Raising the Bar

By The Irrawaddy 10 August 2017

Yangon’s myriad Japanese eateries have a new restaurant to compete with—its secret weapons are exceptionally well-sourced sashimi and fine-grade Wagyu beef.

Singaporean Eugene Heng opened Sushi Bar in Sule Square in May, his third restaurant, after opening two of the same name in Singapore over the last four and a half years.

The concept, in Singapore at least, is quality modern Japanese food with a focus on sushi and sashimi that won’t break the bank.

After Myanmar friends visited his Singapore branches, they convinced him to set up a joint venture in Yangon.

The restaurant’s sashimi is flown in from Japan and Norway. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)

As the name suggests, the restaurant’s sushi and sashimi are its strength. Fatty tuna, snapper, and mackerel are flown over fresh from Japan.

Crucially, the fish isn’t frozen—so the texture and taste of the glistening sashimi is (almost) as fresh and refreshing as you’d find in Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji fish market.

The otoro (fatty tuna) is supple and full of flavor as is the salmon, flown in from Norway, especially with the restaurant’s freshly grated wasabi root.

The rest of the menu by chef Boo Kae Lun—previously of Nadaman Japanese restaurant at the Singapore Shangri La—should not be overlooked, particularly the more modern, fusion dishes.

The pan-fried foie gras in teriyaki sauce with slow cooked daikon and pumpkin purée is pure indulgence.

The pan-fried foie gras is an example of one of Sushi Bar’s fine fusion dishes. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)

The dish is a master class in fusion cooking—the luxury of French fine dining with the foie gras and puree marries with the succulent Japanese white radish. Worth the indulgence at 16,900 kyats.

Equally sumptuous is the foie gras ikura chawanmushi—traditional Japanese steamed egg with foie gras.

The Miyazaki Wagyu was another highlight of Sushi Bar’s menu. Like the sashimi, the quality of the Japanese grade A5 sirloin speaks for itself. Eugene told us he brings it over personally, seven kilograms at a time, from Singapore. Served medium rare, it’s a melt-in-your-mouth treat.

The Myiazaki Wagyu beef. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)

Eugene admits, however, that Sushi Bar is unlikely to find itself as the restaurant of choice for Yangon’s discerning Japanese residents. Its lack of a Japanese chef and shopping mall location mean all those its ingredients cannot be faulted, but it lacks a little authenticity.

The Irrawaddy’s hot tip? Be sure to reserve one of the booths on the window side of the restaurant for a more secluded, intimate dining experience overlooking Sule Pagoda Road rather than Sule Square shoppers.

Sushi Bar is located in Sule Square (Photo: The Irrawaddy)