Cosy Japanese restaurant Miraku (味楽) at ICON Village dishes out familiar yet inventive omakase favourites that doesn’t require you to break the bank.

Miraku is easy to miss, if you weren’t specifically looking out for it. Among the latest additions to Singapore Japanese omakase scene, the restaurant’s Zen-like exterior – flush along at the main dining stretch of ICON Village – is minimalist and unobtrusive like most of its contemporaries, only giving the barest of hints that within lie Japanese culinary mastery.

Even if Miraku Head Chef Chon isn’t native Japanese.

Inside, Miraku looks like any other elegant, cedar-clad Japanese omakase sushi restaurant. Here Chef Chon presides over the 18-seater, skilfully and carefully orchestrating the various courses that will soon land on your plate.

There’s always creative tension in Japanese culinary philosophy as chefs struggle to maintain a fine balance between tradition and innovation. Chef Chon isn’t quite so fettered. Over 20 years in the industry as a chef in Japanese fine dining kitchens in Singapore has honed him into a seasoned veteran who instinctively knows how to put together something that’s traditionally Japanese and yet appeals to locals.

Fresh handmade sushi is always a crowd pleaser.

Which, of course, means plenty of fatty maguro, uni, and wagyu beef.

Miraku prides itself on serving fresh ingredients flown from Japan daily. The quality shows. We had the very reasonably priced ‘Miraku Premium Omakase’ course, and produce was top-notch.

The meal starts with various snacks, including caviar-topped negitoro and wagyu beef croquette. But a cold appetiser of sweet handpicked crab meat from Hokkaido horsehair crab, savoury salty ikura and crunchy yet gooey okra, impressed with its riot of textures and flavours.

Also delectable is a tempura made with shirako. Some might baulk at the thought of eating milt (which is the sperm sac of a fish), but it’s not unusual in Japanese cuisine. Here the milt of seabream is coated in batter and deep-fried, and its crisp exterior and creamy centre brought me back to when I first had something similar in a Sendai fish market. It’s paired with shishito peppers which add a citrusy lightness, and special rice salt flakes made in-house.

miraku chef with sukiyaki beef

Wagyu beef also makes a return. One of the few non-seafood items served, here A4 wagyu is served sukiyaki-style alongside an onsen egg. The sukiyaki sauce has been made lighter in flavour, the chef tell us, to let the melt-in-the-mouth beef shine. Delicious.

No self-respecting omakase restaurant – at least in Singapore – would dare omit chutoro from the menu. Here at Miraku the fatty tuna is a signature. It comes as thickly cut sashimi slices served with a raw egg yolk and Japanese shoyu for a creamily luscious mouthfeel, topped with shavings of mountain wasabi from Shizuoka which is a variety that gives just a slight bite, and much milder than the sinus-clearing versions we usually get.

And if you judge an omakase restaurant solely on the quality of sushi, we’re glad to report Miraku delivers. It was nice that the chef asked if we would like a “normal” portion of rice per sushi or “less rice” before commencing the course.

Fish is flown in fresh daily.

Our course of seven sushi included fufuekidai (Emperor fish), isaki (chicken grunt), ishigakidai (spotted knifejaw), tairagai (Japanese pen shell), botan ebi (Botan shrimp), uni (sea urchin) and, of course, toro maki (a mix of akami, chutoro and otoro).

They have to please the locals, after all.

If there’s one good reason to come to Miraku, it’s value. Indeed the Japanese have a term ‘costpa’, which is portmanteau for cost performance. With its regular omakase course at the sub-S$200 mark – and the premium omakase option just over S$200 – Miraku offers very high costpa that doesn’t require you to strike the lottery in order to visit.

[Photos courtesy of Miraku]

Miraku (味楽)

Address 12 Gopeng St, #01-01 to 04 Icon Village, Singapore 078877 (Google Maps link)
Opening Hours 6pm to 10pm on Mondays; 12pm to 3pm and 6pm to 10pm Tuesdays to Saturdays; closed on Sundays
Tel (65) 6904 9783
Instagram @miraku_sg
Reservations book here

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