The hubs and I had a weekday lunch date, and we wanted to dine at Shashlik before it finally closed its doors. But when we went on that mid-December day, we realised that it had already closed since 30 November! So much for ‘closing at the end of this year’. Oh well.
So we were thinking of something else in the vicinity, and Sumiya came to mind. I am a great fan of Bara Chirashi, and so far I have always gotten my fix from Hanare or Teppei. But I saw a version tagged #sumiya on Instagram recently, and quickly found out that it served one of the best Bara Chirashi in Singapore. So I really wanted to try it, and come up with my own verdict.
I called that afternoon, and was told that they were not taking any more reservations, but I could try my luck by walking in. So we did. The larger group in front of us was turned away, but as providence would have it, they managed to squeeze out seats for two. So do book in advance if you don’t want to make a wasted trip down, especially for their popular set lunches!
Sumiya is located on the 12th floor, so it boasts some pretty nice views of Orchard Road. We were not seated at a window seat that day, but we were just happy to get seats. Sumiya is meant to be a “Charcoal Grill Izakaya”, and has an impressively sized charcoal grill in its open concept kitchen. Perhaps that is more popular in the evenings, for everyone around us that day seemed to be having a non-charcoal grill set lunch.
I vacillated between the Salmon Ikura Don Set ($18.80) and the Mixed Bara Kaisen Don Set ($20.80), but finally decided on the latter, since it was their speciality. The hubs chose the same.
When it arrived, it did not disappoint. Whilst I still have a soft spot for my first (bara chirashi) love, I must say that this certainly matches up. The freshness of the fish was great! I particularly enjoyed the fact that it had little chunks of avocado, and that the set was served with delicious mochi. The set also comes with chawanmushi!
Whilst Hanare does not serve the three (abovementioned) alongside their Bara Chirashi, for a slightly cheaper price, it comes with a mini buffet of stewed chicked & root vegetables, free flow of edamame, excellent miso soup with as much seaweed as you may wish to add, and delicious yuzu chili.
Ambience-wise, Sumiya is much larger, though Teppei has more of the feel of an authentic Japanese eatery. Bar counter seats where you can see all the action first hand, plus interaction with the friendly Teppei-san. Dining at Sumiya is probably more comfortable to the average Singaporean, but it does come across as just another impersonal Japanese eatery. It can certainly accommodate larger groups though.
Sumiya also periodically has Tuna cutting shows! We watched a bit of one at the TV near the entrance. This gargantuan Tuna was being hacked up by the chefs. Quite a sight to behold.