Established since 1980, SHIMA at Goodwood Park Hotel is Singapore’s first fine-dining Teppanayaki restaurant. With the proliferation of Japanese restaurants all over Singapore, SHIMA might have fallen under the radar a little in recent years, but still enjoys strong brand loyalty and patronage.
I remember frequenting the restaurant when I was in my teens. Back then, dining at SHIMA was such an enjoyable treat. I am surprised to recall that the last time I visited SHIMA was likely at least ten years back!
SHIMA was opened by Katsuhiro Watanabe, a former Singapore resident who has since retired back to Japan. In 2013, SHIMA was bought over by JR Foods, and plans for a major facelift were put in place. In 2014, after a month-long renovation, SHIMA reopened.
Backed by the pioneer team of chefs whom were trained by Japanese master chefs in the 80s, SHIMA now continues its vision of serving high-end Teppanyaki, Shabu Shabu and Sukiyaki experience with top-notch food, service and ambience. SHIMA is the same age as me and is celebrating it’s 34th anniversary this year.
I am thrilled to be revisiting SHIMA after such a long while. Moreover, I met up with an old friend, Ling, which makes the experience even more meaningful:
The refurbished SHIMA exudes contemporary elegance, yet maintaining touches of traditions. The iconic cast iron Teppanyaki griddles which the chefs operated on from day one is still preserved and in use today. The griddles are one-inch thick and were custom made in Japan:
“In Chinese cooking, the older the wok, the better it brings out the flavors of the food. It is the same on the griddle. Ours have been well-seasoned over the years and allow for extremely even cooking,” shares Michael Koh, the 54-year-old Executive Chef who has been with SHIMA since 1984.
JF Foods seek to preserve and celebrate the restaurant’s humble but reputable heritage, following the footsteps of the retired founder, Mr. Watanabe. Teppanyaki remains the signature cuisine of SHIMA today, prepared with time-honoured recipes:
Guests at the Teppanyaki tables are also pampered by the Teppanyaki chefs, serving up food in an aesthetically “ceremonious” and reverent manner. The chefs are trained to observe diners closely, noting preferences and dining habits along the way, and customising the service to suit each guest.
With a focus on food cooked at the table, two other well-loved dining options at SHIMA are Shabu Shabu and Sukiyaki. Both menus have co-existed with its iconic Teppanyaki service since its opening, but shared less of the limelight in comparison. I must admit, this is the first time I am trying out the items from their Shabu Shabu and Sukiyaki menu:
What distinguishes SHIMA’s Shabu Shabu and Sukiyaki service is its distinctive blend of homemade sauces that complement the natural flavor of the premium ingredients amongst others. The premium beef at SHIMA is sourced from the best farms in Japan, Australia and America.
On the Teppanyaki menu, Wagyu-lovers can feast on top-notch A5 Wagyu ribeyes from esteemed farms in Kagoshima ($140++ per 100g), while the Shabu Shabu and Sukiyaki set menus offer a selection of Japanese Wagyu ($170++ per set), Australian Wagyu Sirloin ($110++ per set) and US Prime Ribeye ($80++ per set).
Additionally, SHIMA imports a selection of vegetables and noodles sourced from Japan including the Negi (Leek), Shimeji Enoki (Mushrooms), Shungiku (Chrysanthemum Garlands/Tang-O) and Japanese Udon or Shirataki noodles. A seasonal assortment of seafood is also air-flown twice a week from Japan’s famed Tsukiji Market to ensure quality and freshness. The latter allows SHIMA to serve a delectable selection of sushi and sashimi:
Besides offering top-notch produce, the chefs also painstakingly make most of the accompanying sauces in-house. The Goma Sauce takes over half a day to prepare, from the fine milling of sesame seeds to the adding of stock, double straining and reducing the mixture over low heat for a smooth creamy result; while SHIMA’s flavoursome Teriyaki sauce, which coats tender pieces of chicken thigh cooked on the Teppanyaki griddle, follows a recipe from the 1980s. The Sukiyaki sauce is also homemade with an original SHIMA recipe of Teriyaki sauce, pureed vegetables such as Dutch onions along with mirin, sake and other ingredients before being reduced to a rich, thick and flavoursome sauce.
It is this unwavering commitment to quality that has kept SHIMA going for the past three decades, maintaining a loyal pool of customers over the years.
A revisit to SHIMA after more than a decade is refreshing and I am delighted to discover new items which I have not tried previously. SHIMA is still up there on the list for top-notch Japanese fine dining in Singapore. The prices are premium, but the food quality, service and ambience are kept premium too.
Address: Level 1, Goodwood Park Hotel
For reservations: Call +65 6734 6281
Email: [email protected]
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ShimaRestaurantSingapore
Seating capacity: 110
Operating Hours: Daily, Lunch from 12noon to 3pm, Dinner from 6pm to 10pm
Address: 22 Scotts Road, Singapore 228221