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Restaurant review: Kiyose is Iki Concepts' new kappo kaiseki omakase in Orchard Road

Restaurant review: Kiyose is Iki Concepts' new kappo kaiseki omakase in Orchard Road
PHOTO: Iki Concepts

“The hydrangea’s hue, reflected in rain puddles, exists just today,” so reads the haiku on the cover of our omakase menu at the newly opened Kiyose.

Named after the term referring to seasonal, intentional language used in traditional Japanese poetry, the fine kappo kaiseki restaurant takes over the space previously occupied by Yoshi – which shut when Chef Yoshiyuki Kashiwabara left for Japan – in the basement of Forum the Shopping Mall.

Parent company Iki Concepts, which also owns Nomi Dining Bar next door and casual restaurant brand Nozomi, didn’t do much to the layout for the new concept.

The intimate space still seats up to 16 around the counter and seven in the private dining room, though new and visually impactful combination of red wood and black marble interiors certainly help Kiyose stand out from its peers.

Kiyose is helmed by Chef Shimpei Taniguchi, a Hiroshima native who spent his formative years being exposed to the diversity of ingredients born by the Seto Inland Sea and its surrounding Chugoku mountains.

These bounties sparked an interest in his country’s traditional culinary practices, and after working his up way through Miyajima’s most established Ryokans, Shimpei-san is able to showcase his own artistic take on cooking at Kiyose, where bold flavors, textures and presentation marry for an indisputably lovely dining experience.

Open for lunch ($128++) and dinner ($248++/$288++), our evening meal kicked off with some Yaki Edamame Tofu. Cooked for almost an hour over consistent heat before it sets, the tofu is lightly dusted with powder of the arrowhead root before going on the grill.

Garnished with savoury mullet roe, its structure holds even as we sank our teeth in to savour its soft flavour and texture.

Equally delightful was Kaisen Mozukusu, where the simple side dish of Okinawan seaweed in vinegar is elevated with sweetfish (June is ayu season) and seared scallop.

Another gorgeous marriage of textures that whets the appetite with seasonal Japanese white onion jelly, cucumber, tomato, and ikura.

After a tasty morsel of Seasonal Corn Tempura, stuffed with white fish and scallop paste, comes the Tiger Prawn Chawanmushi. Served with a layer of heady prawn broth, Chef Shimpei’s take on this special occasion staple in Japanese cuisine is comforting and delicious.

Every spoon of egg custard yields an ingredient like the medley of mushrooms, firm tiger prawn, sweet pea, and fish.

The sashimi course at any omakase restaurant in Singapore is probably the biggest indicator of a chef’s ingenuity with the season’s best, we weren’t disappointed at Kiyose.

Besides the requisite two types of tuna (akami and otoro) on the summer-themed plate, there’s also sweet, clean mirugai (geoduck), crunchy hokkigai (surf clam), and ishidai (striped beakfish) rolled carefully with oba leaf and bafun uni, which accentuates the fish’s succulent texture.

Served together but on a separate dish are seared isaki (chicken grunt), flavourful from heat extraction of its tasty fat, and shima aji (stripe jack), smoked to hay for another dimension to its firm, springy flesh.

Small eaters might be glad that there are only two parts to the Sushi course. The first is surprisingly, a deep-fried mound of red vinegared rice and Sakura ebi sandwiched between seaweed for a texturally wonderful bite.

The next is more predictable, but doesn’t make it any less tasty – think a chunky negitoro maki rolled with perilla leaf and pickles, then topped with creamy silvers of Hokkaido bafun uni.

For the second last of our savoury courses, we get A5 Kagoshima wagyu striploin cooked in dashi soy, which is then layered into a bowl with Saitama yuba (tofu skin), fried eggplant (Japanese nasu is also in season), and leeks. Undoubtedly a rich and satisfying dish that help you fill up if you weren’t already.

No Asian meal will leave you without carbs, and at Kiyose, it was claypot rice with plump and juicy kinmedai (splendid alfonsino, also known as golden eye snapper) that was blanched, then simmered in a liquid made of soy, dashi, and sake.

There’s a bit of performativity here with the spraying of water over the lid of the rice; apparently, during the age of samurai, this was done when food was presented to royalty to check for signs of tampering. Tonjiru is served alongside the claypot rice, a miso-based pork and vegetable soup spiced up gobo (burdock root) with sansho pepper.

Not being able to finish the rice in the claypot is commonplace, and what we really liked was that the chefs would prepare them as onigiri for diners to bring home as a simple lunch for the next day.


Though our bellies were close to bursting, dessert was an extra special treat from Chef Shimpei. A friend from Japan had sent over some dorayaki (Japanese pancake with a sponge cake flavour) in matcha and custard flavours.

He created a light batter for deep frying, and this resulted in warm pastry encasing extra oozy fillings for that one-of-a-kind finish, though Japanese fruits were also served!

Kiyose is located at 583 Orchard Road, #B1-39, Forum The Shopping Mall, Singapore 238884, p. +65 8188 0900

. Open Mon 6pm-10.30pm, Tue-Sat 12pm-2.30pm, 6pm-10.30pm. Closed Sun.

ALSO READ: Restaurant review: Blossom into spring with Japanese omakase concept Fukui

This article was first published in City Nomads.

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