Multi-concept Honcho on Ann Siang Hill is a progressive Japanese restaurant, rooftop bar, and underground cocktail bar all rolled into one.
Honcho, located in the dining and nightlife enclave of Ann Siang Hill, is somewhat of an oddball concept. A member’s club, most party types know it for the exuberant weekend parties it throws on its rooftop bars, or visit for tipples at its underground cocktail bar. But the three-storyed multi-concept venue recently opened up its modern restaurant space – once exclusive to members – to the public, offering Japanese izakaya and omakase favourites with a rather unique take.
Honcho’s chefs are young and local, all of whom come laden with experience at both traditional Japanese restaurants or more hybrid concepts. That may perhaps explain their more iconoclastic and experimental edge when approaching what is a rather rules-bound cuisine.
Especially during dinner service. Honcho offers two omakase tasting menus during the evenings – one basic and a more premium one – and here’s where the chefs go to town with their creations. When you combine the availability of seasonal ingredients with their wild imagination, what you’ll find on your plate can run from comfortingly familiar to the truly unconventional.
Take one of the appetisers in our six-course S$68++ omakase dinner set (offered only on Wednesdays), for example. It saw Japanese sweet potato reinterpreted as a hummus topped with pomegranate seeds in a Kyushu-meets-the-Levant sort of way. But instead of pide you use sweet potato crisps to scoop up the hummus; we resorted to the spoon instead. We were grateful for the more classic pidan tofu – silky beancurd with preserved century egg – which was well-executed.
Then there’s sashimi, served in the most traditional manner. Thick-cut seasonal fish and seafood, just the way we all like it. But come the nigiri course, the chefs go all out again. Akami sushi brushed with a garlic butter sauce? Traditionalists will balk, but flavour-wise it did work. We also did enjoy an aburi salmon nigiri that came with a slice of salmon belly atop the sumeshi that’s lashed with spicy mentaiko and then torched. Ikura completed the salmon trinity.
We were surprised by a Western main course. The braised wagyu beef short rib was fork-tender and flavourful, accompanied by an absolutely moreish potato puree. A homely miso soup followed. Dessert was simple and classically Japanese – warabi mochi and a scoop of matcha ice cream.
Honcho is open in the day as well, offering a variety of set lunches – such as an unagi donburi set, various sushi sets, and a bizarre-sounding miso butterscotch chicken set – catered for the busy office crowd.
Evening still early? Adjourn upstairs to their rooftop bar Jō @ Honcho, or downstairs to its underground bar Social @ Honcho (which was once cocktail bar Catchfly), for some drinks.
Address 12 Ann Siang Rd, Singapore 069692 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 11.30am to 3pm and 5pm to 12am Tuesdays to Saturdays; closed on Sundays and Mondays
Tel (65) 8139 5952