Wagyu beef has been fast gaining popularity in recent years as Singaporeans are becoming more discerning to the quality of beef and paying close attention to details such as marbling and grades. But while top quality cuts of Wagyu are usually accompanied with a hefty price-tag, Ito-Kacho is here to bust that myth as this upscale Yakiniku restaurant from Japan, is all about serving customers the best but keeping prices affordable.
Tucked away at the corner of level 4 of Mandarin Gallery, the interior of Ito-Kacho is inviting with its warm lighting and wood veneer finishes. Unlike your usual barbeque joints which are usually stuffy and uncomfortable with patrons leaving smelling exactly like the meats they just cooked over the charcoal fire, it is never the case here. It is a one-of-a-kind fine dining experience of barbequing at Ito-Kacho as careful thought has been put into the mechanics and technicalities. Convection systems are in place above the barbeque pits to ensure proper ventilation while chairs are thoughtfully upholstered with seat cushions so you thoroughly enjoy your time here.
Only authentic Japanese Black Wagyu is served here, air flown and delivered to the restaurant regularly from a farm in Kagoshima, the same specialty cattle which also caters to the flagship branch in Japan. And while the beef we usually eat are frozen, the beef here at Ito-Kacho is chilled instead, believed to be fresher, more nutritious and of course have a more elegant robust flavor, all while retaining the marbling and overall consistency.
We tried three different types of premium cuts: Wagyu Toku-Jo-Bara (Premium Short Rib) $50 for 80g; $69 for 120g, Wagyu-Sasami (Flank Steak) $50 for 80g; $69 for 120g and Wagyu-Kainomi (Flap Meat) $22 for 80g; $29 for 120g. The standout for me had to be Wagyu-Kainomi which was absolutely bursting with flavor despite it being a lean cut compared to the rest. The Wagyu Toku-Jo-Bara did not disappoint as well, with the intense marbling of aromatic fat that simply melted in your mouth after being barbequed to medium-rare. Pure indulgence.
All meats here are also minimally marinated and few condiments are provided at the side so customers can appreciate the full original unadulterated flavor of the Black Wagyu Beef.
For those looking to try something different or just feeling adventurous altogether, the Wagyu Tongue $29 for 80g; $39 for 120g is a must order. My friends at the table could not stop raving about the smokey flavor and sweet accents of this unusual offering while I personally found the texture of the cow’s tongue a little peculiar. I think I might just stick to the more normal parts of the cow the next time.
I have not been posting up recipes for the longest time. I have been more interested in cafe hopping and trying out all the new places that have been popping up the past few months that my oven has been neglected. Well not exactly since I have not stopped baking per say, just did not find any recipes worth sharing so none were posted up on the actual blog. I did however post them up on Instagram (follow me @gninethree if you havent already) as it was heaps more convenient.
Anyhow, when I found this quick bread recipe from Pastry Affair (please go check her baking site out because it is simply amazing and I religiously follow her every post), I knew I had to try it and then share it with all of you.
I love baking bread. The smell of freshly baked bread is just the bomb and unbeatable to any cake or brownie baking in the oven. Alas, my kitchen is small and there is not much space to do kneading so this ‘no-knead’ bread was simply the answer to my prayers!
The actual recipe yields 1 loaf (regular loaf pan size) but since I used those tiny disposable loaf pans from Daiso, I had extra batter which I put into muffin cups instead and I got four of that. This bread is exceptionally good when eaten still warm, fresh out of the oven so if you are not planning to eat it straight away then I will recommend popping it into the oven for a bit just before you serve it.
Every ice-cream/breakfast place sells Belgium waffles but not many can do a good tribute to this characteristically deep grid patterned dough-based cake. I personally enjoy my waffles served warm, crisp on the outside but light and fluffy on the inside, with those square imprinted pockets that soak up the heavenly combination of ice-cream, chocolate sauce or maple syrup and even cream. A good Belgium waffle in my opinion has to be a bit doughy, chewy, good to eat on its own but even better with toppings.
So here are my top 5 waffles places in Singapore. Read on to find out if your favorite made the cut!
5 Ridgewood Close Unit G1 Tel: 6464 9607
Opening hrs: Mon – Fri 11am – 10pm, Sat & Sun 9.30am – 10pm
Selling premium gelato that is free from preservatives and artificial coloring, Haato has been around for at least more than 10 years now. They have 3 branches in total left in Singapore (Ridgewood Estate, The Central @ Clarke Quay and Thomson Plaza) and while I do know that franchises tend to produce rather inconsistent quality, the waffles here at Haato have been reputed to be one of the better few out there. Made with Haato’s own special recipe, the contrast of textures in the waffles here are really distinct as you cut through the toasty exterior into the fluffy insides.
Recommended for: Those who love having their waffles plain (it’s good on its own)
Cost: Waffle + ice-cream $6 (additional scoop $3)
My pick of ice-cream: Black Sesame
128 Toa Payoh Lorong 1 #01-835 Tel: 62501476
Opening hrs: Tue – Thu: 12:00 – 22:00, Fri – Sat: 12:00 – 23:00, Sun: 10:00 – 22:00
Creamier Handcrafted Ice Cream and Coffee is Toa Payoh’s funky addition to this otherwise old-school estate. Making all their ice-creams and sorbets with their own recipes, this Singapore-born ice-cream parlor opened by a couple has been nothing short of a success story. Their waffles come in pairs so stacking adds onto the satisfaction factor but while they were crisp and complimented the creamy ice-creams perfectly, they were a little bland to eat on its own. But I did appreciate the generous border of maple syrup and chocolate that made finishing the last part of the waffles a breeze.
Recommended for: Those who love their waffles extremely sweet and sticky
Cost: Waffle + ice-cream $8.30 (additional scoop $2.50)
My pick of ice-cream: Earl Grey Lavender, Sea Salt Gula Melaka
With The Grandstand recently opening up and getting increasingly bustling on the weekends especially since the opening of PasarBella (our first and biggest indoor Farmers’ Market), a trip to Bukit Timah’s lifestyle hub is nothing short of an adventure. Home to many gastronomic delights such as Singapore’s best burger- Omakase, MAD (Modern Asian Diner) and authentic Italian restaurant Valentino, The Grandstand has also debuted the first British restaurant in Singapore- The Ascot, which promises to deliver the real English pub experience.
Opened by owner Sylvester Fedor Thang, The Ascot was his attempt at recreating the fond pub memories he enjoyed with his mates back when he was studying in the UK, while the moniker ‘gastrogrub’ is a portmanteau of gastronomy and grub first coined in London, a term not uncommon in England.
Serving up distinctly British comfort foods of Bangers and Mash, Fish and Chips, Curries, Shepherd’s Pie and the Sunday Roast (available only on Sundays of course), with a comprehensive alcoholic menu of imported beers and beverages from England and Europe, this place is the next best thing you will get without hopping on a 13 hour plane ride.
I am personally not a fan of soups or tomatoes so the thought of this Smoked Tomato Soup $8 [must try!] was not the least enticing. But even for a cynic of soups, this earthy bowl of rich flavors and hints of smokiness did manage to charm the socks off me. Combined that with a drizzle of pesto and a dip of homemade Turkish bread, I was a convert that very day.
A rustic Cold Cut Platter $18 that is excellent with a guzzle of beer, this one features 3 types of cold cuts with silver onions, gherkins, scotch egg and homemade bread. The highlight of course, has to be that freshly made scotch egg with a gorgeous sunny-yellow yolk still runny despite being deep fried. A nice change to the usual ways eggs are prepared, this one comes wrapped in sausage meat and breadcrumbs for a contrast of textures and bite. It is a little British delicacy done right.
I would not usually condone paying so much for a plate of salad but in the case of this Strawberry Spinach Salad $18 [must try!] which produces a kaleidoscope of flavors that is undeniably compelling, it is probably justified. The first thing that hits you is probably the sweet tang of the raspberry vinaigrette dressing that lends a fruity burst with every bite. Next would be the crumbled blue cheese with its characteristic sharp and and salty flavor which cuts through the sweetness and is surprisingly not as foul-smelling as blue cheeses usually are. But my favorite part has to be the generous sprinkle of whole pistachio nuts.
Strangers’ Reunion became the talk of the town when it opened its doors early last year. With the coffee culture growing and the rise of the ‘third wave’ coffee movement in Singapore, many applauded the introduction of a premium specialty coffee joint to the scene. Fronted by Ryan Kieran Tan, two-time winner of the Singapore National Barista Championships and second runner-up at last year’s World Latte Art Championships, and his brother, Dylan, who were both formerly from Papa Palheta, it is no secret that discerning coffee drinkers can look forward to a cuppa that is well-balanced with bold flavors when they drop by this cafe.
Expect the usual serving styles of Flat Whites, Piccolo Lattes and Macchiatos for $3.90-$4.90 while the Strangers’ signatures such as Magic (double ristretto + milk) and Schlong (double ristretto half long black) are $5.50 and $4.90 respectively, in cup sizes between 5oz and 6oz. Tea drinkers can opt for a pot of English Breakfast or Oolong for $7-$8.
The menu on the weekdays is made up of baguette sandwiches with fillings of Roast Pork, Shrooms or Classic Smoked Salmon for $6.50 and up, croissants served plain or with kaya or ham & cheese or choose from the array of baked goods on display such as Red Velvet cupcakes, Banana Breads or a slice of Chocolate Whisky Cake which are all mostly made in-house.
Their best-seller is the Buttermilk Waffles which everyone orders when they come here. Served with either a choice of artisan greek yogurt, vanilla ice-cream or maple syrup with fresh fruits for $8.50, these waffles are worth every single calorie. Light and puffy with a rich doughy flavor that remained light and crisp right to the end. A definite must-try here!
Check out 5 Best Places For Waffles In Singapore for more great waffles!