Whiskey’s Perfect Match



Sitting on the fourth floor of the iconic glass building, The Papilion in the chic Kemang area, SHY comes with an elegant interior conceptualised by famed designer Anouska Hempel from London, making your first step inside the restaurant a very sophisticated one indeed.


While there is a boom of Japanese cuisine across the region with new openings on every corner, we can still count on one hand the amount of Japanese restaurants that serve outstanding Kaiseki Ryori food. SHY is one of these restaurants, dubbed one of the city’s best Kaiseki Ryori’s since its rebranding from French to Japanese fine dining many years ago.


It’s not a particularly long or winding road for SHY to have gained such a reputation since Executive Chef Takahashi Hideaki is at the helm, a master of Kaiseki Ryori cusine. But what exactly is Kaiseki Ryori? Well, it is seen by the Japanese as the highest form of culinary art where the dishes are made from the freshest ingredients and arranged in a way that imitates nature, but still maintains a great balance of taste, texture, appearance and beautiful colours.


The attention to detail of Kaiseki Ryori makes the serving and preparation time for each dish a little bit longer than other Japanese cuisines, sometimes taking up to four hours for guests to enjoy the Kaiseki feast. Don’t get us wrong though – it is certainly worth the wait.


Apart from the a la carte menu, SHY also creates a very interesting range of pairing menus; including the Cocktail Pairing Menu, Whiskey Pairing Menu, Wine Pairing Menu, Single Malt Scotch Pairing Menu and Champagne Pairing Menu. We decide to try one of the less common pairings; the Four Course Whiskey Pairing Menu.


While waiting for the first course to come, Chef Takahashi prepares us a Japanese-influenced Sakizuke, a Japanese version of amuse bouche, to slowly tease our palate. What’s interesting about the Kaiseki Ryori style is that you don’t always get the same experience twice, even if you order from the same menu. The reason being, Kaiseki uses only the freshest ingredients based on the seasons and also the chef’s own mood and creativity. For our amuse bouche, we were treated to inari sushi, tamago sushi wrapped with paprika, broccoli and Parmesan crackers.


Entering the first course, Kuchidori kicks things off; roasted chicken on Japanese spinach and tomato salad, with an appetising creamy onion dressing on the side served nicely on chinaware that’s specially ordered all the way from Japan. The natural flavour of each ingredient is well retained, so, at first, we choose to savour each bite without the dressing. But with its delicious creaminess, the onion dressing actually made a delectable combo with the salad, not to mention the smooth sips of Johnnie Walker Black Label, served as the first whiskey pairing of the evening.


The next dish to the table is the Omuko, a plate of assorted seasonal sashimi. Fatty tuna, also known as toro, together with salmon and flat fish are all served nicely alongside fresh vegetables then dramatically presented on top of bubbling dry ice to add to the theme of nature. But the highlight is the amazing sirloin feel of the raw tuna that fuses together with the fatty tissues from the belly, leaving a rich and creamy texture inside the mouth. The Omuko is then paired with a glass of Johnnie Walker Gold Label, to tone down the palate for the next course.


The third course, our highlight from the evening meal, is the Broiled ‘Miyagi’ Beef Striploin Amiyaki. This tender and juicy beef literally melts in our mouthes and the garlic rice and miso soup that comes alongside is the ideal complement to the sensational beef. To balance off the strong meaty taste, a glass of pure Johnnie Walker works its charm as the last straight-up Whiskey pairing that evening – because what comes next is pleasantly surprising.


As a sweet closure to the four-course Whiskey Pairing Menu, Mizugashi comes served on a wooden tray. Mizugashi is a dessert, literally translating to mean watery sweets, and it consists of fresh strawberries in an anglaise sauce, Baileys and chocolate mousse. And to match the sweet treat, Johnnie Walker Black Label is muddled into a light and easy-to-drink cocktail to help wash down the delicious dessert – quite the contrast to the strong, rich flavours of whiskey on the rocks.


Dinner may be done but the night is still very young, so we are escorted to the SHY Rooftop, a semi al-fresco establishment at the top of the building to unwind from the formal dining. This versatile space offers a different concept to the dining room downstairs, this time bringing a more relaxed vibe with regular live bands and casual bites such as Tori Suiton Tutumiyaki, deep fried chicken gyoza and shrimp shumai, and Kijidon, a Japanese-style rice bowl with broiled chicken in kuwayaki sauce. Worry not, the SHY Rooftop is also armed with an extensive selection of fine cocktails, cigars, as well as fine wines from around the globe to accompany you late into the night.



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