Update June 2020: Mai has closed.
Fancy Omakase that doesn’t break the bank? MAI 舞 by Dashi Master Marusaya may just be what you’re looking for.
Located a stone’s throw from Outram Park MRT Station, MAI’s 38-seater premises are housed in an odd-shaped building on Bukit Pasoh Road. From the elegant, wood-themed entrance to the inviting warm lights of the sushi bar and private booths, diners are treated to the feeling of being whisked away to the elegant world of Japanese dining the moment they step in.
Running the show at MAI by Dashi Master Marusaya is Chef Hiroyuki Ono, a Fukushima native who has honed his skills at various Michelin 1-star restaurants. Japanese, of course.
Priced at $88++ per pax, the newly launched Signature Sushi & Dashi Omakase brings the satisfying experience of Omakase at an affordable price point. Comprising a seasonal appetiser, 2 kinds sashimi, tamago, vinegar sauce dish, sushi, miso soup, and dessert, each dish represents a journey for the palate.
The seasonal appetiser of the night, the Hotaru Ika (Firefly Squid) with Japanese Kai Lan and Katsuobushi (Skipjack Tuna), is a dish created to celebrate Spring. With its vibrant colours and zesty flavours, the hotaru ika yields a pleasant bite.
Often mistaken for a dessert dish, the Black Sesame Tofu with Ikura in Dashi Stock bears testament to the restaurant’s roots in dashi based cooking. Following the burst of flavours from is predecessor, the black sesame tofu is subtle in taste, allowing the umami notes of the ikura to come to the fore.
While a private booth affords you coziness and a space to carry out mealtime conversations, a seat at the sushi counter offers mesmerising views of Chef Ono at work preparing each dish. The 3-Kinds Sashimi is, of course, one of the dishes everyone looks forward to the most.
For this evening, we have the Geoduck, Sawara (Spanish Mackerel), and Chutoro (Medium Fatty Tuna). It goes without saying that the chutoro is the most enjoyable, with its intense fattiness lending it its famous, rich flavour.
The next dish, Tamago (Japanese Omelette) in Dashi Stock topped with Katsuobushi, marks a point where comfort food comes to the fore. The fluffy texture of the tamago, combined with the rich, warm notes of the dashi stock, is a delight to sink your teeth into. Soft and dense like an edible cloud!
For tempura lovers, the Sakura Ebi with Ashitaba (Angelica Keiskei, also known as Tomorrow’s Leaf) with Matcha Salt and Japanese Lime is a welcome addition to the Omakase line up. Crunchy with just a hint of salt and oil, the tempura pairs well with the matcha salt.
To experience Chef Ono’s attention to detail, look no further than the Hokkaido Hairy Crab (Kegani) with Sweet Vinegar Sauce topped with Uni (Sea Urchin) with Shiso Flower and Caviar. This was one of the dishes I enjoyed the most, both for its visual elements and flavours. Savour this delicately assembled dish with each spoonful!
In the oft chance you find yourself worn out by the constant stream of seafood, the Iwate Wagyu with Bamboo Shoot and Japanese Kai Lan in Sukiyaki Sauce provides welcome respite from the land. Boasting fork-tender wagyu, this hot dish takes comfort food to the next level. With the bamboo shoot and Japanese kai lan soaked generously in sukiyaki sauce, there’s nothing not to love about this dish.
Now comes the highlight of the Signature Sushi & Dashi Omakase – Chef Ono’s sushi course! I must say watching him press each piece of sushi together is rather therapeutic.
Starting with the Aburi Otoro (Tuna Belly) Temaki, which Chef Ono cheekily dubbed the Japanese sandwich. This richly flavoured, bite-sized treat went down quickly, leaving us wanting more.
Following that, it’s time to head into the nigiri sushi. What I love about the sushi at MAI by Dashi Master Marusaya, is the way different elements are combined together to create something more complex and outstanding.
While the Wild Fresh Tai (Red Snapper) with Tai Liver Nigiri packed many flavours into one bite, it was the Marinated Akami Maguro and Aburi Otoro (Flame Seared Tuna Belly) Nigiri that caught me by surprise. Tuna two ways in one piece of sushi? Sign me right up!
The Ika (Squid) with Yuzu topped with Caviar Nigiri is one to remember for its combination of fresh ika with an indulgent ingredient, caviar. Love how the umami notes of the caviar helped elevate the taste of the ika.
Tuna makes yet another (welcome) appearance in the Hotate (Scallop) and Chutoro (Medium Fatty Tuna) Nigiri. Here, the richness of the chutoro comes together with the hotate’s fresh flavours for a match made in heaven. Seafood lovers, this one’s for you.
Enjoy “something from the land and something from the sea”, as Toto-chan’s headmaster once put it, with the Kuruma Ebi (Japanese Tiger Prawn) Stuffed with Egg.
Following all that nigiri is our second temaki for the night, the Kinmedai (Splendid Alfonsino) and Uni (Sea Urchin) Temaki.
Rounding up the sushi course is the Unagi (Eel), Cucumber and Otoro (Tuna Belly) Maki Topped with Ikura (Salmon Roe). Love the combination of different types of seafood, from the unagi to the delicately chopped otoro!
After all those dazzling treats, it’s hard to say no when Chef Ono offers you a taste of more of his sushi prowess. The Saba (Mackerel) with Momiji Oroshi (Spicy Grated Daikon Radish) Nigiri absolutely delights with a touch of spice that brings this otherwise earthy tasting fish to a new level. And before you scoff at Japanese spice, be warned, for the momiji oroshi really packs a punch!
Last but not least, the Otoro (Tuna Belly), Takuwan (Sweet Pickled Daikon Radish) and Wasabi Konbu (Kelp) Hosomaki marked a perfect end to the sushi course. Bite-sized too, as we were positively stuffed at this point thanks to our evening of indulgence.
For dessert, enjoy a plump Daifuku (Mochi stuffed with Strawberry) along with your choice of coffee or tea. A traditional, tasty way of concluding our Omakase indeed!
For a wallet-friendly Omakase experience, look no further than MAI by Dashi Master Marusaya. With dishes in rotation, no two meals are alike!
Address: 46 Bukit Pasoh Road
Nearest MRT: Outram Park EW16/NE3/TE17
Monday to Saturday: 12pm – 2.30pm (last order 2pm), 6pm – 11pm (last order 10pm)
Closed on Sunday
Contact: +65 6327 8414/ firstname.lastname@example.org