Today was a real treat! I finally stole away to Sushi Kikuzawa for a nice sushi buffet lunch. Had heard many nice things about this restaurant but never got the opportunity to try it until today. It's a tiny sliver of a place upstairs at International Building. We sat at the counter and were served immediately with edamame starters and warm takenoko wakasani (stewed bamboo shoots). Soon to follow was the plate of sashimi (you only get one portion) - one slice of ika (squid), two slices of shake (salmon), three slices of maguro (tuna) and some whitefish. The salmon was sweet, sweet heaven but the tuna wasn't very well-cut (a bit sinewy in some parts). The whitefish proved somewhat nondescript but was not unpleasant. As for the squid, it's not my favourite but what Kikuzawa served was quite acceptable - not too chewy.
We were swiftly presented with this duo of saba (mackarel) and some fish of white flesh that I forgot. These went down quickly into our hungry tummies. Fresh and not fishy.
I was glad to hear and smell the blowtorch in action again. This time, unagi (river eel) arrived warmed and with a caramelised top - inimitably sublime! It came with awabi (raw abalone). Wow, a sushi buffet that included abalone?? To be honest, I am not a fan of abalone, I don't even like it cooked but I gave it a go. Surprise, surprise...it had none of the tough chewiness of the cooked version. Instead, what greeted me was a more powdery softness and a taste almost akin to fish cake (sorry, this must be sacrilegious to fans of this expensive shellfish). Unfortunately it also carried a strong, fishy after-taste.
By this time, the chef had noticeably slowed down his pace of serving items to us. Still, this next one was a delight. Seared scallop with a dash of lemon (no need for dip, said the chef). Another multi-dimensional treat of savoury and sweet.
We also asked for salmon. Sure, it's a plebian choice but it's just extra tasty here.
My friend still wanted more. We asked for udon and cold tofu. The udon arrived but they forgot our tofu. We decided to end this with another mango pudding.
I think Kikuzawa and staff were glad to finally see us go. But hey, gochisosama deshita! And we will certainly be recommending friends here for excellent value-for-money sushi. While not top-of-the-line quality, the sushi here is infinitely better than any of the conveyor belt chains. I think this is an excellent place for those who want an introduction to the different varieties of sushi (more than 40 available here). My friend, for example, had never ventured beyond salmon sashimi/sushi prior to this (not even maguro/tuna!). I was quite surprised he ate everything here. Bravo!
Prices: S$29 for lunch buffet; S$39 for dinner buffet (Mon-Fri)
Weekends and public holidays, add about S$10 more. They have a membership card promotion: for every six stamps (one buffet = one stamp), you pay only S$10 for the next buffet.
They also have fixed lunch sets and various other meals (unagi, chiraishi, etc). Shochu, beer and sake available to wash all that sushi down, although free-flow green tea is served.
360 Orchard Road
#02-13 International Building
Open: 12noon - 3pm; 6-10pm