Aoki by Les Amis
Aoki is a Japanese restaurant under the Les Amis group. It specializes in sushi, chirashis and omakases. Lunch sets starts from $33++ and dinner starts at $180++.
- > $100
User Ratings Summary
User rating summary from: 2 user(s)
An Average Experience
Recently, a friend of mine wanted to buy me lunch and suggested going to Aoki. While it wasn't the first time for my friend, it was the first time I visited the restaurant.
Hidden discreetly in a corner of Shaw Centre at Orchard Road, one could have easily walked past the restaurant, given the understated entrance. We arrived around 12 noon and was shown to a corner of the bar counter where patrons were allowed to see the chefs in action.
My friend ordered the Mazechirashi set lunch which comprises a chirashi rice bowl, pickles, salad, miso soup and dessert. She has had that before and it was what she would usually order. It also seemed to be the signature set at Aoki. As I am not a fan of sashimi, I did not order the same set. Instead, I went for one which had grilled cod fish.
I found that the portion of my cod fish to be underwhelming. The set came with only a small piece of cod, a half-boiled egg and a bowl of rice, besides the pickles and soup. This set certainly failed in comparison to the Mazechirashi set, even though the prices of both were about the same. I was not full at all after the meal.
There is also room for improvement in terms of service. When I asked if I could change the salad to something else, the serving staff (who seemed to be either a Singaporean or mainland Chinese) simply said no without offering any alternative. She also did not even bother to ask us or say "excuse me" before clearing our plates. She simply put her hand in between me and my friend all of a sudden, while my friend and I were in the midst of a conversation. I also witnessed a minor bickering between two chefs since we were seated at the sushi bar. There was one Japanese serving staff (I am guessing she is Japanese based on her accent) who was very polite though.
In a nutshell, if you are a lover of sashimi and uni, the Mazechirashi set would be value for money. As for me, I probably would not return for lunch as the choice of lunch sets did not resonate with my palate and big appetite.
Aoki by Les Amis is a Japanese restaurant under the well-known Les Amis establishment. Aoki is nestled away at the side of Shaw so it's not the easiest place to find. Despite of this, it is extremely popular among Japanese food lovers so be sure to make a reservation at least 3 days in advance to secure your seats. There are two lunch seatings - 12:00pm-1:30pm and 1:30pm-3pm so be sure to indicate your seating of choice when making the reservation.
My 3 friends and I were seated in a private seating area and it was comfortable and because of the sliding doors, it was indeed private. I guess it was because we made the reservation super early (one week in advance) and thus they gave us the private seating area instead of the counter seats. All of us ordered the Mazechirashi set lunch (limited servings per day) with comes with a chirashi rice bowl, salad, pickles, miso soup and dessert trio. We were served drinks (iced green tea/ hot tea/ iced water) and a bowl of marinated cold vegetables while we were waiting for our meal.
The salad was served first, followed by the chirashi, the pickles and then the miso soup. The salad was tossed in wafu sauce and it tasted very refreshing and fresh, definitely a good way to start the meal!! The chirashi is one of the best I have ever ever had. The marinated sushi rice is topped generously with a various mix of cut sashimi, tamago cubes, big bouncy fish roe and UNI - sweet, creamy, fresh uni. The uni just makes the lunch so worth it. Sashimi is no doubt fresh and the choices are exquisite (toro/ aji/ tai) instead of using the usual salmon sashimi.
Miso soup was great as well. The only thing I didn't touch was the plate of pickles and century egg lookalike thing. As we were about to be done with the chirashi, our server served us hot brown rice tea which was smooth and helped to cleanse our palate for the dessert. Dessert was a trio of coffee jelly, peach ice-cream and wine jelly. The coffee jelly was way too robust and bitter for my liking and that's because I generally don't like anything coffee. The peach ice cream was not too sweet, just a hint of peach. I really enjoyed the wine jelly! I haven't tasted anything like this.
The total bill amounted to $52 per pax. It might sound steep for a lunch but looking at the quality, quantity and variety of food you're getting at an authentic Japanese restaurant, the price is definitely worth it! If you are a fan of chirashis and exquisite Japanese fare, this is one place you shouldn't miss out. I have to say that I enjoyed the chirashi here better than the one at Tatsuya so if you're deciding between these two places, I would recommend Aoki over Tatsuya.