Singapore is as much a food haven as it is a shopping paradise. Opened just last April, Wakuda is the new headliner in fine dining experiences at Marina Bay Sands—and with good reason. Wakuda presents “a vibrant, artful collision of time and culture that captures the tension between tradition and modernity through cuisine, design and art.”
The interior design, courtesy of Rockwell Group, beautifully captures Chef Tetsuya’s culinary philosophy: a time-honoured Japanese wood joinery craft, Kumiki, is applied throughout the contemporary restaurant, with original artworks by Japanese artist Jun Inoue adorning the ceilings. But before one could look upwards, it is the picturesque Japanese maple tree framed by expansive floor-to-ceiling windows that captivates the eyes first. It gives you the feeling of being transported to another world, despite the restaurant being located in the lobby of Marina Bay Sands Hotel Tower 2.
BAZAAR took time to talk to Chef Tetsuya Wakuda to get the lowdown on his new restaurant.
How is Wakuda different from other Japanese restaurants in Singapore? What makes it unique?
Wakuda is an authentic yet forward-thinking Japanese restaurant with a menu inspired by the seasons. We serve modern Japanese classics that are familiar but done in our own unique style. From classic zensai (appetisers), Wakuda-style sushi and tempura, to cold sobas, high-quality plates of yakimono (grill) and housemade desserts, our extensive à la carte menu presents a diverse selection of dishes for solo diners, small groups and large parties to enjoy.
At Wakuda, diners can look forward to savouring the freshest produce from exclusive suppliers in Okinawa, and sakes specially brewed in Shizuoka and Toyama just for Wakuda. Every component used in our cooking is also made fresh in small batches to ensure quality and consistency–from our in-house tempura batter mix and original sauces for sukiyaki and dips, to our own methods of curing and ageing seafood.
In terms of layout, Wakuda is a large, open communal style with just one exclusive enclave for private dining, and this is exactly how we envisioned the restaurant to be – less formal, more fun, and approachable. Our partnership with 50 Eggs Hospitality Group also means that diners can expect a certain level of edginess and modernity in the overall dining experience. The Group is all about bold concepts and pushing the envelope, and you can see it in WAKUDA’s striking design, from the picturesque Japanese maple trees to the captivating ceiling art pieces by Japanese artist Jun Inoue.
Which dishes are a must-try for first-timers?
One of my personal favourites is the Yuba – it is a simple dish that is big on flavours. We source for fresh yuba (beancurd skin) from an artisan in Kyoto, and serve it with uni, tonburi (mountain caviar), dashi gelee and myoga. It is presented in a beautiful martini glass, so diners can give it a good mix before enjoying all the components together. Other must-try dishes include the cold soba, which we serve with botan shrimp and oscietra caviar in a truffle sauce topped with shaved mushrooms and white negi, as well as our premium selection of sushi.
What local ingredient has inspired you most, and how did you incorporate it into a dish at Wakuda?
Quality ingredients are at the heart of Wakuda’s cuisine; the starting point behind every dish created and served at the restaurant. Given Singapore’s strategic location, we are able to source for the finest seasonal ingredients globally, ranging from Tasmanian ocean trout to carabineros from Spain and ora king salmon from New Zealand. We also use a fine selection of supreme quality produce from Japan, such as Tokujyo AA uni from Hokkaido, well-marbled A5 wagyu and black pork from Kagoshima, fresh, artisanal yuba (fresh beancurd skin) from Kyoto, as well as exclusive Okinawan produce such as sodeika (squid), umibudo (sea grapes) and mozuku (Okinawan seaweed). When it comes to ingredients, quality always comes first no matter their origins.