Ito-Kacho Yakiniku Dining @ Mandarin Gallery

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.

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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.

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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.

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Ito-Kacho also offers other kinds of meats such as Pork, Chicken, Lamb and Sausages (Beef/Chicken/Pork). The Tzubo-Tsuke Kurobuta (Black Berkshire Pork) is a must try! Choose either the Kurobuta Karubi (Pork Belly) $14 for 80g; $19 for 120g, Kurobuta P-toro (Pork Jowl) $14 for 80g; $19 for 120g or Tzubo-Tsuke Kurobuta (Pork Collar) $19 for 180g and you will understand why this breed of pork is so highly prized in Japan.

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Beautifully marinated and exceedingly juicy, tender and simply delicious with a caramelized finish, this was the best pork I have eaten by far!

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As you are waiting for your meat to cook over the charcoal grill, order a few appetizers to chew on first. Cooked items include the Namuru Moriawase $8.90 which is a mixed platter of Banchan such as Cinnamon Fern, White Radish, Spinach and Bean Sprouts. Nothing fancy but whets your appetite just fine.

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Other Korean inspired dishes include the Kimchi Moriawase $9.90, which features assorted Kimchi such as Chinese Cabbage, Cucumber and White Radish Kimchi. Be warned though, the Kimchi made here does pack a punch in the spicy department and can be fiery hot on the palate!

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The Dashimaki Tamago $6.80 is served warm here unlike other Japanese establishments and is more to the savory side than it is sweet. Quite a different experience of eating Tamago and I thoroughly enjoyed the distinct layers of cooked egg which were more textured instead of silken smooth found in the usual chilled version.

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The Salad department is fairly extensive too, with refreshing options of Prawn and Avocado Salad $9.90, Caesar Salad $9.90, Jikasei Potato Salad $11.80 and their house special- the Ito-Kacho Salad $9.90. All of us could not get enough of the latter as the homemade dressing was truly unique and those fried lotus root chips were just so addictive.

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For a change in palate, try some of the seafood items such as the Oo-Ebi Yaki (Giant Tiger Prawn for Grill) $24 which was an absolute pleasure to grill as you watch the succulent flesh of the prawns slowly burst out of their shells.

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And yes it goes straight into the mouth once it turns fully orange with tinges of burnt charcoal parts.

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The King Crab-Yaki $38 is served cooked and chilled so simply pull the meat out of its shell and savor its natural sweetness. For added satisfaction, throw a couple of crustacean legs onto the grill for a couple of minutes and that sweetness is accentuated.

My recommendation would be to order the Kaisen Moriawase $58 so you get to try an assortment of seafood, namely the King Crab, Giant Tiger Prawn, Hokkaido Scallop and Squid for a complete experience.

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Those who need their carbs can order filler dishes of Rice, Ramen or Sushi. We tried the Ishiyaki Bibimbap $15 which serves 2 very big eaters and found the hot stone bowl of rice, minced meat, namurus topped with shredded dry seaweed and sesame seeds with spicy bean paste sauce extremely comforting and definitely filling. We could not eat anything else after that…

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Or so we thought..

But then again, there is always space for desserts. I strongly recommend getting the Assorted Dessert $19.80 which is such a steal because you get 4 different types of ice-cream (Vanilla, Maccha, Kuri and Kurogoma) as well as 2 types of Mochi (Vanilla and Maccha) topped with Azuki Beans. My vote goes to the Kurogoma (Black Sesame) ice-cream and the Mochi. Simply delectable.

And yes we left dinner that night without a trace smell of BBQ or smoke. The convection systems really do work. Tried, tested and approved!

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Thank you Hazel for extending your invitation and Er Han for the kind hospitality!

333A Orchard Road
#04-08/09 Mandarin Gallery
Tel: (65) 6836 0111

Opening hrs:
Mon to Fri: 11am – 2pm, 6pm – 11pm
Sat: 11am – 11pm
Sun & PH: 11am – 10pm

Singapore

One Response to Ito-Kacho Yakiniku Dining @ Mandarin Gallery

  1. Food Esteem says:

    Went there for dinner, and I really love their beef (though mine is more of the normal kind)! haha. And also their Kinoko Hoiru Yaki! Buttery taste though, as it might be suitable for all :)

    http://foodesteem.blogspot.com/2014/01/ito-kacho.html

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