Restaurant review: Skai, a rooftop Japanese grill at Swissotel The Stamford in Singapore

Skai at Swissotel The Stamford Singapore
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The restaurant offers a holistic dining experience bridging glorious food with elegant, homely interiors and a panoramic view of the city to boot

Goodbye Equinox, hello Skai. The newly opened restaurant sits on the 70th floor of Swissotel The Stamford, feels more homey than I recalled it to be. It’s suffused with warm, natural light that pours in through its floor-to-ceiling windows, and earthy tones — maple wood pillars and shelves for dividers, suspended lattice lights and Scandinavian-like sofas in soft hues. I’m here to sample its price-friendly lunch menu ($39++ for two courses  and $45++ for three) crafted by executive chef Paul Hallett, who bridges the concept of grill with distinctive Japanese elements.

Sharing plates are a highlight here. The chopped Angus beef with fermented shiitake, confit egg yolk and caviar — chef Hallett’s interpretation of the traditional beef tartare — will get your taste buds crackling. The seafood version of the tartare comes in the form of yellow fin tuna with soy ginger and togarashi, a Japanese spice mixture containing seven ingredients including finger, seaweed and orange zest. The pungent accents of ginger in this dish overpowered the tuna, and I could have done without it.

Steaks are meant to be Skai’s specialty, but after trying three different types — Saga wagyu A5 tenderloin from Japan, Wylarah wagyu MB8 New York Strip from Australia and 32 days dry aged John Stone ribeye from Ireland — I wished I had scaled down my expectations.

Saga was undisputedly the most gratifying of all three. But while it packed the most punch with its visceral, juicy flavours and had some bite to it, it was still too arid for my liking. Two other proved to be even more insipid, especially the Wylarah, which proves that a marble score means close to nothing if the meat itself lacks flavor. Nevertheless, each steak was cooked to the level of doneness that I had wanted — medium-rare —  with reddish-pink centres and beautifully seared. Though I feel that steak is best enjoyed without any distraction, you may pair yours with a side sauce – black truffle, smoked barbecue or chimichurri – for that extra kick.

Desserts don’t disappoint though. Caramelised Soy Bean Cheesecake with Miso Fudge is a masterpiece, with the dessert torched tableside. The citrus jelly and lemon sorbet cleanse your palate, and the miso acts as the ‘salted caramel’ to further lighten the heaviness of the cheesecake. And where pretty plates count, order the Yuzu White Chocolate, where yuzu lychee, lychee coulis, yuzu cream and dark chocolate is assembled together on a plate to form a tree.

Skai has done just enough to prove that it has huge potential to be a contender in the city’s culinary arena. Some will say that it’s too early to judge, and they’re not wrong either. After all, the restaurant has been operating for barely a month and a few fine-tunings are surely in the pipeline — which serves as a brilliant excuse for a return trip.

Skai
Level 70
Swissotel The Stamford Singapore
2 Stamford Road
Singapore 178882
Tel: +65 6837 3322

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Published 24th September 2018
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