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Teppanyaki seems like a past tense to many as we are more than happy eating sushi and omakase in a nice restaurant without having to go home with smoky hair. However, I am always thrilled to see the dishes cooked right in front of me and won’t mind the grease at all (just like how I enjoy mookata too).

The name “SHIMA” brought back memories to many people. When I posted a shot of my dinner, I get replies from my friends about how their parents always visit SHIMA for a good teppanyaki meal. Located at Goodwood Park Hotel, the restaurant was opened by Katsuhiro Watanabe in 1980, a former Singapore resident who has since retired back to Japan. In the last three decades, SHIMA continued to build upon a reputation of offering a premium Japanese dining experience in the heart of the city.

Last year, SHIMA was bought over by JR Foods and and plans for a major facelift were put in place. This year, after a month-long renovation, SHIMA reopens – backed by the pioneer team of chefs that were trained by Japanese master chefs in the 1980s – and continues its vision of serving up a high-end teppanyaki experience that encompasses quality food, service and ambience.

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Teppanyaki remains the signature cuisine of SHIMA today, featuring quality produce prepared with time-honoured recipes that were passed down from the early Japanese Master Chefs. Even though the restaurant has been refurbished, one thing that never changes is the one-inch thick cast-iron griddles that were fitted on the teppanyaki tables. Custom made in Japan, the same griddles have been used in the restaurant for the last 34 years for good reason. They have been well-seasoned over the years and allow for extremely even cooking.

At the media tasting, we got to sample the popular weekday Teppanyaki buffet lunch ($49.90++) which comes with free flow salmon sashimi, tempura, assorted meats, seafood, vegetables, garlic rice, miso soup and dessert. Their teppanyaki buffet lunch is also available on weekends at $59.90++ with a few additional dishes. If you drop by for dinner, they only serve ala-carte. The teppanyaki buffet lunch offers the best value.

Everyone gathers in a group around teppanyaki grills, ate the starters before watching in delight as the chef performs, searing salmon, meats, seafood and more. Serving us that night was SHIMA’s Sous Chef Victor Yok, who joined the restaurant since 1984. He took great control of the heat, constantly using his hands to “feel” the griddles to ensure that they are well heated, maintaining an optimal temperature of 180°C to 200°C, before placing the ingredients. Then he let the ingredients sizzle, turning over the food to cook on each side with precision; resulting in perfectly cooked morsels seared with a nice crust for added texture and flavour while retaining their juices.

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Premium beef at SHIMA is sourced from the best farms in Japan and America, and Wagyu-lovers can feast on top-notch A5 Wagyu ribeyes from esteemed farms in Kagoshima ($140++ per 100g) cooked to preference. For the lunch buffet, Australian tenderloin is usually served. But the chef slipped us US Tenderloin ($45 per 120g) from the ala carte menu that night. Very grateful for his generosity.

A seasonal assortment of seafood is air-flown twice a week from Japan’s famed Tsukiji Market to ensure quality and freshness. One of SHIMA’s signature dishes, the Poached Salmon ($25++) features Norwegian salmon gently simmered on a aluminium containers, placed on the griddles and pour with SHIMA’s secret sauce. End result? The salmon is cooked to a silky perfection and I drank up all the secret sauce too.

Besides offering top-notch produce, the chefs also painstakingly make most of the accompanying sauces in-house. The Goma Sauce takes over half a day to prepare, from the fine milling of sesame seeds to the adding of stock, double straining and reducing the mixture over low heat for a smooth creamy result; while SHIMA’s flavoursome Teriyaki sauce, which coats tender pieces of chicken thigh cooked on griddle, follows a recipe from the 1980s.

Not sure about positioning it as a fine dining restaurant but SHIMA definitely has not lost its charm on serving good quality Japanese teppanyaki food. Even though I leave the restaurant smelling like grease, I don’t mind coming back again to enjoy their good value teppanyaki buffet lunch.

SHIMA
Address : Level 1, Goodwood Park Hotel
22 Scotts Road, Singapore 228221
Tel: +65 6734 6281
Website : www.facebook.com/ShimaRestaurantSingapore
Operating Hours : Lunch from 12noon to 3pm; Dinner from 6pm to 10pm