Southpaw Bar & Sushi – A Taste of Japan and Scotch Whisky
The perfect pairing of wine and food can elevate your dining experience. Whisky, though, can be a stumper. Most people like to enjoy whisky on its own, or with small snacks like nuts.
In fact, whisky can be a great dinner companion with food. At the 12-seater Californian style sushi bar, Southpaw, you can find omakase sets with whisky pairings. The restaurant is small and informal – the sushi counter and dining tables are merged. Hence, you can watch your dinner being made, right in front of your eyes.
Southpaw’s owner, Roy Ng, is a whisky connoisseur. He will be there on-site to share more about whisky pairing, and advise on the type of whisky that will best pair with a particular dish. If you’re more of a sake person, don’t worry, there’s also a range of sake available. Roy’s good friend, Kenny Khoo, helms the kitchen. Having worked in Nogawa and Tatsuya previously, Chef Kenny has more than 17 years of experience in Japanese cooking.
The menu features three omakase sets. The Omakase ume ($68++) comes with a mini bara chirashi, while the Omakase take ($98++) and Omakase matsu ($138++) comprise seven and nine assorted pieces of sushi respectively.
My night at Southpaw kickstarted with the $98++ omakase set. To begin, we were served a huge Canadian oyster with Glen Garioch 19 Year Old. Single malt whisky is the finest expression of whisky, made at a single distillery. Sweet and briny on the palate, this single cask whisky matches the appetizer flawlessly.
Think of pairing whisky with food like you’re adding sauce to a dish. I thought it was end of the story after I slurped my oyster and sipped my whisky, but no, I was then asked to pour some of the golden liquid into the empty shell. To my utmost surprise, the whisky tasted even lovelier with the salinity left behind in the shell.
Many of the garnishes, and even soya sauce, have been created or improved behind the small kitchen counter. These are the little touches which make Southpaw different from others. For example, the salmon carpaccio was topped with caviar and truffle-flavoured bonito flakes, specially made by Chef Kenny. The toasted bonito is packed with a lot of umami and the truffle flavour was pleasant, and not overpowering.
The quality of the fish, and the way that it is handled, is taken seriously at Southpaw. Dewy and smooth cuts of salmon, tuna and yellowtail, are served neatly with freshly grated wasabi.
The climax of the meal is the seven different types of sushi, which often includes seasonal treats. Chef briefly grilled some of the thin slices of raw fish over a stove to achieve that smokiness, before putting it together with sushi rice.
The Foie Gras on Scallop sushi and Aburi Salmon with Toasted Bonito Flakes sushi were delicious. So was the silver-skinned kohada with wakame, a rather rare type of sushi (at least to me). A sushi roll at the end completes the experience, before we were served fresh clams soup and dessert.
If you prefer a shorter and simpler dinner, order the Special Chirashi ($38) which boasts generous portions of seasoned sashimi cubes on a bed of well-seasoned vinegared rice. Interestingly, there is also crunchy burdock root and radish which Chef pickled himself.
The whisky menu is rather extensive. Some of the choices are Speymalt from Macallan 2007 ($13++ a dram, $215++ a bottle), Benromach 10 Year Old ($12++ a dram, $200++ a bottle) and The Ten 2008 #3 Light Highland-Clynelish New Release ($14++ a dram, $155++ a bottle). There is also a selection of sakes and beers.
Southpaw Bar & Sushi
Address: 11 Cavan Road, Cavan Suites, #01-04 Singapore 209848
Mobile: +65 91011941
Opening Hours: 6pm – 12am (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun
This post was brought to you by Southpaw Bar & Sushi.