If you told us the words “Zouk” and “omakase” were to be put in the same sentence in 2019, we probably would’ve laughed it off.
Yet, there we were at 8.30 pm on a Thursday night, walking past the iconic Clarke Quay taxi stand on our way towards Capital Kitchen. Two years ago, we might have been chastised for heading to a club this early, but we’re not here for sour plum shots or a beer tower.
Similar to many other nightlife spots in Singapore, Zouk had to modify its operations thanks to COVID-19 restrictions. From spin classes to bar bites and sharing platters, Zouk has managed to leverage on its unrivalled music programme to bring guests a one-of-a-kind experience they won’t be able to find elsewhere.
This time, an authentic Edomae omakase dinner surrounded by high-octane beats and the occasional sing-a-long from other guests.
You’ll first be greeted by the sounds of Capital Kitchen before you head inside. Since we decided to dine on the night of “Asian Persuasion” (featuring local Singapore and neighbouring Asian artists), we were welcomed with the thumping beat of Lucifer by SHINee. Other nights blast out EDM and Hip-hop, so be sure to pick the right night out.
Behind the eight-seater table stands Chef Ryoichi Nakatani, a familiar face for many sushi aficionados in Singapore. Formerly of Hashida and Sushi Ayumu, he has since teamed up with Zouk to dream up an authentic Omakase experience alongside a high-energy, music-driven venue.
We begin the night with a toast — complete with a glass of IWA 5, no less. The prized sake was crafted by the former chief winemaker of Dom Perignon, Richard Geoffroy, who turned his love for champagne to sake. The IWA 5 dropped notes of plum, almond butter and orange with a dry finish, making it a flavourful, silky cleanser to start our 12-course dinner with.
Our first dish is a grilled firefly squid and scallop duo, dressed with caviar and some lime to add a little tangy cheer to the lightly torched appetisers. Next, three generous slices of Monkfish liver line up in a row, placed gently on the plate with a swipe of red wine sauce. Its soft, delicate and creamy texture inform its nickname as “foie gras of the sea”, but this version comes with a smattering of yuzu shavings that cut its richness perfectly well.
The cadence of the meal then flows to a medley of nigiri sushi, each pressed against nuggets of rice that’s been seasoned with two varieties of red vinegar. We inhale a selection of maguro, cherry trout, golden eye snapper, Botan shrimp and chutoro — some delicately dressed with a whisper of dark shoyu sauce, others with a sprinkle of crunchy yellow tobiko.
After devouring a decadent hand roll — wrapped with a shiso leaf, fatty tuna and Takuan pickles — we then tuck into a comforting bowl of Hamaguri Osuimono. The light, clean-tasting soup is infused with wakame and a naturally sweet clam that’s been halved for our convenience.
The night, punctuated with admittedly distracting music and sudden outbursts of Happy Birthday wishes from revellers in the background, ended with a refreshing vessel of sake jelly and seasonal fruits — if you don’t count us knocking back the rest of the sake after, that is.
In all fairness, this isn’t the best omakase in Singapore, and we don’t think it really aims to be. Yet, is it a one-of-a-kind experience being handed finger-licking knobs of freshly-made sushi with a semblance of a club just a half-curtain behind you? You best believe so.
In a strange time where partygoers are stripped from the choice of taking part in the revelries of yesteryear, perhaps an omakase night out in a club doesn’t seem too far out after all.
Capital Kitchen at Zouk’s Edomae omakase pop-up is priced at S$250++ per person, until the end of April 2021. It is available from Wednesday to Saturday for two dinner service timings, 6 pm – 8.30 pm and 8.30 pm – 11.00 pm. For more information, head to their website here.
(Hero and featured image credit: Zouk Singapore)