When Chef Moon Kyung Soo left Mikuni early this year to move to Australia, many wondered what would become of one of their favourite Japanese restaurants. Could it retain its prestige in Singapore’s competitive dining landscape or would it struggle like similar dining places after losing its prized chef?
What we do know is that it’s now in the capable hands of seasoned executive chef Keisuke Uno. He joined the team a few months ago and didn’t waste any time breathing a new life into the extensive menu of kaiseki, sushi and sashimi, teppanyaki and robatayaki offerings.
He certainly has plenty of ideas, drawing from years of travelling, discovering different cuisines and working at some of the most respected restaurants around the world. He began his career at the renowned Minokichi, an old stalwart kaiseki restaurant in Kyoto founded way back in 1716. This was where he built his foundation in traditional Japanese cuisine, and later on, at Nobu Tokyo by the legendary Nobu Matsuhisa.
Keisuke also desired to master French cooking, which led to a stint at a French-style bistro in Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay, before he made the concerted move to New York to gain a new perspective in Western and Japanese cuisines. Following a few more tours at restaurants in Turkey, Mauritius and Japan, he finds a new home at the helm of Mikuni, Fairmont Singapore.
Influences in his 16-year career are clearly represented in the refreshed menu, backed by a commitment to using the best and freshest ingredients and produce. This is evident in a simple nihon namayasai salad, a seasonal dish made with delicate pieces of tuna tataki, boiled egg and wagyu-miso dressing, as well as in the Jou Sashimi, a daily selection of sashimi freshly sourced from Tsukiji Market.
It’s the same with the Miyazaki wagyu sirloin, arguably the finest beef from the Miyazaki Prefecture. Chef Keisuke's skill at the teppanyaki grill is also on display, as he lightly sears the beef to give it a nice, crisp crust while retaining the beef's prized tenderness within. It’s served with a medley of fresh vegetables and condiments to perk up the hearty, meaty flavours.
But diners here can also look forward to interpretations of classic French recipes, such as poached seafood with Daiginjo and saffron cream sauce. A showcase of five types of seasonal seafood including sea bream, prawn, scallop, clam, and mussel, the Japanese twist here is the use of a light broth made with the juice of clams that have been steamed with sake.
Of this new chapter in his career, Keisuke says he is "delighted to have the opportunity to keep Mikuni’s legacy alive", and together with his team, looks forward to creating more memorable dining experiences for the restaurant's guests.