Omakase-style Sichuan restaurant KUN (坤) on Amoy Street takes diners on a captivating gastronomic journey steeped in Chinese culture, history and tradition.
You’d be forgiven if you mistook KUN for a high-end Japanese omakase restaurant. Its minimalist yet refined setting – think clean lines, wood-panelled walls, soft warm lighting, and the long L-shaped sushi-style counter – certainly gives that impression.
But there are subtle differences. Bamboo steamers in lieu of the chopping boards and sushi display cases of an expert itamae, for example. Or the curious cabinet-like structure lining the back wall that looks like a modern version of what a traditional Chinese medicinal hall would use to store herbs.
Welcome to KUN (坤), Singapore’s first omakase-style Sichuan restaurant.
Gourmands among us know that Sichuan cuisine is one of China’s eight key regional cuisines. Hailing from Sichuan in southwestern China, its bold, spicy and flavourful dishes have captivated palates across the world. Especially in Singapore, where Sichuan flavours have even creeped into predominantly Cantonese high-end Chinese restaurants.
But in a fine-dining, course-by-course setting? That’s novel.
And bold. Like the cuisine.
Just as the best sushi-centric Japanese omakase restaurants tell the story of seasonality, KUN on Amoy Street offers an incredible multi-course gastronomic journey that weave together top-grade ingredients from Sichuan and classic culinary techniques into a story that tell the origins and history of a cuisine dating back to the 16th century.
More importantly, KUN breaks away from the common misconception that Sichuan cuisine is all about mala. Instead, diners will be introduced to a plethora of flavours that go beyond the spicy and the numbing.
The initial course, for example, presented a trio of homestyle pickles – sweet, sour, and spicy – that pay homage to an old Chinese tradition from the Qing Dynasty where pickles and pickling brine have been used as dowry (a practice that has persisted till today). Or the soup course, a fluffy tofu-like pudding made from chicken that floats in a bowl of consommé. Here the flavours are so clean and refined you’d assume this is Cantonese rather than Sichuan.
More familiar is the cured beef, a specialty that hails from a town in Sichuan’s Nanchong prefecture. Here it is presented pastrami-style, where you roll up the thinly sliced cypress wood-smoked beef with raw garlic and sichuan peppercorns for a flavour bomb. Likewise the 口水鸡, or “mouthwatering chicken”. You’ll find this in many street-side Sichuan eateries, where poached chicken is dressed in a spicy chilli oil dressing.
Sometimes your gastronomic journey meanders. Our Hangzhou-style 东坡肉, or braised pork belly, takes us to the opposite end of China. Here it is elevated with the use of Spanish Duroc iberico pork and is altogether sweet, salty, tangy and umami from the use of aged tangerine peel, apple, and top-grade 花雕 wine.
Of course, who can forget 麻婆豆腐 (mapo beancurd), that most quintessential of dishes in Sichuan cuisine that has its roots in the Sichuan capital of Chengdu? Here KUN combines tradition with a touch of modernity. Rather than the usual beef mince, diced beef short rib is used. More curiously, Grano Padano is grated over the spicy sauce to make it richer and creamier, before it is served over Japanese koshihikari rice.
Of particular note is the 粉蒸牛肉, or steamed wagyu beef. Marinated with fermented bean curd, bean paste, rice powder, and dusted with chilli flakes and peppercorn dust, every morsel was tender, juicy, and flavourful. That this dish was popularised by the very paranoid Emperor Chongzhen of the late Ming Dynasty almost makes you want to forgive that little shit for putting countless loyal officials to death during his ill-fated reign.
But I digress.
By now any discerning diner should realise that each course – large or small – that lands on your table is steeped in Chinese culture. More than a culinary experience, KUN uses Sichuan cuisine to tell grand stories around Chinese tradition and history while tantalising your palates.
Just the kind of history lesson I love.
Address 74 Amoy St, Singapore 069893 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 6pm to 11pm Tuesdays to Sundays; closed on Mondays
Tel (65) 6969 4256
Reservations book here
Follow us on Telegram to get updated on events and other spirited announcements!