Posts Tagged ‘Japanese Cuisine’

IZA | The Skewer Bar – Siglap Izakaya opens past midnight

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Having lived in the East all my life, I’ve always wondered why something similar to Holland V isn’t available in the East. The Siglap area has always struck me as an area with very good potential, but after decades, it still hasn’t grown or changed much from what it was years ago and it still maintains its laid-back and quiet feel. There aren’t that many outlets open past midnight, so it doesn’t have the buzz that Holland V brings. But I suppose there’s some good in that too because it means it isn’t that crowded, crazy and pretentious?

But anyway, with the recent opening of IZA, a casual Izakaya bar nestled in the heart of Siglap, us living in the East have a new outlet to go to if we want to dine out late. IZA is open daily from 6pm – 1am, with last order of food at 12.30am. IZA has paired up with The Skewer Bar, which first opened an outlet in Geylang, to offer a mix of kushiyaki skewers as well as Japanese-inspired classic dishes. Japanese-inspired meaning the food is local, with Japanese elements to it. Or you could think of it as Japanese food that has been localised. Again, not a bad thing if you’re craving for Singaporean comfort food.

Prices are pretty affordable, especially if you go for the rice bowls and noodles, which cost around $7.90 – $12.90. Table treats, starters and skewers seem reasonably priced too. Not a bad place to go if you want drinks and a variety of bites.

Let me start off with the items I enjoyed the most during my tasting session. I actually enjoyed the rice bowl and noodles very much, even though the skewers are supposed to be the highlight.

Iza - Unagi Don

Unagi Don $12.90

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Big Sake Bar–They actually do a mean Omakase

With a name like Big Sake Bar, you’d be forgiven for thinking that they only do alcohol. But in actual fact, Big Sake Bar has a pretty extensive izakaya menu, and interestingly, they also do an 8 course Omakase for $88 nett. $108 nett gets you the omakase set with a Tokkuri (carafe) of sake from your choice of 3 premium sakes.

To enjoy the omakase, you would need to make an advanced reservation, the omakase is only served at the main sushi counter and that area only seats 6. You will be able to watch Head Chef Andy skilfully prepare each dish right in front of you. Speaking of Chef Andy, beneath the young-looking and quiet exterior lies a person with some serious knife skills. Although he does not have formal culinary training, he has worked at Ricciotti and The Sushi Bar before taking on the role of head chef at Big Sake Bar.

The omakase is only available until the end of 2017, so you better be quick about it. Scroll down for pictures of the delicious dishes.

Big Sake Bar - Sashimi Platter

Sashimi Platter

Thick slices of very fresh tasting swordfish, salmon, seared salmon and botan shrimp. Doesn’t require much more description than that. Shipments of fish from Japan come in 3 times a week.

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Five Nines Restaurant reopens at Cuppage Plaza – 6 course set menu at $49

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Five Nines (999.99), which used to be at Keong Saik Road, has now reopened on the 4th floor of Cuppage Plaza. Previously focussing on European cuisine, it has now shifted to serving affordable European-Japanese fare prepared with seasonal ingredients flown in from Japan several times a week. Lots of Japanese businessmen frequent Cuppage Plaza for the numerous Japanese restaurants there, so this is probably one of the reasons for the shift into Japanese-inspired food. Five Nines is a sister restaurant to Kappo Shunsui by Chef Tomo Watanabe, who led his restaurant Shunsui in Tokyo to Michelin Guide’s Bib Gourmand fame from 2015 to 2017. The culinary team at Five Nines is led by 37 year old Head Chef Takashi Ohkawa who has close to 2 decades of experience from restaurants across Italy and Japan.

One of the highlights of Five Nines is its $49++ 6 course set menu. If you want to experience a bit of fine dining (food-wise), $49 is about as affordable as it can go in Singapore. See pictures below for my experience. You will have to make an advanced reservation for the set menu though as ingredients are limited.

Five Nines - Marinated Botan Shrimp and Couscous Salad

Marinated Botan Shrimp and Couscous Salad

If you’ve never had this, this raw shrimp tastes totally different from any cooked prawn you have ever eaten. When you bite into it, it has a certain firmness yet spring to it. This was prepared such that even the shell could be eaten.

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Misato– Fabulous and affordable Matcha desserts, and they aren’t a cafe!

Misato is tucked away right inside The Centrepoint, where the new Gastro+ area is (or where the old Marks & Spencers was). I’ve been seeing Misato pop up on my social media feeds and was wondering if it is just a fad. I have to say, after having tried their food, this place is worth a visit due to the affordable pricing, the fabulous matcha desserts and the exquisite dinnerware that makes you feel like you are dining at a posh Japanese restaurant.

I am told they spent $400k for the dinnerware alone when setting up the restaurant! It is a pity that most people will not realise this when walking past because the restaurant decor looks rather casual to the untrained eye. So you heard it here first! Please go check out Misato and enjoy the atas food at casual prices!

Misato - Matcha Bavarois (Premium green tea French pudding) $7.80  (2)

Matcha Bavarois (Premium green tea French pudding) $7.80

Back to the Matcha desserts. You might have seen this wobbly Matcha Bavarois on Instagram. This is not merely an Instagram-worthy dessert, it actually tastes as good as it looks. The matcha taste comes on strongly (very good quality Nara matcha imported from Japan is used), and the pudding is smooth and somewhere between soft and bouncy, if there can be such a thing. It’s almost like eating matcha ice cream except in pudding form. Every bite was savoured! And it only costs $7.90!

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Yuba Hut–Get makis slathered in lots of sauce, minus the queue

I had a quick lunch today at the recently opened Yuba Hut. Yuba Hut is a Japanese casual eatery at Heartland Mall next to Kovan MRT that specialises in makis and donburis. When I think of makis slathered in lots and lots of sauce, I think of the popular Koh Grill at Wisma which always has a long queue. Yuba Hut offers such makis too, and the best part is you won’t have to queue an hour for them.

There are 5 different makis to choose from in Yuba Hut’s menu

  • Cream Cheese Mentaiko Salmon (4psc $9.90 / 8 pcs $16.90)
  • Champion Floss Maki (4psc $9.90 / 8 pcs $16.90)
  • Taiyou Century Egg Maki (4psc $9.90 / 8 pcs $16.90)
  • Salmon Aburi Maki (4pcs $8.90 / 8 pcs $15.90)
  • Samurai Unagi Aburi Maki (4pcs $8.90 / 8 pcs $15.90)

We tried the 1st 3. I am told that the Champion Floss Maki is the most popular order and it’s not hard to tell why. The sweet salty sauce tastes like a combination of teriyaki and mayonnaise, and it kind of reminded me of Okonomiyaki. I also liked the Cream Cheese Mentaiko very much. My dining companions said the sauce was too jelak/cloying, but I loved it! Loved the salty combination of cream, cheese and mentaiko on top of the seared salmon! Apparently there was unagi encased within one of the makis, but it got lost in all that sauce. But I say, when enjoying such “messy makis”, the enjoyment is in the “in your face” flavours, and it’s not the time to nit-pick on subtle flavours. Didn’t like the Century Egg Maki though, the sauce needed some getting used to.

Yuba Hut - Cream Cheese Mentaiko Salmon (1)

Cream Cheese Mentaiko Salmon

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