Sushi Omakase Sake @ Shinzo Carpenter Street

This is a pretty (pun intended) long post with lots of pictures compiled over two visits.

Chef Lawrence Chia, who graduated from the famed Nogawa School, helms Shinzo, a rather new Japanese restaurant located at Carpenter Street, with 3 other chefs. Although Shinzo is new being under a year old, Chef Lawrence is not. In fact, Chef Chia has more than 20 years of experience in this highly competitive industry!

I knew Chef Chia at Pinetree Town & Country Club (now defunct) in 1990 where he worked in the Japanese restaurant, Matsuki. He later set out on his own and has never looked back since.

Coming home to Singapore last year and seeing Chef Chia again is a trip down memory lane. I am happy and honoured that he still recognises me after 2 decades. What was more impressive is that he remembered what and how I liked my dishes!

It was by chance that I stumbled upon Chef Lawrence’s newly set-up restaurant a few months ago when a friend I met at Makansutra’s Red Star event brought me there. The second visit with Naomi (blast from my past) was impromptu. We had wanted to try an Italian restaurant in Arab Street but the place was filled so I called Shinzo to ask if they could accommodate us. There were two seats left at the bar. The lady informed us the seats would be at the end of the 18-seater counter if we didn’t mind. Mind??? We were lucky to be eating without reservations on a *Cargo Day and a Friday night at that!

Click on galleries below to view in full and for some commentary:

Sushi and Sahimi:

Click on gallery below to see how Sake Pop is done:

Japanese Plum Wine Jelly, Japanese Ice Cream and Japanese Sorbet:

Bill for second omakase visit at Shinzo. We told Chef Lawrence that we couldn't consume much and he prepared a very decent meal according to our taste and appetite.

Bill for second omakase visit at Shinzo.
We told Chef Lawrence that we couldn’t consume much and he prepared a very decent meal according to our taste and appetite.

Shinzo is located at 17 Carpenter Street, 01-01, Singapore 059906.

Shinzo is located at 17 Carpenter Street, 01-01, Singapore 059906.

There isn’t much to describe about sashimi or sushi except superior, mediocre or lousy (that’s when the taste is bad and you want to spit it out). And if you ever tasted a bad sashimi or sushi, you should walk out of the restaurant immediately! One simply cannot fault fresh Japanese foods especially on a cargo day so I’ll mention the cooked dishes that did not quite make it on our (Naomi and I) list…

Perhaps I’m superincumbent and I can’t speak for Naomi but overall, I’ll classify Shinzo in between superior and mediocre.  We felt the Tai fish head (with sauce) was a little overdone and the portion was generous considering we had other dishes including sashimi and sushi. The turnip dumpling was not to our liking even though the ingredients were fresh. We would prefer dough instead of real turnip sheet but that’s so Chinese! We did enjoy the little nibbles especially the crab tofu, it’s a unique delicacy to me (not sure if other places have this).

There were 2 persons on each visit and yes we had a lot to eat! Generally, the food was very fresh and oishii, you can bet on it that I’ll be back again 😉

Shinzo
Address: 17 Carpenter Street, 01-01,
Singapore 059906.

Tel: (+65) 64382921 (call for reservations and to find out the cargo days).

Operating hours: Closed on Sundays.
Lunch: 12nn – 3pm.
Dinner: 6.30pm – 10pm.

*Cargo Day is when the goods from Japan arrive and therefore it is also the best time to eat at the restaurant.

Some of the diners (that night) were Chef Lawrence’s regular customers and they offered us some sake. My first omakase (leaving your meal decision to the chef) visit to Shinzo was a treat so I do not know the price but my second visit with Naomi was very reasonable.

Naomi and her family also knew Chef Lawrence from when he was running his previous restaurants. Her family members are fans of Japanese food!

I am not very familiar with names of the Japanese items as I usually eat omakase and did not bother to find out the name of food, okay I did try to find out but have gotten so it’s a big boo boo. I’ll try to do better next time 😉

Happy eating 🙂

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