Step inside Fukui and it's like venturing into another world. Set up to resemble a ryokan, the heart aches at how much I miss sojourning in Japan. Venture further into the belly of the place and you'll come to a 12-seater sushi counter with a backdrop of the mountains of the titular prefecture in Japan. Fukui is a tribute to the coastal region with seasonal produce flown in so at the whims of the seasons, the menu changes. I suppose it's the closest to travelling to Japan; the closest to traipsing on the soft soil of the Fukui prefecture, breathing in the salt-tang air through its omakase menu.
We partook in the spring menu. Head Chef Nick Pa’an, he of Santaro Japanese Restaurant (now defunct), presents a line-up honed by 20 years of experience in Japanese cuisine. While there are detours into Chef Pa'an's sushi creations, one can also get to sample what the Fukui Prefecture has to offer.
We start with a dish consisting of hotaru-ika (firefly squid), noresore (baby conger eel), mozuku (vinegared seaweed) in ponzu and egg yolk mousse. It's my first time seeing these white, almost transparent strands of noresore (flown in from Toyama Bay) almost like eating, what I can described as 'al dente bee hoon'.
The spring harvest takes the limelight with a sweet and crisp takenoko (young sprout from bamboo). The bamboo is a quintessential item in spring menus as it beckons promising starts. Another auspicious dish is the daikoku shimeiji a fat cap mushroom that's named after Daikoku, the Japanese God of Wealth due to its resemblance… which I don't really see, unless Daikoku actually looks like a mushroom. Y'know, like this absolute king.
The highlights are the meals prepped via warayaki, which is a traditional straw fire cooking method. It gives the meat that woody aroma, like you're camping in the woods. Sushi courses were seared with a heated bincho-tan; the sizzle adding to the low mumbles of patrons in the room.
Call me basic but uni is one of my favourite. The Banfu Uni is a decadent dish with the uni drizzled with homemade uni sauce and rice balls sprinkled over to give it some texture. Sake is a requisite for any omakase serving. Fukui has an impressive beverage list, especially when the restaurant has teamed with JFOODO, an organisation within the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), that promotes some limited-time alcohol pairings with Chef Pa'an's food. We love the Kubota Senju. Not as sweet as the other sakes we've tried, this one is clean and is light on the tongue.
Seven course lunch sets at Fukui retail from SGD138 to SGD168 for seven courses. For lunch and dinner, Sushi Omakase retails from SGD188 to SGD258 for five courses. The omakase menu retail from SGD288 for nine courses to SGD388 for ten. If you want some bincho-tan action with your sushi, it is only available for dinner.