Update on 13 April: please read this comment for one reader's bad experience since the post was published. It seems the restaurant was unable to handle demand in certain situations.
Update 10 June: have received a comment that prices have gone up to S$68+++! Please call to confirm if you do decide to go (also check buffet hours).
Doesn't this look good? Oh yes, it was yummy! Hubby and I splurged on Wasabi Bistro's weekend brunch yesterday. This is an a la carte buffet with more than 60 items on its menu for S$58++ per person (or S$113++ with free-flow champagne). Highlights include Californian-influenced or Hawaiian-inspired Japanese cuisine but there are many standard traditional items too.
There aren't many blog reviews on Wasabi Bistro in Singapore. I found only one on Jialard, which effused praise. I'm happy to add mine to the very small collection. But as I have too many photos, I will break this up into two parts, and focus this post on the signature dishes, which alone are worth the price of admission.
The pan-seared ahi (tuna) arrived first. Seared ever so lightly on the surface, this feels more like raw tuna sashimi with a generous scattering of bonito flakes and a light savoury sauce.
When you are here, you must of course try the no.1 dish, named after the founder Kumi Iseki. Kumi's no.1 consists of crabmeat and avocado wrapped by a slice of fish and nori, topped with what looks like gratinated bechamel sauce. It's a tiny blob but oh my, what an intense punch it delivers tastewise.
Looks like it's not actual crabmeat but high quality crabstick or surimi. Very tasty ones. Diners are limited to one piece each of Kumi no.1 per buffet. Apparently if you order this on its own (a la carte basis), it's a whopping S$18 each!
Let's take a look at that gorgeous maki platter again. The famous Rainbow roll, wrapped with fish fillets of different colours. The Miyoko Mama rolls topped with broiled unagi. The Dynamite rolls have tuna inside and tobiko outside. When they brought this platter over, I felt like royalty! So big and huge the rolls were too, and so generously packed inside with quality ingredients!
Interestingly, the Japanese chef Mitsuo Ishii came to our table to give us some chopped yuzu zest to add to our shoyu. He took great pains in halting English to explain the aromatheraupetic effects. "Healthy smell! Feel good when you eat!" Indeed, the yuzu scent lifted the plain shoyu to new heights. They are the only one doing this in Singapore, he claims.
Another hallmark dish of Wasabi Bistro. Baked seafood goodness in a papaya boat. Again topped with a creamy sauce and gratinated. Very pretty presentation.
The papaya is delicious, infusing the seafood and vegetable mix with fruity sweetness. Hubby said that at a certain point, this tasted almost like a dessert instead!
The chef, Ishii-san, came again to present a new specialty not on the menu - peppermint salmon sushi. He says this combination would not be accepted in Japan, as they do not eat peppermint. But in the rest of Asia, a chef can be creative. You can just see tiny bits of shredded peppermint leaves mixed into the rice. It did make a slight but notable difference. Refreshing.
Mmmh, yet another decadently rich but delicious dish. Baked rice never tasted so good! But certainly one too many gratinated items in quick succession. If you are having all the signature dishes, it might be a good idea to intersperse some with the regular items on the menu. Otherwise the excess of creamy sauce may prove too "jelak" (satiating).
Tomorrow or after, I shall post the remaining items - sashimi, tempura, beef tenderloin, salad, soba and desserts.
4th floor, Mandarin Oriental Singapore
5 Raffles Avenue, Marina Square
Sunday Brunch Buffet: 12pm-4pm (updated on 13 April: this info is from their website, but have received feedback that buffet timing may have been shortened, with last orders at 2.15pm)