Monday, August 25, 2014

Shima: Teppenyaki Buffet, Rebooted

This is an invited session

One of my earliest memory (say.. 15 years ago?) of Teppanyaki in Singapore is at Shima, the Japanese restaurant rather tucked within Goodwood Park Hotel. Back then when Teppanyaki wasn't as mainstream, dining there was a real treat, visual and taste, considering its upmarket buffet pricing with chefs preparing your items upon order smack in front of you. In fact, another fond memory was that they had this air-freshner booth at the entrance where you enter to remove odour. Definitely Japanese!

Having undergone a major renovation several months ago, I was invited to try out their Weekday Teppanyaki Buffet Lunch menu ($49.90++ per pax, additional $10++ on weekends with a slightly longer menu) which had remain popular all these years. While the layout and size had definitely changed, the one-inch thick cast-iron griddles fixed on tables that were with Shima since day one remained; same idea as the Chinese to use seasoned woks for good stir-frying. They also have two connectable private dining rooms for a more intimate dining experience which honestly, unless you are there for a business meal, misses all the fun of Teppanyaki.

Salmon Sashimi, Prawn Tempura

Fresh slices, decent batter, not something I will repeat orders for though. They are after all known for Teppanyaki.

Salmon, Prawn

Cooked in their special Shima sauce, the tender fillet was nicely done with a sweet, refreshing taste. Crunchy deshelled prawns for lazy peoeple (aka myself), could pop a dozen of these easily.

Oyster (Seasonal)

Sizzling on the griddle, the plump, tasty morsels were still bursting with flavour and had the fragrance of garlic.

Chicken, Mixed Vegetables

Least exciting meat of the lot, and vegetables were a tad on the oily, salty side.

While the usual buffet served Australian tenderloins, Sous Chef Victor Yok invited us to try out the US counterparts instead. As we were half awe-ing half scrambling for cover during the steak's mandatory flaming moments, Chef Victor was making sure they weren't burnt in a calm, almost zen-ish manner. Grand master indeed.

US Tenderloin ($45 per 120g)

With many places going Wagyu, this was a good change as to concentrate on a good cut with chewy texture and robust flavour.

Garlic Rice, Off-Menu Special: Oyster Omelette ($30 per 120g)

What's teppanyaki without Teppan fried rice? Fried all the better with beef fats, it was well-oiled with a smokey fragrance. And as we joked with Chef Victor about Teppan-styled Taiwanese Oyster Omelette, he told us there is such a sscret item that people requested for, and sure it was awesome with the same plump oysters. Now you know!

You could of course ask for seconds if the first round of everything-on-the-menu didn't fill you up, but that's not likely to be the case as we realised, with the individual small portions adding up to quite a considerable amount. Just remember, don't expect fancy griddle work or spatula juggling here; Shima runs a decades-proven teppanayaki house, not a circus.

Level 1, Goodwood Park Hotel
22 Scotts Road, Singapore 228221
Tel: 6734 6281

Special thanks to LeRoy of FoodNews for the invite!

Taken with Nikon D7100