Most people think about overpriced eggs and toasts when you mention brunch but the award-winning Keyaki in Pan Pacific Singapore has taken that typical expectation and transformed it into something amazing. The Bubbly Brunch at Keyaki runs every weekend and public holiday - it is priced from just S$75++ per adult for food only (the quality is truly amazing) and there is also a more indulgent option at S$135++ with free-flowing alcoholic beverages (which includes unlimited Laurent Perrier Brut NV Champagne, Mio Sparkling Sake, Akazaru Sparkling Shochu, Manzairaki Kaga Umeshu Soda, Tiger Beer as well as Red and White Wines).
I have been to Keyakion multiple occasions and the quality of food has always been consistent - I'd like to think that this is amongst some of the best Japanese restaurants in Singapore. I really enjoyed the best of Shikoku last year where I had my first experience with the deep-fried puffer fish. The restaurant in located on level four of the Pan Pacific Singapore (which I have possibly stayed over 15 times) and it is carefully tucked away in the corner while being surrounded by a beautifully-sculpted Japanese garden and koi pond.
The bubbly brunch menu at Keyakiallows diners to create their very own 8-course lunch menu according to their preference. In each course of the meal, each diner is able to pick one out of four to five dishes (so if you want to sample everything, go in a group of five). The first course is the kobachi and there was no way I was going to give the Seared Beef with Ponzu Sauce a miss.
There are three new items on the kobachi menu but I have decided to stick with to the time-tested items. The Japanese Omelette with Eel is delicious - I love the contrasting textures from the tamago and the eel. If seared beef and Japanese omelette are both not up your alley, you may also opt for one of the following three new items: boiled spinach with sesame sauce, grilled eggplant with miso paste as well as the prawn and avocado with wasabi sauce.
Sashimi is something I look forward to each time I come to Keyaki - the quality of fish is always outstanding and the mastery of the knife is evident as every single slice of fish is perfect. Diners are able to select from five different kinds of sashimi here: salmon, scallop, sweet prawn (amaebi), yellow tail as well as steamed chicken that is topped with orange sauce. The latter option caters to diners who are afraid of eating raw fish (e.g. children) and I did not come all the way to Keyakifor salmon. Each portion of sashimi comes with five slices or pieces - five amaebi is pretty generous if you ask me!
The third course is the Yakimono and I have selected the Teriyaki Cod (which I have tried previously and absolutely loved) as well as the Grilled Scallop with Spicy Rod Roe Sauce. The Teriyaki Cod was as good as I have remembered it to be - the firm flesh of the fish is succulent and the sauce does not overpower the natural sweetness of the cod. Other options include the grilled mackerel as well as newer items like the grilled chicken wings and the grilled salmon with soy milk skin.
The fourth course of the Bubbly Brunch is the Nimono which essentially stands for a simmered dish. Since I have been fairly conservative with the choices I have made thus far (meaning to say, I have not actually tried any new items), I decided to try the Steamed Egg Custard (chawanmushi) and the Simmered Beef and Vegetables with Sukiyaki Sauce in 'Yanagawa Style'. I was initially a little skeptical about the chawanmushi - why would you come to a fine-dining restaurant for something so simple - but it is actually more difficult to perfect something so simple since every single component is more pronounced in a less complex dish. Think about coffee - it is comparatively easier to prepare a good cup of mocha than a perfect espresso simply because there are more components at play in the former beverage. The steamed egg custard was absolutely spot on - the custard was smooth and consistent, the flavours were delicate and that sauce (which I believe is bonito-flavoured) is just a beautiful contrast between light and heavy.
On the other hand, the Simmered Beef and Vegetables with Sukiyaki Sauce in 'Yanagawa Style' was alright and it probably paled in comparison to the steamed egg custard. The quality of beef used was good but this dish was simply quite average.
By the time I was done with the fourth-course, I was already starting to feel full from the meal. It may or may not have been due to the copious amounts of alcohol I have been drinking honestly, I did not think I would be feeling full after being only four-courses into the lunch (so make sure you plan your choices carefully!). The fifth-course was the Agemono (which refers to deep-fried) dishes - I decided to try the Deep-fried Crabmeat with Cream Sauce (crab croquette) and the Deep-fried Scallop with Minced Prawn. Both dishes were also served with a lightly-battered shishito pepper (which I personally love). My personal preference between the two dishes? The creamy crab croquette was excellent - the outsides were crisp and firm while the insides were packed with liquid gold. Other dishes to try include the deep-fried chicken and the deep-fried minced meat.
The sixth course which was probably the one I was most excited about is Teppanyaki - choosing the beef was easy since I know how good it is. Served with garlic chips and a side of teppanyaki bean sprouts, the beef was cooked to perfection with a slight pinkness in the middle. The flavours were as good as I remembered it to be from previous dining experiences but if you are here with friends, I would recommend for two adults to pick this dish for a bigger portion. Diners are also able to select the Japanese Savoury Pancake (okonomiyaki) in the Teppanyaki-course or alternatively, select from chicken, prawn and scallop.
The seventh-course was the Shokuji and when I saw the Inaniwa Udon option, I knew I had to have it. I have recently encountered it in Hai Tien Lo during the Lunar New Year period and was curious to see how it would turn out in a more authentic Japanese way. Diners will have the option of having it either hot or cold - I decided to have it hot since it was a rather gloomy afternoon and I did not regret my choice!
Obviously you may also opt for the Garlic Fried Rice which may be a new option in the weekend dining menu but definitely an existing favourite amongst loyal diners. Other options include California roll, udon with deep-fried bean curd as well as the grilled Japanese rice cake.
To finish the lunch experience on a sweet note, I went for the tofu cheese cake and the Japanese confection (which turned out to a vanilla ice-cream mochi). If you have been following this website long enough, you should know that I really am not a desserts person - I prefer a savoury snack over a sweet one (even for dessert!) - but i really did enjoy both dishes. The mochi was perhaps my personal favourite - the skin was surprisingly thin and chewy!
Priced from just S$75++ per person, this bubbly brunch at Keyakiis an absolute steal - if you enjoy your drinks enough, the lunch experience for S$135++ is also really reasonable. While I cannot justify paying S$135++ for lunch all the time, I think the non-alcoholic option is really quite reasonable since each course works out to be less than S$10 nett. The quality of food and that reasonable price point has left me impressed and wanting for more - definitely making plans for a return visit!
Venue: Keyaki (Level 4), 7 Raffles Boulevard, Singapore 039595
Reservations: +65 6826 8240 / firstname.lastname@example.org