Kinki: Maki with a View

If you're looking for the best maki in Singapore, Kinki won't be it. But if it's #makiwithaview that you're seeking, the casual establishment sporting stunning panoramic view of the bay area sees little competition in this aspect.

Kinki is famous for two things: their makis and Japanese anime decorum which translates into their convivial dining atmosphere. The space makes use of the abundant natural light and their open-air entertainment quarters on the top deck to shake off the austerity and stuffiness shrouding the dining establishments in the bay area. It's important to note the beverage offerings; this is first and foremost an after-work watering hole. Once you're seated, a spirited menu packed with refreshing sakes and fizzy beers is called to your attention. I would admit that it's either an old-school dining sensibility or a money-making strategy. Needless to say, we welcome the gesture with open arms (and livers), and order carafe of Echigo Tsurukame Junmai from Niigata prefecture. One does have to whet one's appetite, after all.

We started off with a combination of Tai and Hamachi Sashimi (5pcs each ranging from $23 - $25 a serve). The chefs here don't sting on portion sizes and the precisely carved slices of fish carry some heft to it. The Hamachi doesn't make a firm an impression as the Tai, it's neither buttery nor luscious, finishing on the palate with little enthusiasm. Thankfully, the delicate sweetness of the Tai made up for grievances, flourishing us with beautiful seaworthy notes that reaffirmed the diner as a proper Japanese restaurant.

As the sun slowly sets behind the ominous heights of Marina Bay Sands, you'll find the restaurant packing in locals and tourists alike. It's the kind of place you can have a first date, catch up with friends or even bring your parents to for dinner. The menu doesn't alienate; reading like what you'll find a run-off-the-mill Japanese restaurant, littered with the greatest hits Kitsune Udon, Beef Teriyaki, Tempura and California Rolls, but the execution is far and beyond orthodox. Each given a quick fairy dusting of finesse and quirkiness.

We sussed out the maki range, which proves to be wildly mind-boggling for the indecisive mind, like mine. Settling for the Spider Roll ($24) - complete with deep fried soft shell crab which arrived a glorious gold with wanly pink tails still in tact; it's pop of colour provides a quick relief from the mundanity of CBD life which pre-exists just a hop away. Another best-seller, the Unagi and Hokkaido Scallops Maki Tempura Roll ($29) builds on a fantasy version of Japanese food for the white folk (aka LA version of Japanese cuisine), the outlandish tempura seaweed roll, cut to reveal monstrosities of unagi, Hokkaido scallop, snow crab and wait, what? avocado in its cross section. As awkward as the combination reads, the overall product proved to be a gustatory jigsaw. The avocado warmed just enough to be reduced to a slight mush round the edges, while its creamy innards provide the expected bits of 'winning' formula in juxtaposition to the crisp exterior.  

Spider Roll

The Tiger Prawns Tempura ($22) is a must-order, generous in the sizing of their crustaceans, these are given a lovely king's coat worthy tempura batter. Scoring 'A' in the looks department, you WILL resort to getting your tongue burnt to lay your hands on these faster than your companion. Those who lust for meat would be wise to order the Crispy Pork Belly with Spicy Goma Sauce ($38), kurobuta pork belly comes torched, tangled in a generous schmear of briny, spicy sesame sauce. The perfect roulade of caramelised fats and tender meat brought back to life in that rich sauce, bearing reminiscence of red miso. It's pungent and assertive; a testament that the menu had been designed around the beverage offering.

Kinki is not here to reinvent the wheel, nor trumpet a culinary revolution, but its a reminder that there are very few things that will never go out of fashion in Singapore. And aside from waterfront dining, colourful maki rolls alongside cold sake is another one of them.
Unagi and Hokkaido Scallops Maki Tempura Roll
Crispy Pork Belly with Spicy Goma Sauce

70 Collyer Quay
#02-02 Customs House

Operating Hours:
Mon - Sat: 12 - 3pm, 6 - 11pm
Sun: Closed

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