it tasted succulent. Have it with a dash of the finely grated dashi and you have a star dish.