Posted by: tonkatsudelights | April 22, 2007

The Elegant Shiro

  Hot Sake for the night  Shiro 

On the contrary to what a lot of people say, I do not find Singapore a boring place. To me, it has a lot of hidden gems and pleasant surprises…

Some time ago when I was driving into the Hillcrest Park area, I came across a stretch of restaurants and cafes tucked inside in the Greenwood Avenue. I felt as if I have driven into a small village. And ever since, I have been coming over and over to the Greenwood Avenue to explore the culinary delights it keeps inside.

One of the restaurant I have been itching to try is Shiro. A small but elegant Japanese eatery, with only 25 seats and one private room. Brought to us by the very same people who gave us Balaclava and Wala Wala, it is by reservations only. Although I heard that if you don’t have the reservations and they happened to have some empty tables inside you can just call and reserve from outside the restaurant and they will accommodate you.

Shiro —which means ‘white’ in Japanese language, as pointed out by my faithful companion for the night, Ms. SL— is decorated in two-tone colors, dark brown (almost black) and white. It’s simple, clean cut, and elegant. I was feeling blissful the moment I stepped inside the restaurant…

So happy at the anticipation of the good food I was gonna eat…

The service was impeccable since the very beginning. The waitresses did not rush us when we were still ordering the food, knowing that it might take longer time. And when the food is served, they actually explained the food that you’re gonna eat, one by one. This is so a Japanese practice, though I hardly find them in the other Japanese restaurants in Singapore.

Ms. SL could not help commenting on the service level and the considerations that the staff gave. How her ocha was consistently replaced with the hot ones even before she finished drinking the whole glass. How the hot ocha was never poured in full glass to allow people to hold the glass comfortably. And many others. Ms. SL — for your attention to detail and perfection, I think you are very much a Japanese.

As this is the first time I came to Shiro, I decided to order the full Wafu Course. This is the course with wagyu beef as the main dish, btw.

And the loooooong list of food follows… I simply didn’t think that it will be that many…

First, came the crabmeat tofu with wasabi in sweet vinegar. Excellent taste. Immediately from the first item on the menu I know that this is going to be a great dinner!

Assorted Sashimi  Crabmeat Tofu with Wasabi in Sweet Vinegar

Then came the assorted Japanese appetizers —firefly squid, oyster, diced bamboshoots, japanese snail, and mixed veggie. Again, no other comment but the ooohs and aaahs because it is simply so good. The only complaint, as Ms. SL correctly pointed out, is the fact that they’re giving out only one piece of everything…

The next item on the list is the assorted sashimi. And I couldn’t seem to stop falling in love with the food in Shiro. The sashimi is fresh and still has the right ‘crisps’ that I would expect from something fresh. Though I wish that they have the raw shrimp sashimi that is similar to what I had in Japan —the one that is still grey in color and is still moving when I eat it— I know that it would be quite impossible to do so here in Singapore. I think we have to be as near to the source as possible. Otherwise it won’t be that nice. Still, the sashimi is excellent!

When it came to fish, I had the isaki fish with horseradish. But I had to admit, the fish that Ms. SL ordered was much much much nicer. Hehe, I gotta take a peek on what she ordered for my next visit to Shiro. I’ll give the isaki fish a pass next time.

Apart from the isaki fish, the other letdown was the shimmered dish —seabreem roe, bamboshoots, stalk of celery, and seaweed. Obviously, when I say it’s a letdown it doesn’t mean that it is sooo bad that I can not eat it. No, not like that at all. The fish and the shimmered dish are OK, but they just failed to impress me.

Prior to the main course, they serve the soft-bone salmon and cod roe in lemon sauce to clean our palate. A refreshing intermezzo, basically.

Wagyu Beef in Teriyaki Sauce, Garlic Rice, and Clear Soup with Mushroom and Clam   Soft-bone Salmon and Cod Roe in Lemon Sauce

When the main course finally came, I was almost full already. Not that the main course is not nice —it is very very nice, in fact— but the full Wafu Course is simply too much for me. The main course —wagyu beef in teriyaki sauce, garlic rice, clear soup with mushroom and clam— is something that you will probably eat as the whole set in the usual Japanese restaurants. The wagyu beef is simply divine…

I ended the dinner on a high note with that wagyu beef. The two scoops of ice cream that came after was actually unnecessary. I would definitely consider ending my dinner right at the main course next time. Unless they have something nice to offer on the dessert menu.

And… as usual, good and friendly service always catches my attention. Just like Barry in Da Paolo, Shiro has Ms. Joey for me to remember. I think whichever restaurants these people go I will never fail to remember them. Maybe next time I’ll ask whether I can take pictures of them to post in my blog.

Shiro is definitely the place to come for great Japanese food. Do not expect to talk something so secretive, though… the tables are situated so close to each other you will be able to hear what the other people talk about. When we came there, there were a couple of guys sitting next to our table, having dinner together. Strangely enough, they hardly talked anything during the dinner. I told Ms. SL that they could probably be a couple who have stayed together for a long time and simply didn’t have anything else to talk about. Have you ever noticed that? The couple who have stayed together for very long time, sometimes just sit down, have dinner, and leave without saying much. Sad,… but it’s true in a lot of cases.

Our bill came to almost $300 that night. The Wafu Course alone costs $180 for dinner.  For better value, I’d suggest that you come for lunch if you simply want to try the dishes and not so much for the ambience. A more simple lunch set with wagyu beef costs around $50++ (need to check how much exactly). Anyway, the next visit to Shiro is tentative in my agenda now. 🙂

By the end of the night, I have fallen in love with Shiro…



  1. wah that’s expensive….
    but well, that’s japanese food… so, that may be justified.

  2. Hi VS — it’s worth it… really. Felt so satisfied with the dinner… I would definitely want to come back… so in love with it…

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