Sushi Shin is definitely no newcomer to the food scene of Tai Hang, it was one of the first high-end Japanese restaurants to open in the area, way back in 2009 when Tai Hang was still relatively restaurant-scarce. The owners are a group of young chefs from the popular Kenjo Japanese Restaurant. As such, many elements of the restaurant décor and food preparation closely resemble that of Kenjo. Being one of the only high-end sushi joints in the area, it was initially very popular, and trying to land a table at Sushi Shin was no easy task. But with more and more competitors joining the fray, the crowds have slowly dwindled down over the years. So, after walking past its doors for the past 7 years, I finally decided to go inside to take a look, but with the experience I got, I felt that it may also be the last time I walk through those doors…
I arrived on a weekday afternoon with the intention of trying their omakase lunch. The restaurant was quite packed with many regulars and families. The tables are very close to each other and coupled with the low ceiling the result was a very noisy restaurant. I requested a seat at the sushi counter as I wanted to watch the sushi chefs perform their craft. There were 5 sushi chefs behind the counter with I think 3 more inside the kitchen and 3 waiting staff. That’s a lot of staff for such a small restaurant.
With the restaurant trying to turn tables as quickly as possible, Sushi Shin possibly took a page from Australia Dairy Co. The waiting staff took our orders while we were still waiting for our tables and my Chawanmushi was on the table waiting for me as soon as I sat down. The speedy custard was a disappointment however, as it was watery and bland. Despite seeing lots of herbs and ingredients in the egg custard, the flavour of these ingredients were not apparent at all.
Sometime while I was still finishing my Chawanmushi, my first piece of sushi arrived, quickly followed by another. Sushi was flying out of the counter in pairs, yet the chef never spoke nor explained what each piece was. I had to ask him each time for what I was eating.
Chu-toro is definitely one of my favourites when it comes to sushi, however the piece I received was utterly destroyed by the heavy-handed wasabi. Another disappointment. It was at this time I was brought my bowl of miso soup. I tried to ask the waitress if it was intentional to serve it so early but she seemed to be focused on something else and apparently didn’t hear me. In the end I just decided to push it aside and eat my sushi first.
These sushi rolls were prepared by the junior chef. They were intended to be served near the end of the meal, but the junior chef made it early, and the chef served it anyways. Mistakes aside, it was actually quite delicious, but listening to the chef scolding the junior chef while I was eating my toro sort of ruined the moment.
The scallop was nice and sweet, dressed lightly with pepper and lime.
The marinated tuna had a firm texture with an oddly strong scallion flavour.
The ginger and onion on the top slightly overpowered the milder fatty tuna flavour.
This had to be my favourite piece of the meal. The fish was extremely delicate and rich, it came apart and melted beautifully in my mouth releasing the lovely flavours. Heavenly!
The surf clam was another heavy-handed wasabi flavoured sushi. Coughed up a few times and had to quickly flush it down with tea, what a waste.
The sea urchin was not too bad but slightly too cold, affecting the creamy flavour.
The egg signifies the end of the meal. The egg served here was more firm and less sweet than other variations I’ve had. Dessert was a choice between ice cream or coffee, I went for a sesame flavoured ice cream which was pretty nice.
Overall, I felt the quality of the ingredients used at Sushi Shin was pretty good, yet wasted in the hands of inexperienced chefs. In the short 45mins that I was there I watched as the chef threw away at least 10 pieces of sushi that were either burnt, poorly cut or broken. Such a waste of good ingredients. When surrounded by incompetent junior chefs who can’t even sear fish properly, the chef owner had to sacrifice time that should’ve been spent interacting with the customers and keeping up food quality into telling off his staff. With all the food being thrown away and insults being thrown out, I felt like I was sitting through an episode of Hell’s Kitchen. Not an experience that makes me want to come back.
Sushi Shin 鮨辰
Opening Hours: Mon to Sat: 12:00-14:30, 18:00-22:30, Sun: 12:00-14:30,18:00-22:00
Tel: 2398 8000