The best meal I had during my stay in Singapore also happened to be the most expensive one. I wouldn’t say that a more expensive meal would necessarily be the best, but the one I had at Waku Ghin was just absolutely fantastic. I would definitely say it’s one of my all-time best Japanese meals of my lifetime. Located inside the famed Marina Bay Sands hotel (where I stayed just so I could check out the fabulous infinity pool) and helmed by internationally acclaimed chef Tetsuya Wakuda, Waku Ghin has long been one of the pillars of the great gastronomic scene.
At Waku Ghin, you will get seated at a counter where a chef comes out to serve 10-course degustation menu, priced at whopping S$400 per person (thank god the dollar to Singapore dollar exchange rate during my visit was as favorable as it could get!). The chef will bring a gigantic plate of all the raw seafood that will be a part of your meal. With that price tag, each dish really had to be worth every penny, which is a nearly impossible feat, yet Waku Ghin pulled this out beautifully.
There were some really taste bites of seafood, from Japanese sawara (mackerel) that worked beautifully with eggplant and seaweed vinaigrette to slow-cooked New Zealand John Dory with grilled eggplant to roasted New Zealand scampi. One of the signature dishes at the restaurant, the marinated shrimp with sea urchin and caviar served inside the sea urchin shell was pure nirvana, and I could seriously eat this dish any given day. The best dish in my mind, however, was the impeccable Tasmanian abalone that came with fregola pasta and tomato. It showed that the restaurant could also draw a page from Western influence, and I still can’t forget the beautifully cooked abalone that worked wonders with the pasta.
I was also deeply impressed with the braised Canadian lobster that came with aromatic tarragon jus. Lobster was as perfectly cooked as it ever gets, and the tarragon jus worked its magic to further add another dimension to the dish. An assortment of fabulous seafood was followed by some meat dishes. Deboned spatchcock (chicken) was well-cooked and worked harmoniously with black truffle. My only compliant with wagyu roll was that there was too little of it, but otherwise the meat’s texture was absolutely juicy and tender.
Following a serving of soothing somen and gyokuro (green tea), I was led to the main dining area where desserts started coming in. Tasmanian leatherwood honey ice cream with granite of lemon and gin jelly, a light and refreshing dish, was followed by Ghin cheesecake (“Ghin” stands for silver in Japanese), another winning dessert that I wished I could have more of.
The restaurant has a classy and formal vibe but I still saw families with casual apparel enjoying their time together. The services of the professionally dressed staffs were attentive, and you can complement your meal with a variety of drinks from wine to sake to cocktails. Waku Ghin will blow your mind if you’re looking for a serious Japanese fare with Western touches. I’ve always been impressed with the craftsmanship, dedication and discipline that Japanese chefs display, and while the glitzy atmosphere of Marina Bay Sands may make you think the meal at Waku Ghin is going to be overpriced and overrated, it is anything but. Okay, maybe the price may force you to eat cheap food for the next month or so, but if you’re looking for a once-in-a-lifetime meal, Waku Ghin is pretty damn close!
- Creativity: 9.0/10
- Execution: 9.5/10
- Ingredients: 9.5/10
- Flavor: 9.0/10
- Texture: 9.5/10
Address: Level 2, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore, 018956