It’s been a while since I ate anything noteworthy in the island. Sevens Kappo is one of those standout experiences that tries to give you a taste of Japan in the humble Tiong Bahru enclave. I do think it’s one of the best of breed Kappo in Singapore, but some slight misses in terms of execution.
This brings me to my experiences in juggernauts RyuGin and Taian in Tokyo and Osaka respectively, which I still think of fondly every now and then. It’s not often a Michelin restaurant fries ginger root and stuffs them with creamy and fresh uni, which makes it so, so memorable.
Sevens Kappo’s dinner omakase MATSU is a spread of 8 dishes including dessert. Priced at SGD 238, you are surely getting premium ingredients here, from fresh seabream to Hokkaido Bafun Uni, the melt-in-your-mouth chuttoro and the amberjack, not to mention 7-day houseaged truffle shoyu playfully enhanced with Japanese chrysanthemum flowers.
There is always something satisfying to see Chef Haru prepare the dishes in an intimate counter and for you to witness summer black truffles shaved over a bed of red seabream sashimi. The chef finishes it with a flamboyant spray of gold pixie dust, and that is where I think the entire experience has slightly veered off my expectations.
My taste is always towards simplicity. I would have loved it with just seabream. Just seabream. No gold pixie dusts. If any, the showmanship is meant to attract people in the age of Instagram and TikTok.
But I can see Chef Haru’s potential beyond the smoke and mirrors. Take for example, the humble chawanmushi elevated by Chef Haru. I thought the Mushimono was the best. There was nothing so satisfying than eating the softest egg and finding a treasure in the form of hairy crab. Succulent and meaty. Just shows how much prowess Chef Haru has in his belt if the other dishes are dialed down from its performative intentions.
The Hassun, a trio of seasonal starters beginning with the slow braised Octopus leg, boiled vegetables and snail, is not my favorite, though a great opening to MATSU. I wasn’t a fan of the smoke coming out of the counters. Admittedly, the emulation of molecular gastronomy is a feat unusual in Singapore. Meanwhile Sawa Kani or the small River Crab is meaty and lush inside. Yes they are edible.
Meanwhile everyone agreed that the Uni Toro temaki was to die for. The Hokkaido Bafun Uni makes its appearance, because well, the season of summer makes it the star of the omakase. Underneath it is a bed of toro and toasted bread, bringing a natural crunch and balance to it, albeit strange to my palate. Chef Haru sprinkles it with snow salt, so beautiful and mesmerizing to watch under the spotlight. However, I am apologetic to say that the Bafun Uni temperature is slightly warmer than I expected and overpowered by its accompaniments. See Shinji by Kanesaka for what I mean. Temperature is everything.
I was full by the time the donabe makes its appearance as the main course, and I would say I love the softness of the bed of squid ink rice mixed with grilled black fish, baby silver fish and bamboo shoots. I like the Ikura enough and the seasonal pickled raddish brings the right acidity to cut through it. This is one heavy omakase.
Chef Haru encourages us to eat it with the crispy nori, though I am fond to eat it as it is.
My least favorite dish was the Agemono, a fried lotus root and shrimp paste abed tartar sauce.
Finally the dessert is none other than the juiciest and sweetest melon from Shizuoka and a custard mochi, which was spectacular. Bouncy, not too heavy in the stomach and a great finisher to a summer omakase. Brings me memories again of the nitrogen grapes back at RyuGin in Tokyo.
At the end of the kappo experience, you’re parted with a gift — Sevens Kappo’s customized chopsticks.
If you’re looking for a wildly entertaining omakase, I highly recommend Sevens Kappo. Reservations are required.