Tag Archives: Japanese

Unagiya Ichinoji, Robertson Quay

No.

I’m a huge unagi fan. I highly raved Man Man Unagi at Keong Saik so when I heard that another unagi specialty restaurant with a long list of credentials (125 years of history, Bib Gourmand 2018 awardee, Tokyo’s famous unagi Restaurant with 20 outlets across Japan) opened it’s first overseas outlet in none other than sunny Singapore, I was stoked.

Expecting a super long queue like Man Man, I was there slightly before 530pm for its dinner hours. Not much people, and I was seated rather quickly.

The layout is similar to Man Man’s. There’s a tank of live eels swimming around and a counter overseeing the kitchen via glass panels. If you want to see the chef in action, pick the counter seats. It can be a little hot though.

Chef starting to grill the eels. I read that they steam their eels before grilling them to give that crispy texture.

Hitsumabushi (small), $19.80.

Hitsumabushi (medium), $26.80.

The Hitsumabushis can go up to $77.80 for the XL size. While that makes for a good family size, I prefer having my own set to indulge in. For those who need a refresher, you can eat the Hitsumabushi in three ways: Plain old unagi and rice, unagi and rice with the side condiments, and unagi and rice with dashi (provided in a little jar). My favourite is the one with side condiments because it gives the unagi an added layer of taste.

Close up shot of the unagi.

On to the taste of the unagi, the reason for this post. The unagi was horrible. Although it was grilled, there wasn’t any char taste, not to mention any decent crispy texture. The meat itself was rather tough and it felt like I was eating a gummy candy. I dreaded eating piece after piece. Thankfully I ordered the small portion. I also drenched my meal in the separate unagi sauce provided to give it more taste.

I just noticed that the difference between a small and medium is just two slices of unagi and more rice. Not sure if this justifies a $7 difference.

30 Robertson Quay, Riverside Village Residences, #01-05, S(238251)

+65 6732 1970

Daily: 1130am to 3pm, 530pm to 10pm

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Gyu Bar, Stevens Road

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Gyu Bar sits within the premises of Novotel and Mecure Hotel along Stevens Road. It can be easy to miss if you’re driving quickly along the main road, so I hope with the picture below you’ll find it easier to locate it.

As the name suggests, Gyu Bar specialises in beef. The main attraction of this place is that it brings in A4 Kumamoto Wagyu from Japan, which they proudly serve during dinner along with a glass of sake. Unfortunately, I visited this place for lunch and it only offers rice bowls during daytime.

Interestingly, the menu has Korean starters, and some of the rice bowls are rather Korean-ish.

Assorted Namuru, $16.

Kimchi, $10.

Signature Beef Salad, $26.

Signature Roast Beef Don, $35.

This bowl lives up to its signature title. Slices of slow roast beef alongside a special gravy by the chef, need I say more? The beef slices had that melt in your mouth texture and the gravy was simply delicious.

Sukiyaki Don Set, $30.

I’ve honestly never eaten sukiyaki in a rice bowl before. The sukiyakis I’ve eaten thus far were all cooked in those shallow sukiyaki pot, a bit like hot pot style. So this was definitely interesting for me.

Yakiniku Chicken Don Set, $24.

This rice bowl came infused with truffle! What a pleasant surprise. The chicken pieces were also juicy and tender, just the way a good yakiniku chicken should be.

Ishiyaki Bibimbap Set, $22.

For the bibimbap, the staff will actually help you to mix the rice and spread it against the hot stone bowl. You are to wait for a couple of minutes for the rice to “chao ta” before digging in. Super fun to watch.

All rice bowl set comes with salad and miso soup. Each bowl also comes with an onsen egg which you have to mix into the rice, making the whole bowl really creamy. Now imagine having that with the slow roast beef slices (Signature Roast Beef Don). Oishii!

That said, Gyu Bar is not a place where you would have lunch at everyday because of the price, and also because the lunch menu is pretty much as above. I would definitely drop by for dinner one day if I feel like indulging though.

30 Stevens Road, #01-08, S(257840)

Closed Mondays.

Tuesdays to Sundays: 12pm to 3pm, 6pm to 10pm

+65 6732 0702

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Hajime Tonkatsu and Ramen, myVillage at Serangoon Gardens

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Tonkatsu. Simple looking dish that’s difficult to execute well. I’ve eaten Tonkatsu from various places, and none of them had ever come close to Tonkichi. Until I tried Hajime.

I personally think that Hajime’s tonkatsu is nicer than Tonkichi’s.

Premium Pork Loin, $21.90.

They were running a promotion when I was there, using Kurobuta (black pig) instead of normal pork. No doubt it’s Kurobuta, but the thickness, doneness, crispyness, juicyness and flavour of the pork cutlet was never like I’ve eaten before.

My cutlet remained crispy all the way, and I enjoyed my pork cutlet right till the very last bite. The only thing that’ll keep me from visiting Hajime frequently is it’s location. myVillage at Serangoon Gardens is not exactly accessible, and after your meal there’s nothing much to do around the area.

1 Maju Avenue, myVillage at Serangoon Gardens, #02-7/8/9, S(556679)

Weekdays: 1130am to 3pm, 6pm to 10pm

Weekends: 1130am to 3pm, 5pm to 10pm

+65 6509 9952

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Rang Mang Shokudo, Wisma Atria

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I’ve always thought that the Japanese eateries on the 4th floor of Wisma Atria were underrated. I suspect they may be hidden gems, so I aim to visit and write about all the eateries there someday. First up, Rang Mang Shokudo, famous for their Japanese fried chicken. It was actually recommended by a friend who swore by the flavour and texture of the fried chicken.

If you’re not in the mood for fried chicken, this is definitely not the place for you. It has only one main dish on the menu, and that is, you guessed it, fried chicken.

Large (20 pieces), $18.50. Comes with 3 sauces of your choice.

Rang Mang Shokudo does have sets which comes with fresh salad, potato salad and rice but after sharing the entire plate above with my friend, I can see why he recommended me to just go for the fried chicken and a bowl of rice.

Because you won’t be able to get enough of the chicken.

Rang Mang Shokudo’s fried chicken is not only juicy and tender, but most importantly the batter is thinly coated, just enough to give that crunch. I loved that it’s bite sized, easy to eat with my hand while sipping my beer with the other.

You get to choose from a wide variety of sauces, but if you’re there for the first time, go for the salted chicken. It doesn’t seem like much, but it’s their top flavour for a reason.

Rang Mang Shokudo is one of the most underrated restaurants I’ve tried thus far. Now I’ve got a favourite karaage. You?

435 Orchard Road, #04-54 Wisma Atria, S238877

+65 6262 3504

Weekdays: 1130am to 11pm

Weekends: 11am to 11pm

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Yakinikutei Ao-Chan

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Happen to be in town and craving for better than average yakiniku (grilled meat)? Head to Concorde Hotel where Yakinikutei Ao-Chan is located on the second floor.

The layout is such that it’s rows of cushioned booths, with one row not more than 4-5 booths on one side. There’s a high wall next to each booth so it feels like you’re in your own space because the adjacent table (across the isle) is quite a distance apart.

If there’s only two of you and it’s your first time here I’d suggest getting the Prime Beef Course to share as it has a mini sampler of 3 different beef cuts, ox tripe, ox liver and ox tongue, together with a bowl of plum rice, ox tail soup, and a scoop of ice cream. Do not like tripe and liver? You may exchange it for pork or chicken.

Prime Beef Course, $45.80.

By sharing one meal between two people, you can order other items on the menu or seasonal items such as the A5 Hokkaido Snow Beef.

Toro Karubi, $42.

Oh my oh my. These things melt in your mouth! It’s so sinful cos of the extensive marbling of the beef but so worth every calorie. Apparently this is the Hokkaido Snow Beef where the meat is said to melt in your mouth like snow flakes.

Oh, they offer free flow tea and water (both of which are not on the menu).

Menu below:

I like Yakinikutei Ao-Chan because the their atmosphere is great and the quality of their meats are great. Price wise I think it’s justified, though I’ll only visit this place again if there’s a special occasion.

Concorde Hotel, #02-22/26, 100 Orchard Road, S(238840)

Mondays to Fridays: 12pm to 230pm, 6pm to 11pm

Saturdays and Sundays: 3pm to 1030pm

+65 6735 6457

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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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