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M E D I A T A S T I N G

The two things I noticed immediately about @MAI_by_marusaya when I walked in were: firstly, how spacious the place is, and secondly, that the customers (I could hear their happy chatter despite them being mostly out of sight) were Japanese, thereby immediately vouching for the restaurant’s authenticity.
I was there (courtesy of @brandcellar) to have the $128++ Omakase Dinner Menu by Group Executive Chef Shinji and Head Chef Ono. And although everything they served was fine (I found the “Dobinmushi with Shrimp, Shimeji and Maitake Mushroom”, and the “Grilled Matsutake Mushroom Rolled with Seared Wagyu Beef” especially enjoyable), there‘s no doubt in my mind the highlight of the meal was their new range of Japanese Donabe (claypot) Rice featuring the brand’s specialty dashi made from 2-year aged katsuobushi and seasonal produce air-flown from Japan twice a week.
Cooked to order over a slow fire, each Donabe Rice took about 30 to 40 minutes to be ready but the wait was worth it. The aromas and flavours were distinctly richer and deeper than if an ordinary pot had been used.
Of the four I got to try, the “Seared Sliced Wagyu Donabe Rice” ($58++) was my favourite as it’s the most flavourful and indulgent with butter and an egg yolk mixed in (thanks to Chef Ono, I even got riceballs of this to take home at the end of the night). Tying for second place were the pretty and tasty “Japanese Barracuda with Chrysanthemums Donabe Rice”, and the “MAI Style Chicken Donabe Rice” which is an oishii (Japanese for “delicious”) take on our local chicken rice complete with its own packs-a-punch chilli sauce ($38++ each). Those who desire something very clean in taste can pick the “Matsutake Mushroom Donabe Rice”.
Do note that you do not get a whole pot of Donabe Rice with the $128++ omakase menu. It would be just a bowl of your chosen variant. I guess after consuming all the courses preceding and the dessert that comes after (I was presented with a slice of housemade sweet potato cake, matcha ice-cream and azuki red beans), it would be enough for most.

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