SINGAPORE - Media
OutReach - December 3, 2018
- The Lo & Behold Group
has introduced its first ever Japanese restaurant concept in Singapore, ESORA. Housed within a heritage
shophouse on 15 Mohamed Sultan Road, the 26-seater kappo-style establishment is the brainchild of Chef-Owner Shigeru Koizumi. He spearheads the restaurant's
"one-degree" approach to kappo
cuisine, along with a unique tea pairing programme.
Similar to traditional kappo restaurants, a counter is all that
separates guest from chef, allowing the servers and chefs to eagerly share
stories behind each dish or ingredient. Yet, ESORA eschews all the norms of
traditional Japanese fine dining.
Ushering in a fresh perspective
on Japanese cuisine, every aspect of ESORA's dining experience is personally
curated by Koizumi himself, from the food down to the specially-sourced serveware
from Japan. This "one-degree" approach to kappo
cuisine -- a term coined by Koizumi -- reflects the extreme level of
attention to detail adopted throughout ESORA, from kitchen to front-of-house.
A Chef of His Own Nature
Growing up in the
mountainside town of Nasu, Japan, Koizumi's respect for nature was inspired by
the grand landscape surrounding him. This affinity with nature nurtured an
acute sensitivity to the integrity of ingredients and drives his passion for
incorporating micro-seasonal ingredients at ESORA.
His experiences at
Tokyo's acclaimed three-Michelin starred Nihonryori RyuGin and Singapore's
two-Michelin starred Odette have also lent him a proficiency in modern cooking
techniques. Koizumi merges his deep respect and knowledge of traditional Japanese cuisine
together with techniques such as pacojets and liquid nitrogen to tease the best possible flavours out of
each ingredient. The usage of modern techniques is applied in a way that ties
back to the Japanese culinary principle of maintaining the integrity of an
philosophy shines through the most in his fanatical attention to detail when it
comes to food. Koizumi believes that every preparation of a dish with its
tweaks and refining is a process, not an end; that even the slightest change of
just one degree in temperature can affect the outcome of the dish. This is best
embodied in his approach to preparing his favourite dish -- dashi. Treating the dish with reverence, he takes pride in building
the savoury broth in layers with katsuobushi,
kombu and a light dusting of yuzu zest, creating a perfect harmony of
Crafting a multi-course
meal which will take diners through micro-seasonal ingredients that are given a
modern Japanese take, each meal begins with a selection of snacks followed by
Koizumi's signature dashi. Served
next is the amuse-bouche, where Koizumi offers his own modern interpretation on
the monaka, which is traditionally
served as a sweet dessert. Using Maison Mitteault foie gras torchon, he creates
intricate layers of flavours by adding myoga,
Japanese mikan, roasted nuts and
kaffir lime zest.
The rest of the meal is
an orchestra of dishes reflecting Koizumi's passion for uncovering the best of
every ingredient prepared with an extreme level of attention to detail. One of
the main standouts is the Omi Wagyu, served with white maitake, amanaga pepper
and aged akazu. It is perhaps the wagashi that Koizumi's playfulness comes
through the most with nostalgic confections that are inspired by his favourite
The seven-course and nine-course menus are priced at $218++ and $278++ respectively.
A Dedicated Tea Pairing Programme
Koizumi's respect for nature extends further into his very own unique tea
pairing programme. One of the first of its kind in Singapore, the programme is
curated by Koizumi, who is a passionate tea connoisseur. Sourced directly
through suppliers who have personal relationships with tea plantation farmers
globally, this non-commercial sourcing ensures an exceptional quality of tea
from farm to cup.
Behind each tea blend is
an interesting story worth telling. Personally hand blended by Koizumi and
complemented with each dish for a balance of precision and emotion, the teas are
served either cold or warm. Presented in modern glassware vessels, each pairing
is accompanied by a bell jar of its raw tea blend for diners to immerse
themselves in the aromas.
The first brew, the effervescent Sparkling Oriental Beauty, is
served in a champagne flute showcasing Koizumi's take on the champagne
component of a usual alcoholic pairing. The delicate brew is infused with
hibiscus petals to impart a deep rosy hue and a subtly floral acidity. Another
notable blend is the marriage of Iribancha,
Hojicha and a touch of cinnamon which creates an inimitable smoky blend.
This particular brew pairs wonderfully with the unctuous Omi Wagyu.
pairings are priced at $38++ and $48++ for the seven-course and nine-course
menus respectively. There are also sake or wine pairings priced at $88++ and $118++
The nature-forward space
is reflective of the cuisine served at ESORA, and the chef-guest relationship
is always at the forefront. Natural Japanese materials such as timber, copper and
marble are used to create a space that is welcoming.
The main counter sits
below a skylight dressed in Japanese washi
paper -- a feature that is a tribute to Koizumi's love for the sky. It is also a
reference to the restaurant's name, ESORA, which means 'painting in the sky'.
Tue -- Sat: 19:00 -- 21:00
Sun & Mon: Closed
15 Mohamed Sultan Road, Singapore 238964