Zento Singapore: Contemporary Japanese Cuisine

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When asked, I told my parents that I would like them to celebrate my birthday with me over dinner at Zento Singapore and they very kindly obliged without giving it a second thought :)

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Zento is a contemporary Japanese restaurant located at Dempsey Hill. It is helmed by Chef Gunawan Wibisono whose credentials, in my opinion, are pretty impressive. He began his culinary career in Philadelphia, USA, and proceeded to do a one-year stint under Iron Chef America – Masaharu Morimoto. Apparently, Zento has an reinvigorating take on Japanese food with Chef Gunawan Wibisono using unusual ingredients and cooking techniques that are not commonly used in dealing with Japanese cuisine.

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My dad, brother and I had the Zento Degustation ($58). The Carpaccio was served as our appetizer. This is Zento’s new style sashimi – thinly sliced Kanpachi, topped with garlic, ginger, yuzu and simmered in hot grapeseed oil. The different ingredients went very well together and definitely awakened my taste buds.

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Zento’s sushi certainly is something out of the ordinary. Instead of the typical seaweed wrap, a special soy paper is used for the Crunchy Spicy Tuna Soy Paper Handroll. I would say that I totally prefer this soy paper wrap to the seaweed wrap. It is much easier to bite through, and also melts in the mouth! Very awesome and who would have thought of using soy paper? The fried tempura batter was especially crunchy. We all loved the soy paper handroll :D

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The Spicy Seafood Soup was a letdown. It was not even spicy to begin with and there was absolutely no sign of contemporariness. I came here because I wanted to be surprised. I don’t think this should be in the degustation menu. Oh well.. :(

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There were three choices for the Entree and I opted for the 5 Pieces Chef Selection of Nigri. Initially I was a little taken aback by the size of the nigri. The slab of rice for every piece of nigri was like half the standard amount of rice that is commonly used. The good thing about this was that it was easy to pop each piece into my mouth. The thick, juicy melt-in-the-mouth raw fish definitely compensated for the measly amount of rice! Every piece of nigri took me higher and higher and higher… and then it all ended on the final piece.

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My brother had the Epice Pan Seared Norwegian Salmon for his entree. It was served with sauteed mushroom and vegetables.

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As for my dad, he chose to have the US Certified Angus Beef. Truffle lovers, please note that the mashed potato was infused with truffle :D

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My mum is not a fan of sashimi so she had the Roasted Spring Chicken ($38) . It was served with garlic rice and my mum commented that the spring chicken was very good.

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The dessert was a flop. There was no hint of caramel in the Zento Caramel Cheesecake. It tasted of normal cheese cake and did not manage to impress me. Quite disappointing..

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Well, that’s the end of our Zento gastronomic adventure! To sum things up, there were some hits and misses but it could probably be better managed if the degustation menu were to showcase dishes that could really blow customers away. If I were to go there again, I would like to try the Volcano Roll and Mango Sashimi! :)

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Next up, Ben & Jerry’s! :))

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Hehe I had my birthday ice cream that night :D

Zento Singapore
Blk 18b Dempsey Road
Singapore 249677
Tel: 6474 0378

Opening Hours:
Daily
12.00pm – 3.00pm (Lunch)

Sun to Thur
6.00pm – 10.00pm (Dinner)
Fri & Sat
6.00pm – 11.00pm (Dinner)

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6 thoughts on “Zento Singapore: Contemporary Japanese Cuisine

  1. The food looks good but quite normal leh. Not very contemporary or even fusion. But the way they did the nigiri is correct, the rice is not supposed to be a lot. That’st he way you’d get it in Japan too.

  2. Haha yeah lor.. Maybe we shouldnt have gotten the degustation set.. Ohh really ah? But this one the rice really very little leh! Hmm.. I wonder how Japanese males survive :X Haha!

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