Hokkaido Sushi Restaurant @ M Hotel: launches The Hokkaido Buffet Experience

Gone are the days when I used to gorge myself silly on mediocre ala-carte buffets. Shin Yuu in 2012 being my last undertaking; memories of overtenderised wafu steak leaving a bad taste in my mouth. So when broached with the subject of attempting The Hokkaido Buffet Experience at Hokkaido Sushi Restaurant in M Hotel; I held my breathe. Is it worth all the apprehension and grief it occasions?

At the end of the day, pushing past the ugly, Hokkaido Sushi is worthy of a shout out; especially for the sushi and sashimi stalkers. Here are some star attractions to place your bets on; and others that you should steer clear of.

First and foremost, a brief introduction to the joint that occupies a section of the 9th floor of M Hotel. Famous for dishing out ala-carte items as well as Omakase set menu; the venue presents itself as a bit dated; it's shady pine interior with the usual bamboo work and ghastly purple table cloths in the private dining room impressing no one. But you're not here to be charmed by the ornamentation; you're here to stuff yourself silly on the free-flow of fresh fish and seafood. And that's exactly what you should be doing.

The Hokkaido Buffet Experience is made available every day. For lunch from 11 30am to 2 30pm and dinnertime from 6pm to 10 30pm. Order from a full list of perennial favourite dishes at Hokkaido Sushi that includes Sashimi, Maki, Temaki, sushi, appetisers, Yakimomo (Grilled items), Itamemono (pan-fried items), Agemono (deep fried items) and a selection of Noodles and Rice. With seafood and fish flown in straight from Tsukiji market and Sapporo twice weekly, on Tuesdays and Fridays (we hope this hint doesn't fall on deaf ears); you're guaranteed freshness from the in-house chefs. 

For starters, the Pitan Tofu ($6) is a standout. cushiony soft tofu smothered in a goma savory century egg cream sauce and topped with mentaiko. The Ikura Chanwanmushi ($15) delivers waves of satisfaction stemming from its steamed custardy innards and a stockpile of ikura that detonates with umamified conviction.

Go wild on the vast selection of sashimi and sushi available on the buffet menu. I mean, ballistically crazed. There's nothing to hold you back from making repeated orders of Maguro, Mekajiki, Hamachi, Salmon, Tako with exception of the Scallop, being capped at a single serving per person to avoid a pathetic state of gluttony.

Then there's the sushi; the Mentai aburi Salmon bangs with a sweet caramelisation giving the savoury creamy mentai cap on the torched salmon, an edge. The Ebi Garlic Miso Aburi is also staggeringly good, the pronounced flavors of garlic pushing past the propensity of overcooked Japanese rice doused in just a little bit too much mirin. Attempting to drive up the dial on the passions settings; the Spicy paste Maguro may look deceptively virtuous, but the tiny glob of cream above head does retain quite a spicy kick.

And that's where the fairy-tale ends. It is possible to surmise that this is the end of your epicurean journey at Hokkaido Sushi unless you're willing to invest additional tummy real estate on mediocre Japanese dishes that are better off taking residence in the local hawker center. The Ginkarei Shioyaki ($22) done great injustice here with it's oily flesh pushed past acceptable limits on the stove - dry and dismal. The Ebi Tempura ($30/5pcs) are met with the same cold reception, its flavorless coating giving way to overcooked prawns. Faring a little better is the Pork with Ginger - a dish reminiscent of the usual Chinese wok-fried favourites, with the mirin and soy stewed onions making all the difference. Wagyu Mushroom is similarly uninspired; a platter of karubi beef stir fried with a medley of mushrooms, topped off with fried garlic bits. Sufficient to fill in the remaining gaps in the gut without provision of gratification of any permissible sort.

Enough said.

Sure, the standards don't implode on the palate. But for what its worth, $43++ to gorge yourself silly on fresh sashimi; only a fool would bear grudges.

Hokkaido Sushi
M Hotel
Level 9
81 Anson Road
t: 6221 3075

Operating Hours:
Mon - Sun: 11 30am - 2 30pm; 6pm - 10 30pm

1 comment:

Asian Fin said...

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