Omote Singapore launches their second outlet in Raffles City on 15 November 2022. In contrast to their expansive menu at their flagship outlet, the “Omote Cosmo” menu at their City Hall branch pares the selection down to their most best-selling bowls as well as a range of sharing plates, including some outlet exclusives such as the buttery Hiratake Shrooms.
For the uninitiated, Omote certainly has a remarkable origin story. Since their humble beginnings three years ago as an unassuming 12-seater named Sushiro in the food hall of Thomson Plaza (not to be confused with the popular Japanese sushi chain which recently opened outlets in Tiong Bahru and Shaw Centre) and their eventual disruption of the Japanese casual dining scene in Singapore with their friendly-priced bara chirashi bowls (which spawned an entire sub-genre of dining and countless imitators in Singapore), the concept has gone from strength to strength, tripling their seating capacity after their first move to a shopfront closer to the entrance of the mall before eventually moving three floors up to a space again triple their previous size and now trading under their current Omote brand.
Social media posts from and about the restaurant have gone viral several times, including one instance where the humour in the restaurant’s intentionally obtuse and nonsensically grandiloquent captions describing the pictured dishes – supposedly inspired by a staff game of reverse pictionary – flew right over the heads of many and inspired disbelief over the perceived influencer-style pretentious food-writing.
The chirashi bowls that made their way into the Omote Raffles City menu include the classic Omote Chirashi, Upsized Chirashi, Salmon Booster Chirashi, Umami Soy Chirashi, Truffle Roasted Garlic Chirashi, Grilled Unagi Chirashi and Tamago Mentai Chirashi. My favourite would be the Spicy Triple Chirashi Don, which introduces a spicy lobster meat to rice bedfellows spicy salmon tartare and marinated diced seafood. The spicy lobster evokes longings for Hawaiian pizza with its alluringly smoky and almost ham-like meaty charms, while the salmon tartare possesses a seductive ash-fiery feistiness.
The donburi selection comprises the Unagi Kabayaki Don, Garlic Yakiniku Don, Grilled Salmon Teriyaki Don, Osaka Yakiniku Don and Grilled Salmon Mentaiyaki Don. The Spicy Yakiniku Don (fine layered beef cuts, thinned onions, peppercorn spices, oriental chillis) sees soy and chilli padi take the stringily chewy and milky beef creation to naughty places, while my first ever experience with the Grilled Salmon Belly Teriyaki Don made me decide to ask the restaurant if it wanted to apply for a Punggol BTO with me:
“The two humongous slabs of salmon belly – which fit the bowl as well as a Pes E soldier fits into his Primary Six uniform – were so gloriously molten that they were virtually pornographic in mouthly gratification, and so luxuriously oily that said oils were positively and literally dripping off their edges (as the corner of the picture captures). Share with a friend to avoid salmon belly saturation.”
Aside from the famed bowls, the Omote Raffles City menu also offers a variety of sharing sides. The Asari Garlic Flambe was Two Chefs tze char-esque with its assertive spice, enthralling butteriness and overall appetite-encouraging game, with the sauce begging for a baguette or mantou for some life-bettering dipping. The mod-sin Singaporean-Inspired Chilli Crab was shrewdly audacious in how it turned the classic dish on its head. Sharing significant DNA with the Asari Garlic Flambe in terms of ingredient make-up, the dish possessed a happy crunchiness from the fried soft shell crab and garlic which prevented the sweet chilli crab proceedings from ever getting too sticky and cloying. The Prime Beef Tataki was a surprise – whilst the beef tataki itself was commendable for its tuna sashimi-grade softness, it was ultimately a canvas for the gloriousness of the ground wasabi root, which played it all dominatrix-kinky crunchy Chinese pickled vegetables-esque in how it would keep firing explosive, tear-inducing wasabi fumes up your nostrils even though your airways may ostensibly be in sweet wasabi pain. The miso-centric Koji Saba (young ginger, sweet wine, cherry shrimp) was all boneless and smoky mackerel pleasure, while the Black Truffle Tako Karaage (triple fried octopus, white truffle cream, black truffle shavings) delivered its karaage comfort with a luxuriously buoyant crunch.
A marked feature of the Omote Cosmo menu would be the flashes of Korean influences across the menu. Dishes such as Black Pork Kimbap (chargrilled kurobuta, yachae danmuji, spicy dip) and the sweet-spicy Amakara Korean Wings (spicy miso jang, aosa, roasted nuts) make appearances, while Omote’s Classic Beef Strip Steak is given a Korean-style makeover as the “Cosmo” Classic Strip Steak with Korean-style pairing sauces and condiments. Most notable, the $9.80 “Power-Up” set allows you to banchan-ize any main order with a tray of various small side dishes such as Zensai (seasonal appetiser), Sakizuke (small dish with local ingredients), Oshinogi (light dish), Hassun (seasonal ingredients), Mamul (seasoned vegetables), Mareunchan (dried pairing snacks), Sunomono (vinegared dish), Owan (warm soup), Saengche (fresh vegetables) and Mizumono (dessert).
Elsewhere, Korean-style beverages such as Honey Citron Tea, Jeju Passionfruit Tea and Jeju Hallabong Tea feature in the restaurant’s Croffles tea-time menu (croissant waffles with your choice of French Vanilla, Nutty Cocoa or Matcha Cream ice cream) which is available daily from 2.30pm to 4.30pm.
While many of the dishes at Omote’s flagship outlet such as their Wasabi Power Chirashi Don and Crispy Garlic Corn are dearly missed, the Omote Cosmo menu does consolidate the restaurant’s greatest hits at a much more central and accessible location. My hope is that anybody who is first introduced to the world of Omote via Omote Raffles City will eventually make their way (Thomson-East Coast Line yay) to the flagship outlet to truly experience the full extent of what made Omote Singapore such a national sensation.
P.S. The restaurant has reached a stage where they have their own range of collectible items bearing the likeness of its mascot polar bear, ranging from soy sauce bottles and plush bears to the limited edition chopstick slips which changes every few months. To commemorate their Raffles City launch, the restaurant is giving away free collectibles – think soy sauce bottles, acrylic keychains and enamel pins – every week from now until 19 December 2022 with every minimum spend of $80 per receipt.
Omote Raffles City
252 North Bridge Road #B1-44C
Raffles City Shopping Centre