Tag Archives: Japanese
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.
Did you know that Genki Sushi was the first original pioneers of the kaiten sushi (sushi served on a revolving conveyor belt) concept back in 1990, long before it became a common feature and trademark of affordable casual sushi dining establishments such as Sushi Tei, Sakae Sushi and Ryoshi Sushi Ikeikemaru?
Many of us will remember their iconic yellow cartoonish face with furrowed brows and rouged cheeks when they first came to Singapore four years ago but left abruptly. Genki Sushi has since re-emerged in Singapore with the flagship store at Orchard Central and a second branch at Chinatown Point last month.
The new and improved Genki Sushi features innovative technology which minimizes the need for labor and human contact with the food. Sushi robots in the kitchens mould the sushi rice onto plates directly, ensuring that the amount of rice used is consistent and each rice mould has the exact same size and shape.
And unlike other conveyor belt sushi restaurants that actually have plates of sushi rotating round all the time, undoubtedly affecting the freshness and quality of what you eat, sushi here at Genki Sushi is prepared upon order and delivered right to your table in the form of the most adorable Shinkansen bullet train. There are three train tracks running concurrently so you do not have to worry about a possible ‘traffic congestion’ even with the lunch or dinner crowds.
Orders here are taken on the iPad, where you can scroll and swipe through the various selections of each category on the menu before placing your order. And in line with their mechanized system for fast and efficient service, customers are encouraged to drop their empty plates into a slot at the side of the table which is linked to a plate-clearing system and brings it straight to the kitchen for washing. How convenient and fuss-free!
Japanese Matcha has long been associated with many heath benefits. Reputed to be an amazing natural metabolism booster, a great way to reduce your cholesterol and even said to hold more antioxidants than berries, dark chocolate and spinach, this fine ground high quality green tea from Japan is indeed a superfood for anybody and everybody!
Nana’s Green Tea Cafe, one of Japan’s pioneer Matcha cafes, with 32 outlets all over the country and even earning the status of ‘Japan’s Starbucks’ has recently opened its flagship store in Singapore at the Plaza Singapura extension. This Singapore branch offers an extensive menu of Matcha- based desserts such as crepes and parfaits, drinks and even savoury options of Donburi and Udon soup with the chefs flown directly from Japan so that you can experience and enjoy the true authentic taste of Nana’s Green Tea.
Locomoko Don $15.80
That sunny-side up egg with its glowing yolk definitely caught my attention first as it simply brightens up the overall demeanor of this Locomoko Don with its presence. Somewhat like a deconstructed hamburger with its beef patty, lettuce and tomatoes, I personally thought the patty was a tad dry and could be a little juicier but the sweet tomato sauce did its job by adding some succulence to the warm Japanese sticky rice. And coupled with some florets of broccoli, this overall combination did work out in the end.
Ever since I tried my very first Aburi Salmon Roll at Wasai in Adelaide, I was in love. For starters, I was never a real fan of salmon but became a convert that night. Lightly seared for that slightly charred appearance but not thoroughly cooked just so the salmon is still melt-worthy when you bite into it. The combination of the creamy mayo, seaweed, crab meat and drizzled with sweet teriyaki sauce was just heavenly and I used to be able to finish 12 rolls all by myself. It was that good.
Since my return, I have been trying to find a worthy adversary of my Wasai Aburi Salmon Roll but to no avail. Most Japanese restaurants here serve their Aburi Salmon Nigiri style, which I often find dismal and not substantial enough to pack a punch. No, I like my Aburi Salmon Futomaki style. I am fussy like that. Because Wasai has spoilt me by setting such high standards. If you ever visit Adelaide, mark a trip down to Wasai.
I was alerted to The Sushi Bar, which is located inconspicuously at the corner of level 3 of Far East Plaza by my sister. This understated and modest-looking eatery according to her, serves the best Aburi Salmon Roll she has had in Singapore. With such a strong endorsement by her, I knew a lunch date was in order.
My sister who had been here multiple times since her first visit a few weeks back, insisted that for once I take the backseat and allow her to do the ordering instead. The excitement was definitely mounting and when this gorgeous platter soon arrived, I wanted to pick a roll up with my chopsticks almost instantly, but luckily I remembered to first capture a few shots.
Salmon Aburi Roll $13.90 (8 rolls)
These lovely cylindrical pieces were exactly what I had been searching for! Substantial and packed with ingredients for that variety of colour and textures. Extremely delightful and satisfying.
Soft Shell Crab Salmon Aburi Roll $15.90 (8 rolls)
And while I thought the regular Aburi Salmon Roll was good, this one blew me away. I loved how you could actually taste the soft shell crab despite everything else going on in the roll. While the crab usually gets drowned out in a sushi roll, this time instead, it accentuated the lightly charred salmon piece sitting on top with its saltiness and crunch. This was truly a stand-out.
One of my favourite hangouts is the Sushi Tei branch at Holland Village. Sushi Tei never fails me when it comes to good comfort Japanese fare and while I do not quite know how to appreciate sashimi, I enjoy the freshness of the ingredients used here at Sushi Tei and I adore all the colourful ‘Phoenix‘ and ‘Dragon‘ sushi rolls that they serve.
Known for always introducing fresh perspectives, Sushi Tei has a seasonal menu which features new creations complementing that specific season as well as the top six culinary works of various Sushi Tei chefs from all the different outlets across the island who took part in the ‘Supreme Chef Challenge Creations’.
I was extremely excited when I was invited to sample this autumn/winter season’s ‘The Perfect Interfusion’ Promotion Menu which adds almost 30 new dishes to the current menu from now till the 9th of January 2013!
Mentai Potato Salad – $6.80
To be honest, I thought this looked a little like our local dessert- Iced Kachang when it was first served. But quite the opposite of sweet, this savory potato salad featured some very nicely mashed potatoes, carrots and cucumbers. The mayo dressing tied everything together quite easily and while I usually shy away from potato salads because they fill me up fast, I could not stop reaching out for more. Not forgetting that vibrant topping of cod roe, which was an absolute fit to complete the salad.
Spicy Ban Ban Ji Ramen – $10
This ramen was my favourite dish of the night. While it was served cold, the sesame sauce which was nutty, with hints of spiciness was an appetizing match for the springy, qq-like texture of the noodles. A special tip would be to stir the noodles thoroughly to ensure that all of it is properly coated with the sauce before eating. I will be back again just for this, except that the next time, I will request for ‘no cucumbers please!’
Yakiniku Cheese Roll – $12
Using the American Cheeseburger as inspiration, this Japanese version was a contemporary twist on the fast food classic. Made with a layer of Yakiniku beef and cheddar cheese that was wrapped around the sushi rice roll of cucumbers and lettuce, I found this pleasantly unique but would have enjoyed it a lot more if the cheese layer had been melted or grilled. Imagine biting into a sushi roll of oozing cheese, that would have been exciting!