Update June 2020: Rizu has closed.
Nestled in the hip (and regrettably unexplored by yours truly) neighbourhood of Duxton Hill is RIZU Sushi and Modern Japanese Cuisine, an understated restaurant that opened its doors in late August 2018.
Housed in a minimalist 30-seater space, Duxton Hill’s latest addition derived its name from the words ri (a deep blue prized gemstone that signifies good luck and harmony) and zu (meaning “joy” and the use of cherished gems).
Arriving one quiet weekday evening, we were immediately ushered to an intimate table for two, with smooth jazzy beats permeating the atmosphere. Rizu’s specialty is its assorted live fish (which I’ll elaborate on later), with three omakase sets available: Modern ($150+), Fresh Five ($150+), and Special ($200+).
The Special Omakase presents a journey for the senses, with eleven dishes (including dessert) to tantalise your tastebuds. An assortment of 3 Assorted Cold Appetizers ($12+ ala carte), namely edamame (not pictured), potato foam with caviar, and oyster with gelée ($6+ per piece ala carte), set the tone for the evening’s experience, along with the 5 Kinds Tomato Salad which was delightfully refreshing.
While sake pairings are not available for the Special Omakase, we certainly wish they are! We had such an enjoyable time pairing our food with Rizu’s sake selection. And what’s not to love about their collection of beautiful sake cups?
Rizu’s strength in seafood comes to the fore with the Ikeduri ($95+ ala carte), a show stopping bounty of Boston lobster, South Korean abalone, striped jack, salmon, and tuna sashimi.
The lobster flesh was delicately diced and extremely tender; I could taste the freshness with every bite. The abalone sashimi yielded a springy texture that reminded me of fresh squid, while the salmon won us over with its sinfully fatty flesh that released an umami bomb on our tastebuds.
Every component in this piece was assembled with the utmost care and attention, from the placement of the decorative leaves, to the intricate cuttings of the butterfly shaped carrot pieces. A definite feast for the eyes and the mouth.
It would certainly be tough to top that, but it was time to move on after we picked the last morsels with our chopsticks. Rizu delivered with the 5- Piece Nigiri ($30+ ala carte), an assortment of sea bream, fatty tuna, golden eye snapper, striped jack, and sea eel.
Personally, I felt the fatty tuna slightly lacking in that fatty aspect; my piece did not yield as thick a bite I expected. The golden eye snapper also had just a little too much wasabi, and the sudden heat definitely caught me off guard.
The striped jack was as consistent as ever, however, and the sea eel provided a sweet contrast to the other sushi pieces.
After a couple rounds of chilled raw fish, we were ready for something warm. The lobster from our ikeduri made a re-appearance in the fifth course, Lobster Bisque Soup. The welcoming aroma from the bisque took over our senses as soon as it arrived at our table, and we wasted no time tucking in!
A second hot appetiser of Foie Gras Sauté with Plum Sauce and Sweetened Fig was the next dish to grace our table. Rich and fatty in texture and flavour, it’s easy to see why many consider foie gras a sinful indulgence. Just as I was wondering if I was going to be too full before the mains, the sweetened fig cut through the richness with a welcome, tarty taste.
After a refreshing cup of sherbet to cleanse our palates, it was time to the move to the mains!
With my expectations set high after a series of stunning appetisers, Rizu’s mains fell a little short. The Miso Marinated Grilled Black Cod ($30+ ala carte) arrived nicely plated like its predecessors. While grilled beautifully, my dining partner and I felt the cod was a little bland, though the snow peas added some much needed crunch and sweetness.
We departed the flavours of the sea momentarily for the Wagyu A4 Steak with Special Wasabi Sauce. Here, the meat had beautiful marbling, a pity for the meat was a tad tough. I would have also preferred if the temperature was just a notch higher at the time of consumption. Still, the colours on this plate were oh so pretty!
Our journey into the flavours of the land and the sea continued with Rizu’s rice dishes. After all those rich offerings from the kitchen, it was nice to tuck into Abalone Risotto ($30+ ala carte). This relatively simple tasting dish warmed and comforted our bellies with every spoonful.
The Wagyu Truffles Sukiyaki Rice Bowl ($35+ ala carte) is a comparatively rich rice dish that can only be described as a beautiful mess – in a good way! Topped with a generous amount of truffle shavings, wagyu sukiyaki, and flavoured daikon, this is the dish to go for if you are, for some reason, still feeling ravenous. The accompanying bowl of miso soup was equally flavourful, and can be considered a meal on its own with the rice bowl.
Sadly, all good things must come to an end. But here’s something to cheer you up: ending your Special Omakase on a sweet note! And I can’t think of a better candidate than the Crumble, Pear Gelée and Pear with Vanilla Ice Cream – refreshing, sweet, and not too rich to the point where we would walk out bloated and groaning.
While there were a few hits and misses tonight, Rizu wowed us with a perfectly paced evening of gastronomic indulgence. At $200+ per pax, the Special Omakase is pretty worth bang for buck if you’re looking to sample (almost) the entire course of Rizu’s menu. The sublime freshness and craftsmanship behind their ikeduri and nigiri is enough to warrant a revisit when the craving for modern Japanese cuisine strikes.
Thank you for having us and showering us with your warm hospitality!