Entering the dimly lit, windowless sushi bar of Chotto Matte is like being transported to a neighbourhood izakaya in Japan. The place is slightly grungy and there is not much space to move around.
But if value-for-money omakase is what you seek, come here. The fish may not be as sweet and luxurious as the selection at top-end sushi places, but at $100 a person for an omakase meal, it seems churlish to complain.
Chef Roy Chee, who worked in sushi restaurants here before relocating to Zurich, where he worked for 13 years, slices his fish thick and sits them on small balls of rice, which sometimes fall apart.
Some of his creations are excellent, however. The best nigiri sushi is shiro- maguro. The fish, a variety of cod, is marinated in wine, olive oil, garlic, spices and shoyu and smoked for four to six hours. Smoky and rich, it is something I'd go back for.
Other highlights include chawanmushi topped with a thick disk of ankimo (top). The monkfish liver makes me forgive the too-firm egg
custard. A Japanese "dim sum" of scallop with mentaiko mayonnaise, topped with foie gras and flying fish roe (middle), is rich, a little over the top and fun to eat.
There is also a whole kyuri-uo (above), a fish that smells like cucumber, in a vinegar sauce that manages not to smother the sweetness of the fish. The bowl of Inaniwa udon in a delicate fish stock makes an excellent end to the meal.
Where: Chotto Matte, 54 Blair Road
MRT: Outram Park Tel: 6222-8846
Open: 11.30am - midnight daily
This article was first published on Jan 9, 2015.
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