You have to be amazed at what the longstanding establishment is constantly up to. The last time we were at Zouk's Capital Kitchen, we were having a decent time at the club-like diner. The ever-evolving brand then went on to host Omakase at the same pop-up space, but has now finally settled into its new Clarke Quay shopfront. But that's not enough; it expands the offering by adding a themed bar, demonstrating how you run three decades strong despite the pandemic. So let's get straight into it.
Here Kitty Kitty
They did well with this one. It's how a tourist would imagine a Japanese drinking den to look like; which is why we love it. An authentic-looking joint probably wouldn't be enough to satiate our desire for a novel enclave, so the wooden screens, vintage posters and ceiling of autumn leaves and paper lanterns sufficiently scream 'Nippon!'.
Besides the main bar counter, it houses three concept rooms—the Cathouse, Mamasan Lounge, and the Shibari Room—all with their respective memorabilia. There's also a speakeasy within the speakeasy where a less pointed private bar and lounge hides behind the adorable mural.
The Food, The Drinks
We imagine you'd want photo-worthy drinks for the 'gram, then Haku-Hai would the choice with its blend of Matcha, Haku Vodka, Calpis and Lemon served in a wooden sake cup. Golden Hour is a more subtle clarified milk cocktail with Havana Club 3 Rum base with Hōjicha. The line up is nothing too complex and all go down easy.
The atmosphere calls for a Wagyu Sando, an excess combination of wagyu beef, caviar, uni in neat little squares. Otherwise the Negitoro Tataki for crispy sushi rice topped with seared toro, caviar and shio kombu. These are all bar bites of course, for a proper meal, head next door.
The entrance heightens your anticipation with its dark maze-like turns and forest lights that wink as you pass (auto-sensor, but still, cheap thrill). Pass the curtained-entrance and the main Omakase space is chiefly dim and pared down, with the chef's grill central to the room. Two private dining halls, a brighter eight-seater facing the river and a spotlit 12-seater, sit adjacent.
The Food, The Drinks
Head Chef Ryoichi Nakatani, a Chiba Prefecture native who spent honing years in Tsukiji Fish Market, finds his niche in Edomae (Tokyo-style) Sushi. He manifests his over two decade craft in the seasonal ingredients imported twice a week from Tokyo's Toyosu Fish Market.
We could go into how he air-sears the kamasu with charcoal, elevates the familiar ankimo with a simple ice plant cutting, or doles a generous heap of minced toro in House-special Handroll, but why not do yourself a favour and try it yourself? A five-course lunch goes from SGD80 to an eight-course dinner from SGD380. You have the option to splurge further on ala carte add-ons including the 60g Miyazake Beef, Ichizuke Kaisen Don and more. Oh, and sake pairing.