The place The CapitaSpring tower is currently the busiest building in Raffles Place and after Sol & Luna I checked out the 1-Arden concept at level 51 which includes Kaarla Restaurant and Bar; Oumi; and 1-Arden Food Forest. This project is carried out by 1-Group, with Kaarla as its signature restaurant offering coastal Australian cuisine, while Oumi focuses on modern Japanese Kappo dining.
My first impression of 1-Arden Food Forest, other than a large garden space providing garden ingredients on the menu, is the amazing view of Singapore. You can walk around the garden, which is open to the public even if you are not dining at the concept.
Regarding the restaurant area, my first impression is the feeling of space and of course, the splendid views over the city. Kaarla is closer to the entrance, while Oumi is located towards the back. The dining room vibe is relaxed for both concepts due to the way the tables are laid out, which gives off a flowing layout and isn’t as formal as I would imagine for a level 51 restaurant at Singapore. That said, the dress code is still smart casual at a minimum.
The food Kaarla and Oumi share the same dining space in different dining sections and stick to the ethos of maximizing fresh produce (“nose to tail”) via seasonal, responsibly sourced and raised ethically. Most of the ingredients come from Japan, Australia and local farms.
I had my meal at Oumi, where you’ll get a pretty good view of the city if you manage to sit near the window. You also have a view of the open kitchen where you can watch the chefs at work. You can opt for a la carte dishes or for a multi-course “omakase” meal prepared with the chef.
A refreshing dish to start with is Momotaro cheese (S$20), which features Japanese fruit tomatoes topped with miso cheese, fennel flower and nori rice puff.
The Kabocha Plain Tofu (S$30) is easily my favorite dish. I really appreciate fresh ingredients with light flavors these days, especially at the start of a meal, which helps calm my appetite. Here, homemade Australian pumpkin tofu is topped with sea urchins and edible flowers from the 1-Arden Food Forest. Take it in one bite, and I wouldn’t mind another serving.
The Nasu Dengaku (S$20) is an eggplant dish, where Australian eggplant is grilled over binchotan with white nori miso and topped with fried golden buckwheat, fried sakura ebi and forest hojiso (shiso) flowers 1-Arden food. The texture of eggplant is soft and you get a very savory taste here thanks to the grilled technique.
Another one of those snacks that I don’t mind in multiple servings, the Tempura pancake (S$25/piece) is a crispy cracker of scampi roe, avocado, flying fish roe, Sakura Ebi, balsamic-teriyaki sauce with Ao-Togarashi yoghurt, forest hojiso flowers 1-Arden food and chrysanthemum petals. Heaps of ingredients wrapped in a long crispy slice of tempura dish!
For small plates, the Foie Gras Monaka (S$15/piece) is a dish that’s been trending over the past year, as I’ve come across similar iterations at other restaurants. You get crispy wafer, foie gras ganache, salmon roe, flying fish roe, pickled daikon from food forest 1-Arden, edible flowers and leaves from food forest 1-Arden, petals of chrysanthemum. The size is not huge, so you can easily sauté it in one bite, which is the best way to enjoy the umami flavors.
I like my beef, so the Gyutan Yaki (S$35) pleases my palate. It uses Australian Tajima tongue grilled over binchotan served with Shio Negi (Japanese leeks), fresh wasabi, citrus miso and long leaf Bua from the 1-Arden Food Forest.
For mains, I tried the Kohitsuji Yaki (S$70) where grilled Australian lamb is served with red garlic sauce, lemon myrtle, lemon balm, Satsumaimo Japanese sweet potato mash, calamansi, edible flowers and leaves of the 1-Arden food forest. Not as big as a lamb, so this dish didn’t impress me much.
Instead, I have a deeper impression of the Buta Kakuni (S$60) inspired by Okinawan cuisine. Having been to Okinawa myself, braised pork belly is one of the most common and popular dishes in the Japanese prefecture. Oumi’s version uses Australian pork belly, which is braised skin on with dried orange peel, shoyu, sake, mirin, Awamori and Okinawa brown sugar for 4.5 hours. Accompanied by grilled eringii mushrooms, the famous flower of the 1-Arden forest, the pork served is tender and tasty. It’s easy to see pork belly as a dish of sin, so I also appreciate the balanced aspects here of vegetables and mushrooms.
For a carbohydrate dish, there is the Wagyu (S$30/portion) where braised Kagoshima A5 Wagyu sirloin is served with Akita Komachi sushi rice, Onsen egg yolk, Ao-Togarashi yogurt, Japanese leeks, lemon balm and wasabi. This is basically an indulgent Wagyu Don.
If you have a group of 4 to 5 people, the Ise-Ebi (S$350) is worth considering, especially if you like seafood. This Australian lobster is a seasonal dish and can be prepared in different styles: sashimi, donabe and/or bouillabaisse. This dish also epitomizes the nose-to-tail culinary approach at Oumi where the whole lobster is used, including its shell, head and meat.
I first ate it in sashimi, where I taste the freshness of lobster.
I then had the donabe style, where the clay pot is filled with lobster shell, lobster meat, cod, soft tofu, oyster mushrooms, miso and komatsuna (spinach with Japanese forest mustard food 1-Arden). It’s a pretty big serving and a comforting way to enjoy the freshness of the ingredients from the sea in a seafood broth.
For desserts, expect Kyoho sake sorbet (S$20) with Sesame Crumble, Warabi Mochi, Black Sesame Praline, Berry Paper Tuile; and the Sorbet Yoghurt Lychee Sake (S$20) with Melon, Osmanthus Warabi Mochi and Shiso Veil.
For drinks, there’s a selection of authentic Japanese teas, as well as artisanal sake, shochu, and umeshu, as well as craft spirits and cocktails.
Getting mad Nothing in particular.
Will I come back? It’s great to see another new dining concept at Raffles Place and I can imagine Oumi potentially being a hotspot for business meals, or to impress your date. Great views of the city and you can count on the fresh ingredients for a meal that won’t go wrong.
This was an invitational tasting, although all opinions expressed are our own..
taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 4/5
Overall experience: 4/5
Kaarla Restaurant and Bar/Oumi
88 market street
Capita Spring, #51-01
Tel: +65 8338 3251
Monday to Saturday
Lunch: 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. | Kaarla Bar from noon to 2:30 p.m.
6 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. | Kaarla Bar from 6 p.m. to midnight
(last order 11 p.m.)
Rated by The Ranter