It took me much mental strength to gather up my thoughts and click on the create post button. My last post was in August and since then I have been swamped both at work and at home. However, I have not forgotten my blog, in fact, I have been collecting reviews for every single place I visit. To cut the story short, I am rebooting with a review on a restaurant I visited just last weekend
Keyaki has been in business for 30 solid years and has been one of the first few fine-dining Japanese restaurants offering kaiseki creations to Singaporean diners. Nestled on the 4th floor of the Pan Pacific Hotel, the restaurant is discreetly hidden within an atmospheric Japanese courtyard and garden which is located outside of the hotel
Symbolic of traditional Kyoto gardens, you can find a small wooden building surrounded by lush bonsai-like greenery and tranquil Koi ponds which quickly transports you to a make-believe dimension of Japan minus the sweltering heat
Beyond the dreamy gardens, you will find the restaurant hidden behind an automatic door with a welcoming spacious reception lobby with a minimalistic modern decor commonly found in most fine dining Japanese restaurants
To the right of the reception is a dedicated Teppanyaki area which was closed at the moment due to restrictions
To the left is the main dining hall with structural wooden beams used as part of the design as well as a general warm lighting scheme. The tables are well spaced out due to the restrictions
There is an extremely small sushi bar which is also closed for seating due to the restrictions
You can get a full-length window view of the garden from every corner of the main dining area
I visited at lunch during the weekends so I could choose between their lunch sets starting from SGD 55 or indulge in their most expensive Teppanyaki set at SGD 200. During the weekend, you can also choose the 7-course brunch menu at SGD 75. Wine and sake pairing is also available at an additional price. A la carte choices are also available for smaller eaters. The full menu can be found here
Our brunch set started with 3 different kinds of appetisers; the Tamago, avocado and shrimp and braised cold eggplant. Generally, all 3 dishes were very light in flavour and provided a nice start to the meal
Next, was the assorted sashimi which came with sweet shrimp, salmon and yellowtail. We added on an a la carte serving of sea urchin at SGD 19 per portion. The sashimi was general fresh but nothing too out of the ordinary. The most disappointing for us was the uni, the portion was firstly quite costly and it had the metallic rusty taste I hated the most. I ended up wrapping all of the sea urchin in seaweed and dipping it in soy to cover the taste
The next course was under Yakimono which has 3 choices; teriyaki cod, grilled chicken in onion salt and grilled prawn in two styles. I went for the cod which was served wrapped up in this cute dumpling leave and served with a stalk of ginger flower. Personally, this dish tasted quite mediocre to me, the cod was missing the soft succulent texture and was pretty dry with an overpowering of teriyaki flavour
The next course was the Agenomo or Nimono which consisted of 5 choices; assorted tempura, Tori Nanban” Deep-fried Chicken with Tartar Sauce, Pork Rib “Ageni” style, Steamed Oysters with Onion Miso and Braised Beef Shank. I chose the assorted tempura which came with 2 mid-sized shrimps, sweet potato, eggplant and okra. I found the tempura crispy enough for my liking but my friend found the batter too thick
The next course was the Teppanyaki and again came with 3 choices; beef, chicken, prawn and scallop. I went for the prawn and scallop while my friend did the beef. I was again highly disappointed with the standard of the teppanyaki as both my prawns and scallops were overall charred and cooked and the meat was quite tough and dry. My friend’s beef was equally bad.
By now I was pretty glad that we were down to our 2nd last course Shokuji as none of the dishes delighted my tastebuds. This course also came with 4 choices; California Roll, Inaniwa Udon, Garlic Fried Rice and Butadon Pan-fried Pork on Rice. Finally, I felt that this dish had a good balance of sweet and savoury flavours from the pork pan-fried with a very slight charredness which did not impact the juiciness of the meat. As for the garlic fried rice, my friend feels that the instant ones tasted better.
For the last course of desserts, we could choose from ice cream, fruits or pudding. I went for the option which could not possibly go wrong which was the matcha ice cream and indeed it was nice and creamy. My friend also got them to arrange a slice of cake as an early celebration.
Overall, I visited the restaurant with pretty high expectations which were not met at all with the exception of the very picturesque garden perfect for that nice photo to reminisce about travelling in Japan. For the price point, the food was quite mediocre and a mismatch to the beautiful environment. In terms of service, the staff were friendly and attentive although there was a particular server who was overly enthusiastic trying to clear my plate while my chopsticks were still in hand trying to eat the remaining piece on my plate.
Address: 7 Raffles Blvd, Singapore 039595
Operating hours: 11.30 am to 2.30 pm and 6 to 10 pm