As the world’s borders began closing over the Covid-19 pandemic, acclaimed chef and intrepid traveller Tetsuya Wakuda found himself grounded in Singapore where he has remained over the past year. “It’s the longest time I have ever stayed put in one country,” he laughs. But it was a time put to good use as he poured himself into the rebirth of his two-MICHELIN-starred restaurant Waku Ghin at Marina Bay Sands.
Now, after nearly two years of extensive renovations, Waku Ghin is set to re-open on 1 March with a new look and all-new dining experiences including a sleek new bar for custom cocktails, private dining and a debut a la carte menu alongside its signature Chef’s Table.
Wakuda has plumbed his Japanese roots for every aspect of the revamp from design inspiration to the menu.
Watch this video for an exclusive first look at the new Waku Ghin:
Designed by award-winning Japanese designer Yohei Akao, the dining space features a minimalist design that integrates natural materials that pay ode to nature and heritage. Past the imposing cherry wood doors, diners are greeted by a majestic two-tonne stone sculpture from Shikoku in the reception area before they are ushered into The Bar at Waku Ghin.
The bar extends to a comfortable dining area where Wakuda will introduce his cuisine in an approachable a la carte menu for the first time, featuring pastas, donburis, and indulgent bar bites to go with bespoke Japanese cocktails by head bartender Kazuhiro Chii. “I wanted people to be able to come more casually,” explains the chef. “If you have 45 minutes, you can come have a glass of wine with something, eat and go. Approachable.”
The chef’s touch can be seen all over the restaurant from his personal art collection to specially commissioned pieces by his favourite artists and friends like the swivel wooden shelves with abstract calligraphy paintings by Japanese artist Shiro Tsujimura that partition the bar area.
Nestled beyond the bar is a labyrinth of intimate dining spaces including two private dining rooms, a dessert room overlooking the mall and waterfront, as well as the restaurant’s signature 10-seater Chef’s Table. Here, executive chef Masahiko Inoue conjures up the degustation menu with inspiration from the best seasonal produce from across Japan, Europe and Australia.
Waku Ghin’s seasonal menu will feature Wakuda’s famed marinated botan shrimp with sea urchin and oscietria caviar, alongside seasonal delights such as ama ebi (sweet shrimp) and kanburi (winter yellowtail) in winter, to shiro ebi (white shrimp) in spring time, Hokkaido uni and anago (saltwater eel) in summer time as well as prized wasabi from Shizuoka, the chef’s birthplace. Diners can also choose from a wider range of premium beef cuts and seafood, ranging from ohmi wagyu and aburi sukiyaki, to fresh carabinero and scampi to be freshly grilled at the counter.
“Before, we only had about 20 seats, but now we are a little bigger and so what I am most excited about is being able to offer a larger variety of produce we didn’t have before, that we can tailor make into dishes for each guest,” says Wakuda. “What do you want to eat? What do you want to drink? We’ll make it for you—very free spirit. That is what the new Waku Ghin is. I want people to come and enjoy their time with us, from the bottom of my heart.”
Banner Images courtesy of Marina Bay Sands.