Pitch-perfect masterful French cuisine


On the Pass

Yusuke Namai

Meteoric rise: Now in its fourth year, chef Yusuke Namai’s restaurant is polished, inventive but always accessible, just like his modern French cuisine, which earned him the Highest Climber Award at the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2022 ceremony. The decor is a meditation on the colour grey, from the front door and walls to the 12-seater counter that runs three sides of Ode’s open kitchen.

Multi-sensory: Namai brings a depth of visual artistry and theatre to his cuisine, ranging from the dramatic opening appetizer – a homage to his favourite anime movies – to his grey-on-grey signature dish, Sardines with Anchovy Meringue.

Sonic switch: Before entering the kitchen, Namai was set on a career as a musician. An avid rock guitarist, he still keeps his instrument close at hand – and only became a chef in his mid-20s, almost by happenstance. It has proven an inspired change of direction, taking him little more than a year to gain a Michelin star, and then going on to stake his place on the Asia’s 50 Best list.

Coffee and takeout: To tide Ode through the pandemic downturn, Namai got creative, developing a menu of innovative takeout dishes, including a superb Cubano sandwich, a selection of charcuterie, and even a vegan curry, and later opened a small street-front coffee shop and patisserie, called BGM, offering solid brews and cute canelés. Naturally, the playlist for the in-store music was put together by the chef himself.