After a week in Melaka (Malaysia) for a business meeting I have a couple of days to myself before spending next week in our Singapore office. Many people had given me a recommendation for a Thai restaurant in the hotel I was staying in; but I didnt feel like Thai. So on the second floor of the Amara hotel on Tanjong Pagar Road I tripped over Santaro Japanese Restaurant.
In one corner of the second floor is a simple looking doorway with a neat blue noren monogrammed with the restaurant name in Japanese and English. As I ducked my head and walked in I was greeted with the traditional Japanese screaming that brings you into any restuarant. At the time there were only a couple of tables taken and I sat at the counter. (many more patrons came in over the coming hour, it just appears 7pm is too early for dinner in Singapore 😉 )
Sitting down at the counter I was greeted further by a chef who I was later to find out was the owner. My favourite position was unoccupied which was great; I love to sit right near the display of ingredients with a view of the preparation surface so I can get a look at the knife work. Ordering a small bottle of a semi-dry cold sake I continued my discusssion with the owner as a couple of appetizers were delivered for me to enjoy with my sake.
I seemed to make his evening by asking for a mix of sashimi. Not so much by the order, but by requesting his choice of the best selection. I can only assume that he gets a few patrons come in and point to salmon and tuna and take a very safe but unadventurous journey for their meal.
The selection was delicious; salmon and tuna of course but the salmon was from the belly and two types of tuna were there (two sweet pieces of the fatty tuna hide behind the shiso leaf to the right of the photo).
I followed this up with a few recommended pieces of sushi with the favourite of mine being the ikura sushi above. The ikura had been well prepared and it was finished off by some small flecks of yuzu zest which was quite a surprise.
Others in the restaurant enjoyed more of the dishes but I was only in the mood for some casual sushi. The restaurant has quite an impressive set of kaiseki menus and an affordable range of luch sets. Price is quite fair for the quality of ingredients, preparation and service but it is not your local sushi train; this is the kind of quality sushi restaurant I have experienced in Japan. Also, considering it is located inside a hotel I suggest the pricing quite fair. Head chef Santaro-san is a lively and talkative fellow with a passion for japanese cuisine that you can see in his eyes and knife work. Having a few of my sashimi pieces served from his other chefs he is certainly the craftsmen so I would try where possible to have him serve you.
So, when you are in Singapore but want to have dinner in Japan, try Santaro.
Santaro Japanese Restaurant
165 Tanjong Pagar Rd, Singapore 088539
+65 6324 8388