Category Archives: Japanese

Kuro Izakaya, Suntec City Tower 3

Worth a try.

Everybody loves to chill over bar bites and beer after work. Bonus points added if a place that has this combi is situated at the heart of town. Located at Suntec Tower 3, Kuro Izakaya easily attracts the working crowd when the sun goes down.

To find Kuro Izakaya, you’ll have to walk to Suntec Tower 3 (where Oppo, Harvey Norman, Timberland, GV movie are situated) and exit towards the taxi stand. It’s located outside of the building.

They have a huge range of Japanese whiskeys and beer, perfect for pairing with your bar bites (well they do have staples such as ramen and Japanese curry, but it’s really out of the place to be having those items here).

Pork Jowl, $5. Scallops wrapped in Bacon (Tare and Shio versions), $6. Pork Belly (Tare and Shio versions), $4. Enoki wrapped in Bacon, $4.

Chicken Breast with Mentaiko, $4.

The best kushiyaki? Pork Jowl, followed by Scallops wrapped in Bacon (Tare version). I tried both the tare (sweet sauce) and shio (salted) versions and I very much preferred the tare one. The scallops were huge and juicy, which I really appreciated. As for the pork jowl, I do think that it’s quite difficult to go wrong with it as the texture of the meat is excellent to begin with.

I thought I would like the Chicken Breast with Mentaiko, but unfortunately the breast meat was way too tough. Wrong choice of meat, Kuro Izakaya. Chicken thighs would have been much, much better. Either that, or you make sure you cook your breast meat well.

Kuro Izakaya is a nice and cozy place to chill, but I don’t think I’ll be back again as their kushiyakis aren’t well executed, and the place is seriously lacking in variety. Once is enough for me.

6 Temasek Boulevard, #01-604, S(038986)

Mondays to Thursdays: 1130am to 230pm, 5pm to 11pm

Fridays: 1130am to 230pm, 5pm to 1130pm

Saturdays and Sundays: 1130am to 230pm, 5pm to 10pm

+65 6235 1066

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Sushiro, Thomson Plaza

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If you don’t mind having a good sushi in a not so optimal ambience, Sushiro is the place for you. Strangely, Sushiro has two eating places on the same floor within Thomson Plaza — one located within the cluster of small eateries (pictured below), and one located in a proper shop about 30 meters away. It was my first time there and I saw the smaller one first so I dined there.

You’ll see what looks like a queue during dinner, but actually it’s because they have this self serving kiosk which is rather wonky and you only get to view the menu when you’re at the kiosk. Lots of time wasted here.

The self service kiosk only accepts cash. Didn’t have a chance to ask the staff if payment can be done by card. Also, the chef (left corner of the picture) looks pretty legit.

Salmon $3.20, Salmon Belly $4.80, Salmon Belly Mentai $6.20.

Rather rare to see nigiri so beautifully done in Singapore. The fresh salmon slices were pressed on top the rice with perfect, consistent pressure.

Bara Chirashi, $12.80.

The secret to a good barachirashi is the seasoning and rice. Sushiro’s seasoning was fantastic. It was flavourful yet not too overpowering, so you could still taste the freshness of fish bites. The ikura was plump and firm too. The rice however, was a little disappointing. I’m not sure what rice they used, but it doesn’t seem like Japanese rice, and it was a little too moist.

Gyu Yakiniku Set Meal, $19.80.

Look at the soft runny egg! And while you’re at that, take a moment to appreciate the thickness of the salmon sashimi as well. The gyu yakiniku was well cooked and flavoured. Soft, chewy beef slices with the right amount of onions. No complains about this dish sans the rice.

While Sushiro is a great place to get good quality sushi at affordable prices, Thomson Plaza is a little out of the way and there’s nothing else to do in the mall. So unless I’m around the vicinity to begin with, I won’t travel specially to here just for the food.

301 Upper Thomson Road, #01-113F, S(574408)

Closed Tuesdays.

Daily: 1145am to 215pm, 545pm to 915pm

+65 9450 1020

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Panko Restaurant & Bar, Arab Street

Go!!!

Have you ever tried Kushikatsu? Basically, Kushikatsu is skewers of meat or vegetables coated in breaded batter and deep fried. The first time I ate Kushikatsu was in Osaka. I was famished from all the shopping, so I popped by the next available food store, not knowing what I was going to eat. Turns out I would be introduced to an entirely new way of eating skewers. 

I was mind blown. Deep fried food never tasted so refined. I could eat that all day long! No kidding. Fast forward back to Singapore, I tried to find restaurants that specialise in Kushikatsu, but strange, it’s actually really rare in Singapore. 

Then I found Panko, a Kushikatsu bar along Arab Street.



It looks a little daunting to step in, but once you’re inside, it’s a different story.

It’s cosy, warm, and comfortable. 


The table is set up with a tray on which they’ll lay your Kushikatsu skewers. You have a choice of 4 dippings – ponzu, lemon juice, salt and a special salty sauce which tastes like tonkatsu sauce. Once seated, you would be given a cold, wet towel. My partner immediately asked if the meal was going to be expensive. Haha.

The Kushikatsus are fried upon order and sered once they’re ready. Panko goes a step further and advises you on which sauce pairing is the best. In cases where dipping is not needed because the items have their own toppings, the staff would advise you accordingly. Once you’re done, drop your sticks into the little cup provided.


Unagi with Kinome, $5.


Pork Belly with Whole Grain Mustard, $3 and Asparagus with Garlic Mayo, $6.


Wagyu with Oroshi Ponzu Ichimi, $6.


Salmon with Ikura, $6.


Hokkaido Scallop with Nori Dashi Foam, $6.


Shiitake with Chicken Truffle Miso, $8.


Look at the big juicy mushroom!

I like how they split a single skewer to resemble a fork. Keeps the Kushikatsu stable.

The best dish out of all that I tried was the Shiitake with Chicken Truffle Miso. The sweet miso with the truffle shavings paired with each other wonderfully. The weakest dish was the Wagyu with Oroshi Ponzu Ichimi. Unfortunately the wagyu wasn’t as tender as I had expected. I thought it would be those melt in your mouth kind you know?

My experience at Panko was great. The items were fried to perfection – well drained, crunchy,  and fresh. Panko has taken Kushikatsu to the next level with their premium skewers, while still keeping their prices affordable. 

33 Arab Street, S(189197)
+65 6291 3323
Closed Mondays
Tuesdays to Saturdays: 1130am to 12midnight
Sundays: 6pm to 12midnight

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Koki Tamagoyaki, Raffles City Shopping Centre

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Koki Tamagoyaki is a specialty snack shop located in Raffles City Shopping Centre. They specialise in Japanese rolled omelette topped with savoury items such as unagi and teriyaki chicken.



While the bento sets look very alluring, Koki Tamagoyaki doesn’t have its own seating area so be sure to find a spot at the fountain before purchasing a bento. Otherwise, it’s going to be quite silly to be walking around eating from such a big box of food.


Flame grilled unagi, $10.50.

I tried the tamagoyaki topped with unagi and a generous helping of seaweed strips. The egg roll was fluffy and the unagi was well grilled. Definitely kept my tummy warm and fuzzy after a long day of shopping.

Koki Tamagoyaki also offers huge choux puffs which I have yet to try, because I don’t like the idea of trying something else from a shop other than its specialty. It’s like eating laksa from a shop famous for satay bee hoon.

I’ll be back to try out the other flavours, but I thought they could focus on creating a bigger variety of toppings rather than coming up with bento sets or choux cream puffs.

252 North Bridge Road, #B1-54, Raffles City Shopping Centre, S(179103)

Daily 10am to 10pm

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Kuro Maguro, Tanjong Pagar Centre

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Kuro Maguro sits within the newly renovated Tanjong Pagar Centre (just above Tanjong Pagar MRT) For lunch, the fresh sashimi bowls come with affordable prices which makes it a good value.

For a small space, the high ceiling works to give a comfortable feeling. I was told that the Japanese chef changes his hair colour and style every now and then so it’s definitely something to look out for.

Salmon Ikura, $20.80++.

Barachirashi, $18.80++.

One of the things I look out for in gauging the authencity of a Japanese restaurant is not only the nationality of the chef, but also little details like the quality of wasabi and origin of the rice. Kuro Maguro didn’t disappoint. The wasabi is freshly grated, complimenting the soft and fluffy Japanese rice. My only qualm for the above two bowls is that the amount of ikura could be more generous. Come on, have you tried those in Japan?

Kuro Maguro offers other rice bowls such as those done aburi style or with tuna as the main fish (sorry, I’m a super big fan of salmon and ikura, hence you can see the similarity in the two bowls above), which I would definitely want to try some day.

They offer much more for dinner in terms of side dishes to share, but If you’re headed here for lunch, do go early as seats are really limited. 

Tanjong Pagar Centre, 7 Wallich Street #01-04 S(078884) 

+65 6386 8561

Daily 1130am to 2pm, 530pm to 10pm 

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Sō Ramen, Nex

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Try finding RamenPlay at Nex and you’ll end up at this other ramen place called Sō.


The whole restaurant felt a lot like RamenPlay for a couple of reasons:

1. Its signature ramen bowl is the same as RamenPlay – Tonkotsu broth with Toroniku (braised pork cheek), Cha Shu and Buta Kakuni (braised pork belly in special sauce). Of course, not forgetting the special black onion sauce.

2. The pricing is similar to RamenPlay – affordable. The ramen mentioned above costs only $12.90++.

3. The physical bowls are the same as RamenPlay – I kid you not.

Intrigued, I did a quick check on RamenPlay’s website to see if Sō was another restaurant under their wing (or possibly them saying they had rebranded). Nope, not a word about it. Also, interestingly, RamenPlay’s outlets at Breadtalk IHQ and Velocity @ Novena Square are now taken over by Sō.

Tonkotsu Toroniku with Ajitama, $9.90.

The pork cheek was really tender and flavourful! Melts in your mouth and gone before you know it. Definitely not satisfying to only have 2 pieces. Do top it up for a small fee!

Sō is one place that does their eggs right. The gooey ooey flow of the egg yolk was perfect! The seasoning was also not to overpowering, allowing it to be a nice complement to the ramen.

The tonkotsu soup on the other hand, was a little disappointing. The flavour wasn’t as intense as I had hoped. It’s still nice, but not the kind that I would want to drink till the very last drop.

Uobushi Tonkotsu Toroniku, $9.90.

Bonito flavoured tonkotsu soup! As compared to  Sō’s tonkotsu soup, the uobushi tonkotsu is much more flavourful and more palatable even towards the last few drops. I personally liked it a lot, but my partner didn’t. Take this only if you are a fan of those dancing flakes on your takoyaki balls.

Spicy Cha Siew, $8.90.

It looks really lip numbing, but Sō’s spicy ramen is actually not that spicy, and it’s damn shiok! The hot chilli oil is poured over the soup, releasing its furry of flavours. Tip: drink a cup of hot green tea to wash down the oil.

Sō offers five types of soup bases, including spicy miso which is a blend of 7 different types of miso. The pricing for these ramen bowls can go as low as $7.90 for a basic bowl, which makes Sō a very affordable comfort food anytime.

Nex, 23 Serangoon Central, #B2-58, S(556083)

+65 6634 4089

Mondays to Fridays – 11.30am to 10pm

Saturdays and Sundays – 11am to 10pm

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Kogane Yama, Bugis Junction

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Slowly but surely, tempura bowls are taking over Singapore. I remember the first tempura bowl I ate was Tendon Ginza Itsuki at Tanjong Pagar and it has since become my Singapore benchmark for all tempura bowls in Singapore.

I’ve read reviews on Kogane Yama and many of them focused on the customisation of the tempura bowl. It got me excited because many of the tempura bowls around only have about three or four variations of the bowl – seafood, non-seafood, vegetables. I thought that I could finally pick my favourite ingredients! (or rather, just not pick the bell peppers).

But… chey. Customisation here refers to choosing which type bowl you want, choosing your carb (which honestly is also offered in some tendon shops), and choosing your spiciness level. Erm okay. 

Here at Kogane Yama, you’ll have to pay for chawanmushi and miso soup. To have either udon or soba, it’s a dollar more. And they don’t serve water as well so… you get it. Top up, top up, top up. Urgh.

Prawn bowl. They serve it with the prawn heads.

Vegetable bowl.

Putting my annoyance aside, the food is delicious! The tempura batter is light, fluffy, crispy, and well seasoned. It can definitely fight with Tendon Ginza Itsuki tastewise. I tried spicy level 1 and really loved the extra kick. I did think that it was already quite spicy for a level 1, so for those who would be trying for the first time, start with level 1.

What disappointed me was the variety for the vegetable bowl. They didn’t even have eggplant! Heyyyy, I’ve been to a lot of Tendon shops, and even in those family Japanese restaurants that don’t specialise in Tendons, the eggplant is a must-have vegetable for all vegetable tempura. Where’s the pumpkin? The oyster mushroom? The lotus root? 

The rice was also barely enough. My partner isn’t a big eater, but halfway through the bowl he had already finished his rice, so I had to give him part of mine. I then had to ration my portion very carefully. The reason why I brought this up is because I feel that Tendons are slightly saltier because of the sauce, so having sufficient rice is a must. Again, we are not big eaters and we never had troubles with other Tendon shops so this really jumped at us.

All in all, I really liked the taste of Kogane Yama but my experience wasn’t the best so I might drop by only if I’m at Bugis and craving for Tendon bowls.

200 Victoria Street, #02-50, S(188021)

Mondays to Thursdays 11am to 10pm

Fridays and Saturdays 11am to 11pm

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