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Rakuya: Affordable Japanese Omakase with a twist featuring the freshest ingredients, curated by Chef David Yeoh

Previously situated in the Joo Chiat district, Rakuya is renowned for its array of affordable Japanese Omakase options. They recently relocated to 25 Mohamed Sultan Road on 27 Jan 2023.

Escape from the hustle and bustle of the city as you enter an exclusive space that exhibits a sense of tranquility.

rakuya - restaurant front
rakuya - restaurant front

The kitchen is helmed by 33-year-old Head Chef, David Yeoh, who has 14 years of experience under his belt. He veers off from traditional techniques and gives a modern spin to his dishes.

head chef
head chef

The hosting of work meetings and business lunches for executives is made possible with the restaurant’s 2 private rooms: Momiji (10 pax) and Sakura (10-13 pax). You can also order a Shokado Bento (S$68), which features all your essential Japanese delicacies in a box— the perfect meal for occasions like these.

private rooms
private rooms

In conjunction with Rakuya’s 5th year anniversary celebration taking place on 27 May 2023, flash sales will be held and 30% off on all sake bottles can be enjoyed.

In addition, the Shokado Bento will be sold at a discounted price of S$48. There’s also a 50% off for the 2nd diner for their dinner Omakase.

To be eligible for this promotion (till 31 May 2023), simply flash the Sethlui x Rakuya Reel to the staff.

What I tried at Rakuya

For lunch, Rakuya offers the Kaiso Omakase (S$98) which features their signature dishes.

rakuya - chef's table
rakuya - chef's table

During dinner, choose between the 15-course Nekojita (S$198) or the Chowa (S$298) (which we were about to experience).

We started our Omakase experience with the first dish, Ice Plant with Amela Tomato.

rakuya - ice plant
rakuya - ice plant

The ice plant won me over with its addictive crunchy texture. The savoury shoyu-based broth at the bottom counteracted the fruit-like sweetness of the Amela tomato. Simply perfect!

rakuya - ice plant closeup
rakuya - ice plant closeup

The Pufferfish Skin Jelly looked like a work of art. There were strips of pufferfish skin visible underneath the translucent brown jelly.

rakuya - pufferfish
rakuya - pufferfish

Like magic, the cold brown jelly instantly transformed into a floral broth in my mouth, with delightful hints of yuzu. The skin strips were slightly crunchy and mimicked the texture of jellyfish.

rakuya - pufferfish jelly
rakuya - pufferfish jelly

We watched as the kitchen team plated our next dish, the Assorted Sashimi.

rakuya - chefs preparing
rakuya - chefs preparing

The pretty platter consisted of a tiger prawn, ark shell, yellowtail and sea bream.

rakuya - sashimi platter
rakuya - sashimi platter

The tiger prawn was firm and naturally sweet, which paired really well with the spicy-salty kick of the wasabishoyu combo.

rakuya - prawn closeup
rakuya - prawn closeup

The remaining pieces of sashimi were of top-notch quality and tasted like they were freshly caught from the sea.

seabream
seabream

Next came the Tuna Sashimi which utilises the harakami (best part of the tuna). A massive chunk of tuna was brought out to showcase its marbling and pinkish hue.

rakuya - harakami
rakuya - harakami

The dish featured 3 tuna cuts: Akami, Chutoro and Otoro. It was exquisitely presented with a stalk of perilla flower and water peppers.

rakuya - harakami dish
rakuya - harakami dish

Interestingly, the water peppers (in red) gave off a subtle chilli-like spice which acted as a substitute for people who dislike wasabi.

Each of the tuna cuts gradually became creamier because of its ascending fat content. The ooohs and the aaahs coming out of our mouths were getting louder as each piece was increasingly satisfying.

rakuya - chutoro
rakuya - chutoro
rakuya - tuna dip
rakuya - tuna dip

The Chawanmushi with Squid Ink Sauce came with a side of lemon pearls which looked like sago. I poured them into the chawanmushi and went for my first mouthful.

rakuya - chawanmushi
rakuya - chawanmushi

Ladies and gentlemen… this was hands down the best chawanmushi I’ve had in my life! The umami-ness of the squid ink, the burst of freshness from the pearls and the silky egg custard were a heavenly combination.

rakuya - chawanmushi closeup
rakuya - chawanmushi closeup

We entered their kitchen to observe the preparation of the Tilefish with Seaweed Vinegar Sauce. Fun fact— tilefish is a prized fish in Japan that incorporates baby lobsters in its diet.

hot oil pouring
hot oil pouring

As hot boiling oil was doused over the fish skin right in front of our eyes, the fish scales rose like porcupine spikes. What a sight!

rakuya - tilefish kitchen
rakuya - tilefish kitchen

The dish was beautifully presented with grilled white asparagus and seaweed vinegar sauce by the side.

rakuya - tilefish dish
rakuya - tilefish dish

The fish was flaky and melted in my mouth instantly. The subtle hints of lobster due to its diet became more distinctive as I tucked into it more. I also really enjoyed the crispy scales which were crackling in my mouth.

The seaweed vinegar sauce was buttery and a tad tangy; a perfect pairing.

rakuya - tilefish closeup
rakuya - tilefish closeup

Rakuya is one of 3 restaurants in Singapore licensed to serve Kobe Beef. I watched as Chef David grilled the pieces of marbled meat on the Binchotan charcoal grill.

rakuya - meat grilling
rakuya - meat grilling

The A5 Kobe Wagyu Beef was intricately plated with an assortment of grilled vegetables, roasted garlic chips and a dollop of yuzu kosho (Japanese citrus chilli paste).

rakuya - meat dish
rakuya - meat dish

The pieces of Kobe beef filled my mouth with creamy deliciousness and the garlic chips added aromatic spiced notes. Dunking the meat into the yuzu kosho added a unique acidic spiciness to it. I would die happy eating this!

meat closeup
meat closeup

The Assorted Sushi was presented to us next. We had front row seats of the sushi-making as each piece was individually made on the spot.

sushi making
sushi making

The Flounder Fin Sushi consisted of 2 styles of preparation (torched and sashimi) with yuzu skin over vinegared rice. The duo styles added a layer of smokiness with refreshing citrus hints from the yuzu.

The Assorted Sushi came with a side of braised burdock root and yuzu vinegar-marinated ginger slices.

rakuya - flounder sushi
rakuya - flounder sushi

This was followed by the Giant Red Prawn Sushi which had basil miso and Fatty Tuna Sushi that had coriander. Both were absolutely yummy.

rakuya - sushi choices
rakuya - sushi choices

We ended with the Kinki (rockfish) Sushi which was served with grated radish and Scallop Sushi with truffle. What a great finish!

rakuya - scallop
rakuya - scallop

The Chef’s Signature Negitoro Rice came with a bed of pebbles and the visual theatrics of dry ice. It consisted of seasoned rice, nori sheets, kaluga queen caviar, salmon roe and uni.

negitoro
negitoro

You’re given the absolute freedom to mix and match all the various ingredients however you want it. Every morsel tasted like the sea and put a smile on my face. I didn’t know what secret blend was infused into the rice but it was mind-blowing.

sushi roll wrapping
sushi roll wrapping

We ended our fantastic meal with the Orient Clam Soup and a mini fruit duo of Miyazaki Mango and Awawuki Strawberry.

last 2 dishes
last 2 dishes

The clam was succulent and had the texture of abalone. The thin strips of leek on top added an oniony punch which went very well with the briny broth.

The fruits were on another level. They were both exceptionally sweet and filled the air with a mesmerising scent.

Final thoughts

restaurant interior
restaurant interior

I had a blast dining at Rakuya. I rarely meet someone like Chef David who is so passionate about food and pays a lot of attention to food flavour pairings. My taste buds were taken on a wild roller coaster ride and I enjoyed every minute of my adventure.

I’m definitely booking my next Omakase meal here!

Expected damage: S$70 – S$300 per pax

* This post was brought to you in partnership with Rakuya.

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