What does Christmas represent to you?
For Christians, it is a time of celebrating the birth of Jesus. For others, it is a time of gathering with loved ones, giving thanks for the year almost winding down to a close, sumptuous Christmas delicacies and last-minute gift-buying.
If there’s one thing we can all agree on, I believe it’s that a sense of joy, hope and anticipation permeates the air during this time of the year. And when you walk into Emporium Shokuhin during this Christmas season, it’s hard not to feel the same way.
Putting a Japanese food connoisseur in Emporium Shokuhin is like inviting Charlie into Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory – feasting your eyes on the smorgasbord of Japanese food shopping and dining delights must be akin to Charlie first stepping foot into the Chocolate Room – eye-poppingly, mind-bogglingly enticing!
Featuring a Japanese gourmet grocer, live seafood market, beef dry-aging facility and nine dining concepts under one roof, this integrated facility is one any self-respecting Japanophile would be proud to call home.
Emporium Shokuhin is spreading some Christmas cheer by offering not one but five attractive one-for-one deals at four of its restaurants all the way up to 2 Jan 2018. You get one-for-one sashimi plates from Senmi Sushi, one-for-one mains and steaks every Sat and Sun and one-for-one live French oysters every day from Umi+Vino Seafood Wine Bar, one-for-one sashimi platters from Takujo Japanese Dining, and the highlight for me: one-for-one A5 Miyazaki Wagyu and USDA Prime Beef Buffet from Gyuu+ Yakiniku Grill.
Move over Nasi Lemak Burger, and make way for Lobster, Prawn and Scallop Burger! You heard that right; this gourmet seafood burger with homemade patty and charcoal bun is here to challenge for pre-eminence amongst Singaporean palates. Wash it down with draft beers, including the unique Asahi Kuronama Black. At only S$4.90 a pint every Monday to Friday with every main course or steak ordered, this must surely be the cheapest beer in town.
The good people at Emporium Shokuhin pampered us with so much good food that, vacillating between culinary bliss and food coma, I lost track of which restaurant this next dish comes from but you MUST track it down. Fresh lobster is divided halfway – with the top half served tempura style and the bottom half as sashimi. Now, lobster sashimi I’ve had before and the lobster flesh here was so firm, fresh and juicy, perfectly accompanied by ponzu sauce. But it’s the lobster tempura that really intrigued everyone at the table. I have never before seen lobster done tempura style. The tempura batter used here was light without being cloying and the lobster meat was so tender. You just have to try it yourself to know what I’m talking about.
One little-known fact is that the shoyu used for the sushi and sashimi here is made in-house and aged with bonito flakes for two weeks, giving it a unique umami taste. Savour it by itself and you will taste the difference from ordinary shoyu served elsewhere.
As expected, the A5 Miyazaki Wagyu beef cooked yakiniku style was a melt-in-the-mouth affair with its excellent marbling. If you ask me, the buffet at Gyuu+ is excellent value for money at S$98++ (Monday to Thursday) and S$108++ (Friday to Sunday, Eve of public holidays and public holidays) as basically two people can eat at that price during this promotional period.
After you’ve had your fill, spread some love by heading over to the grocer and pick up a pre-packed gourmet hamper for your loved ones from the slew of options available. If you’re looking for a truly unique Christmas gift, the Ehime Celebrations Hamper features Japanese sake, confectionary and gourmet treats imported from Ehime prefecture and exclusively available only at Emporium Shokuhin. You can even do like I did and customise your own Christmas hamper by picking any item you want from the grocer.
If you prefer to dine in the comfort of your own home, you can choose from one of the six Christmas Takeaway Hampers, including the Meat Hamper Deluxe (S$129) featuring German Pork Knuckle, Honey Glazed Pork Ribs, fresh AUS Ribeye steaks and other meat-lover’s delights that you can fire up over a BBQ. If seafood is your passion, the Seafood Hamper Premium (S$219) includes French Brown Crab, Boston Lobster, Scallops, etc. These takeaway hampers would make great gifts too!
One of the hardest things of being a food reviewer is the fear of hordes of people descending upon your hitherto gem of a secret and destroying its sanctity (not to mention your chance of a reservation) after they know about it. But hey, it’s Christmas after all, and what’s Christmas without some good ol’ sharing of good news and good deals. And while you’re enthralled by this wonderful article, excuse me while I get a head start on those one-for-one deals.
6 Raffles Boulevard
#01-18 New [email protected] Square Mall