Author: Alex Chua
Celebrating its 30th year anniversary, RE&S launches exciting promotions starting with ‘Mentaiko Madness’ at four of its restaurant concepts: Tokyo Eater Pop-Up Store, Kabe No Ana, Men-ichi Japanese Ramen and Ichiban Sushi. For those of you who are clueless about mentaiko – it is a mildly spicy version of tarako (salted cod roe), a popular umami-packed ingredient in Japan. Its versatility allows easy pairing with rice or noodles to create appetising snack or meal. For RE&S, the popularity of this crowd-pleasing ingredient inspires new culinary creations, and over 21 dishes from these four restaurants will have mentaiko in it.
Tokyo Eater Pop-Up Store
Leading the Mentaiko bonanza charge is Tokyo Eater Pop-Up Store, featuring a menu exclusively dedicated to all things mentaiko. From now till September, you can order items include Aburi Mentai Mayo Salmon Don ($14.80), Mentaiko Mazesoba ($12.80/ $13.80 with onsen egg), Mentaiko Mayo Cheese Imo Mochi ($2.30) and a not-to-be missed Mentaiko Ice Cream ($3.90).
Mentaiko Mazesoba is one case in point of how I would prefer my mazesoba to be. The deliciousness comes when you stir and mix the components of the dish before slurping. The al dente noodles is topped with generous hunk of mentaiko, pork chashu and bamboo shoots. Tossing this dish is a fun and aesthetically-pleasing endeavour and, of course, tasted on-point.
If you’re dining with a big group or family, then Ichiban Sushi could be the preferred dining option. Look forward to noteworthy dishes like the Kaisen Mentai Roll ($13.90), Tori Mentai Cream Udon ($12.90) and the unforgettable Ishiyaki Mentai Chazuke Wazen ($21.90). My all-time favourite Mentaiko Ice Cream is also served here =)
The Ishiyaki Mentai Chazuke Wazen (above) comes with flavourful stir-fried pork belly and onion pieces, served over rice in a hot stone bow; with a whole wedge of mentaiko, alongside seaweed-battered dory fish with Japanese tartar sauce, chawanmushi and mentaiko ice cream! Wholesome, complete, value-for-money, definitely suitable to those with big appetite!
Men-ichi Japanese Ramen
Well-known for their collagen rich tonkotsu soup made with the perfect balance of pork and vegetables, Men-ichi Japanese Ramen is one store I patronizes frequently whenever there is a need to satisfy my ramen-slurping indulgences. And Hakata Mentaiko Tonkotsu Ramen ($14.90) definitely hits the spot when it comes to comfort food. Brewed on high heat for over 10 hours, giving it a rich and milky consistency. Topped with ramen, spicy cod roe, Japanese charsiew, half-boiled egg, this piping hot bowl warms my soul like a welcoming embrace.
Kabe no Ana
Fun fact: did you know that Kabe no Ana is the original mentaiko spaghetti creator in Japan?
This Japanese-Italian fusion restaurant has upped the ante with four new mentaiko creations, including Mochi Mentaiko Pizza ($16.90), Mentaiko Gnocchi Set ($22.90), Mentaiko Maze Spaghetti Set ($21.90) and Mentaiko Cream Sauce Omu Rice Set ($22.90).
I simply find the thin-crust Mochi Mentaiko Pizza irresistible. Replacing the base with mentai mayo instead of tomato sauce and creative toppings such as Japanese mochi, squid, prawns and seaweed, making it a truly unique yet elevated pizza experience!
Saving the dessert to the last, the Mentaiko Ice Cream is rich and creamy with a spicy endnote. Taste like innocent vanilla ice cream yet intriguingly smoother with a satisfying kick in it. For the adventurous dessert-lovers, definitely remember to grab a cup before ending the meal!
Mentaiko Madness at RE&S Promotion Dates
From now till September (Tokyo Eater Pop-Up Store)
From now till 4 June (Men-ichi Japanese Ramen and Ichiban Sushi)
From 3 April until 2 July (Kabe no Ana)
Author: Alex Chua
Ever had duck ramen in Japan?
While duck is uncommon in Japanese cuisine, Chef Keisuke Takeda’s many years of French culinary experience in French cuisine is no stranger to this robust red meat. Dubbed the Japanese ‘Ramen King’ due to his diverse portfolio of 12 stalwart brands, including Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King, Ramen Keisuke Tori King and Ramen Keisuke Lobster King, his ‘kyudaime’, or ninth ramen concept and the 13th restaurant under Ramen Keisuke Group, is the first ramen restaurant dedicated only to duck.
The 32-seat eatery offers 5 ramen choices, including two variations of duck broth (rich and clear), spicy miso, tsukemen (dipping noodles) and mazesoba (dry ramen). All ramen is served with slices of premium Irish hybrid duck – favoured for its ample fat that adds to the tender texture and rich flavour of the flesh.
I love the Hybrid Duck Tsukemen (picture above) – $19.90 for its visually arresting presentation and the flavourful slices of duck. Not forget to mention the bowl of rich duck soup enhanced with bonito flakes for that extra oomph. Lovely!
For those who enjoy a light, succulent soupy ramen, the Hybrid Duck Broth Ramen (Clear Soup) – $14.90 | With Flavored Egg – $16.90 | Special – $19.90 is prepared with whole Irish hybrid duck and kelp. The clear soup is simmered over low heat for 5 hours to extract the distinctive essence of duck, while preserving a light and refreshing taste.
For a richer variant, try Hybrid Duck Broth Ramen (Rich Soup) – $14.90 | With Flavored Egg – $16.90 | Special – $19.90, where duck bones and herbs are added to the stock and boiled for at least 8 hours over a strong fire.
I’ve learnt something new. The ‘maze’ in Hybrid Maze Soba (Dry Noodles) – $14.90 means to ‘mix’, the components of this dish are meant to stirred and combined before slurping. The al dente noodles come topped with steamed duck slices, bamboo shoots and a deep-fried egg wrapped in seaweed. Tossing this dish is a fun and aesthetically-pleasing endeavour and, of course tasted on point. Which is why this is my personal favourite dish!
For those who needs rice as their staple food can order the Kamo Ju ($29.90), a simple rice bento with 10 generous, succulent slices of steamed pinkish duck. A fantastic treat for fitness buffs to up their protein level!
Ginza Kamo Soba Kyudaime Keisuke
16A Lorong Mambong, Holland Village
Operating Hours: 11.30am to 2.30pm and 5pm to 10pm (weekdays), 11.30am to 10pm (weekends)
Author: Alex Chua
I am always thrilled when there is a new food option opening in the parks. Toriyard, the first Japanese yakitori joint to be located at Bishan Park, serves not only sumptuous yakitori. It also tries to convey a sense of home with nature’s lush greenery. And don’t be intimidated by the fancy exterior. The prices here are friendly, well suited for the residents here. It is a chic option for a good and inexpensive meal.
There are three seating arrangements in this 129-seater Toriyard – indoor, al fresco and the VIP room (picture above) where corporate functions can be held. The industrial aesthetic is kept minimalist with metal tables, freshened up with pops of color from the red accents and blue and green chairs. In the middle of the spacious glass house stood the open-concept grill station, where gourmands can relish the sight of their ordered meats cooked to perfection with Japanese-imported charcoal grills. The menu is curated and designed by Tokyo native Chef Hasegawa Isao who has had close to 4 decades of culinary experience in various countries including Japan, France and Malaysia.
The first dish – Sashimi Salad ($19) is a colourful, visually appetising starter. All the elements work. The robust slices of fish (salmon, swordfish and tuna), sweet prawns and the accompanying leafs of vegetables. Next, my favourite Onsen Tamago Cocktail ($17), which happens to be chef favourite as well, an elevated version of the onsen egg with foie gras, samon roe and sea urchin. The simplicity in taste and exquisite presentation only wows me asking for more of this dish.
Toriyard features an extensive Japanese yakitori (grilled skewers) in the menu. Expect the classic tori (chicken) skewers, along with grilled beef and pork, fresh seafood and vegetables that will please diverse palates. My personal favourites are the flavourful Gyu (US Angus Ribeye $8), Momo (Chicken thigh $7), and Ebi (tiger prawns $6).
Special mention about Momo, where Chef Isao demonstrated live to us how the chicken thigh meat is carefully rolled in chicken skin before being skewered and trimmed to ensure an even grill. His careful preparation of the dish shows in the crispy chicken skin juxtaposed against the tender, juicy chicken meat.
For dessert the Jikasei Chiffon ($14), a fluffy matcha-red bean chiffon cake served with warabi mochi and vanilla ice cream helmed from Hokkaido prefecture. The warabi mochi was outstanding with it’s smooth consistency, and the light dusting of soybean powder that was not too sweet. My only quibble with it is maybe there can be more red bean in the chiffon cake but that would be nit-picking.
1380 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1, Bishan Park 2, Singapore 569930
Facebook/ Instagram: @Toriyard
Tel: 9296 5988
Author: Alex Chua
If there’s something eventful in Singapore on 6 February, it would be the opening of Tendon Kohaku’s newest outlet at Chinatown Point. The largest seating capacity amongst the other three outlets, the 44-seater restaurant also boasts a private cosy corner that can host 12 to 14 diners. To make this a more remarkable and ceremonious occasion, Tendon Kohaku’s launched a new offering with a secret homemade sauce, exclusively available at Chinatown Point!
So what’s there to rave about the new opening of just another Tendon bar?
If you haven’t heard of them yet, Tendon Kohaku is widely recognised as the best tendon eateries in Singapore. You can find a long queue snaking out from its first outlet at Eat at Seven at Suntec City, and its about an hour-long, just to wait for a simple yet delicious bowl of rice with fried tempura atop. It’s secret? The draw factor lies in its rich batter, fresh ingredients and in-house sauce.
Now there’s something that could draw you specifically to its fourth outlet – the Seasonal (Winter) Special, Ocean Gems Tendon ($23) drenched in in-house secret wasabi sauce. Comprising of fresh catch such as prawns, oyster, snow crab, king crab meat, scallop and more, topped with glistening globes of ikura (fish roe).
Unlike the usual Tendon Kohaku’s bowls, there is no vegetables tempura here, just a galore of neatly stacked seafood. The tempuras are all fried in a special seaweed batter which lent a unique scent to the whole bowl. Among all the pieces, I particularly enjoyed the fried king crab meat and snow crab, both sweet and juicy, enwrapped with a noteworthy crunch. Initially I didn’t taste the distinctive tear-wrenching wasabi, it was only until further confirmation with the friendly service crew that I was supposed to mix the slab of wasabi paste on the outer bowl with the tempuras and the rice itself did I realize how the bowl should be consumed.
There’s a list of grain types for you to choose at no extra charge, and I chose the 16 multi-grain rice which is less sugar-loaded yet more nutritious.
Tendon Kohaku Chinatown Point
Chinatown Point #02-34 Singapore 059413
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 4:00pm, 5:00pm – 10:00pm, Last Order 30 Min before closing
Author: Alex Chua
Regular izakaya patrons here would be elated to hear that Kushikatsu Tanaka, Japan’s No.1 Kushikatsu Chain, is opening its first Asian outlet in Singapore. Boasting over 165 outlets in Japan alone, this Japanese bar has brought its famous Osaka-style fried cutlet skewers and signature special dipping sauce to the little red dot’s clubbing district – Clarke Quay. It would be a fierce fight among other izakaya and Japanese restaurants in this prime area, but Kushikatsu Tanaka is least afraid of competition. Here’s 3 reasons I feel why this izakaya can not only survive but strive against other establishments.
1) The Signature Golden Kushikatsu
From beef, prawn, asparagus, lotus root to even cookies and cream, there are over 30 variations of skewers to choose from. The great taste of the golden kushikatsu comes from their secret formula and preparation method. Using their own unique blend of oil, with panko flour, batter and sauce directly imported from Japan, ensures that original, authentic flavour are kept consistent.
That distinctive crisp and light taste are what draws its customers to visit again and again. Paired with the well-balanced savoury sauce with a slight tinge of sweetness, you can realize the painstaking details that the chef has placed into the making of the perfect kushikatsu. Do note that double-dipping into the sauce bowl is prohibited!
2) Chiritori Hotpan + Risotto
A great dish to warm the heart in the rainy December – early January period. This sizzling hotpan dish features thinly cut beef slices served on a bed of beansprouts, topped with beef offal and chili powder for a spicy and savoury flavour. After finishing the beef, you can throw in curry cheese risotto on the pan with curry powder, egg and rice to soak up the goodness of the remaining rich broth. This lovely dish reminded me of a quaint Japanese bar I had visited in Osaka this November, and it tastes exquisitely.
3) DIY Onigiri
I am somewhat surprised by the fact that I would fancy this dish. With just plain rice, nori and choice of topping, plus with abit of crafty fingers to roll the onigiri into the desired shape and size, the overall taste is satisfying rich with the rice made al dente. Pure simplicity bliss!
4) Bonus: Wide variety of Jim Beam Highballs
With over 15 varieties such as Triple Berry Highball, Triple Citrus highball and Aomori Ringo Highball, the restaurant prides itself as carrying the most comprehensive Jim Beam Highballs range in Singapore. Best yet, they are available at an affordable price of $6. Just remember to drink responsibly!
Kushikatsu Tanaka Singapore
3A River Valley Road, Merchant’s Court Clarke Quay
Block A, #01-01B, Singapore 179020
Facebook: Kushikatsu Tanaka SG/ Instagram: @kktanaka.sg
Author: Sandra Koh
If you are always on an outlook for pocket friendly and delicious sashimi, then you’re in for a treat this December! For a limited time, Maguro Donya Miuramisakikou Sushi and Dining and Kuro Maguro are offering premium maguro (tuna) at just $9.90.
We really got to salute the restaurants culinary team’s dedication on bringing the freshest maguro to every patron. Such that, only meat culled from blue fins and weigh a minimum of 280 kg from Miura Misaki Port (renowed maguro wholesaler in Japan) are used, as this ensures that the maguro have the perfect ratio of fat and lean meat. Both restaurants also practise the “super frozen” (-60 degrees Celsius) technique to freeze the maguro, as soon as they are caught. As such, absolute freshness is a guarantee.
We were served with both the Maguro Mountain Gunkan, and Mountian Meishi (both priced at $9.90) during our visit. Both of the dishes actually consist of the same ingredients – otoro, akami, ikura toppings and fragrant sushi rice, presented in 2 different ways. The Maguro Mountain Gunkan takes the shape of a sushi and is served on a plate, where the Mountain Meishi comes in a delightful rice bowl filled to the brim with the ingredients. Don’t you just agree that both of the dishes are too beautiful to be eaten regardless of their presentation?
Maguro Mountain Gunkan
For less than $10, you get to experience 3 different contrasting sensations all in one bite (buttery & tenderness from otoro, savoury popping texture from ikura, and sour-sweet taste from the sushi rice). Trust us when we say it’s indeed therapeutic.
The orders are limited to 30 orders per day, and limited to 1 serving per person. Do note that the S$9.90 deals are smaller portions and not a complete meal in themselves, but hey you can always go ahead and order other equally delicious maguro dishes if you’re still hungry.
Get your maguro fix from 4th -31st December 2017 at :
MAGURODONYA MIURAMISAKIKOU SUSHI & DINING
(Maguro Mountain Gunkan)
3 Temasek Boulevard, Suntec City Mall, #03-314
KURO MAGURO (Maguro Meishi)
7 Wallich Street #01-04
For more details, please visit: www.magurodonya.com
IF you have been to Japan before, I am quite sure that you may have stepped into Don Don Donki before!
I took a media tour today and I must say that I am amazed! Their price points are not a lot higher than the Japanese store itself! You will also feel as though you are stepping into Japan once you step into the store.
Don Don Donki Orchard Central is their first flagship outlet in Asia and they aim to position the store as a “Japanese Brand Specialist” by offering products that are either made or designed in Japan.
The double-storey retail space is also open 24/7 so you can always pop by and do some late night shopping there.
They carry a wide variety of goods including food, household items, cosmetics and novelty goods.
My favourite sections have got to be the beauty section and party section!
It really does feel like an amusement park here! And I swear that I will never come out of the shop empty handed ever. There is simply too many things to buy!
They are also partnering with Hokkaido Marche for a Hokkaido-themed retail and dine-in space that features unique product offerings and successful tenants from the region.
“No other Donki store carries such a broad diversity of food choices, and the partnership with Hokkaido Marche will further elevate the dining experience here. We hope this will be a refreshing retail concept that Singaporeans can look forward to and heartily enjoy,” said Mr. Okada.
Don Don Donki will officially open its store to the public on 1st Dec.
For more information, please visit: http://www.dondondonki.sg/
Author: Sandra Koh
After months of rigorous renovation, Shangri-La Hotel’s iconic Tower Wing now features a brand new lobby, lounge and suites, along with various interesting flavours that satisfy even the most pernickety eater. The NAMI Restaurant and Bar situated at Level 24 is certainly one such place.
Helming the restaurant is Head Chef Akiba Shigeo, who culinary experiences include managing restaurants owned by Iron Chef Koumei Nakamura, along with preparing the wedding banquet the wedding banquet of Japan’s Prince Akishinomiya and Princess Kiko.
Credit: Shangri-La Hotel
We were presented with the Kitano Daichi Omakase- a 7 course meal dinner on our night of visit. First on the omakase set was the dual appetisers-Hairy Crab with Tosa Vinegar, and Yuba Tofu & Sea Urchin. We really enjoyed the latter, for its half-chewy texture and fragrant soy flavour. We could literally felt the layers slowly opening up and faint soy flavour spreading through our mouths with each bite (it’s really therapeutic). The addition of the creamy uni added a hint of sweetness to the otherwise bland tofu.
Next on the table was the Dashi, a traditional dobin-mushi with Matsutake mushroom, along with pike conger, ginko, homewort and sudachi. Don’t you agree that the presentation is too adorable? We were told to first squeeze the lime in the soup, then drink the soup, and eat the ingredients last. Thankfully, the mushroom flavour was not overwhelming, rather it provided a refreshing aftertaste (thanks to the lime). The soup was really easy on the throat, and comforting to drink.
The third course is probably every Singaporean’s favourite- a Sashimi platter which included 5 curated selection of premium sashimi (tuna, amberjack, scallop, botan ebi and flounder) that is air flown into Singapore 4 times a week from Tokyo. Be surprised to find wasabi leaf as one of the accompanying condiment! We tasted the sashimi without any condiments, and were amazed by its freshness. They were unexpectedly crunchy, and exploded in our mouths with natural sweetness. We learnt from the chef that the white meat sashimi are best paired with Himalayan salt to bring out the natural flavours.
Fourth on the set was Tempura consisting of capelin fish, pumpkin, kidney beans and lotus root. I was utterly glad that the dish did not carry any rancid smell or cloying oily. Unlike the usual tempura, NAMI’s rendition provided a much lighter and fluffier batter, which was really crispy to bite on.
The main dish was none other than the Saga Beef Sirloin Steak with Seasoned Grilled Oita Shiitake. The steak was really tender, and literally melted in our mouths. Each mouthful was accompanied by wonderful waves of sweet and buttery flavour that sent a small but puddle of pleasure through our spines. We felt that the sweet-savoury sauce did a great job in balancing out the fatty flavour of the dish.
Next, Matsutake Mushroom Rice along with miso soup and pickles were served. The pairing of the steamed rice and mushroom was indeed brilliant, for the latter imparted its sweet nutty notes and transformed the rice into a delicately flavoursome dish. Instead of the usual beige coloured miso soup, NAMI’s version skewed towards the brownish side. We particularly love the soup for its rich toasty malt and caramel flavours, in fact it reminded us of the Misokatsu from Yabaton at Nagoya Station. The Chinese yam might look harmless, yet it’s really spicy, so do take small bites!
Our dinner was completed with a plate of seasonal fruits made up of melon, crystal pear and grapes. All we could say is, till now we’re still reminiscing the sweet taste of the melon.
The omakase dinner is only available from 16 November 2017 to 31st January 2018 at a price of $180 ++ per person. Be quick to make your reservations. Click here for the full menu: https://d2jzxcrnybzkkt.cloudfront.net/uploads/2017/10/Kitano_Daichi_Omakase_Dinner_M_1509357066.pdf
NAMI Restaurant & Bar
Shangri-la Hotel Singapore
22 Orange Grove Road
Tel: 6213 4398
Opening Hours: Daily, Noon to 2.30pm, 6 to 10.30pm (restaurant), till midnight (balcony)
Author: Alex Chua
The famed Michelin-starred ramen restaurant Tsuta has recently launched two brand-new ramen offerings: Kamo Abura Soba (dry – above) and Kamo Paitan Soba (soup – below). Served exclusively in Singapore, these two dishes are the original creations of Chef Yuki Onishi, who are inspired by a widely popular ingredient in Singapore – the duck. Spending a year on R&D, Chef Yuki experimented with various recipes and cooking method just to get the flavours right. This is the sort of dedication only a Michelin-starred chef would expect – perfection from kitchen to table.
While duck noodles are pretty common in Singapore, the Kamo Paitan Soba is unique in its own ways. Boasting a rich flavourful broth that’s slow-cooked for 5 hours straight under precise temperature control, and is made with shoyu and fresh duck oil. The normal portion comes with handmade noodles, baby leaves and tender poached duck breast slices topped with chopped cashew nuts for that wonderful crunch.
As for my personal favourite, the Kamo Abura Soba which feature well-marinated noodles in the same flavourful premium shoyu and duck oil. Paired with the same premium ingredients as the soup version, it comes with a bowl of clear soup with a slight hint of sea salt, just to balance out the strong umami taste of the noodles.
If you’re thinking of slurping up a bowl of Japanese duck noodles, stop by at Tsuta to indulge in this exclusive, special menu!
Tsuta @ Pacific Plaza
9 Scotts Road, Pacific Plaza, #01-01 Singapore 228210
Author: Alex Chua
Strong, juicy and meaty, just the thought of having yakitori never fails to bring up the joy in me. And Yatagarasu Yakitori is no exception in conjuring this gastronomic pleasure. If you’ve dined at this quaint-essential Japanese yakitori restaurant before, you would’ve noticed a common principle behind the skewers – the uncomplicated simplicity of ordering and food presentation with no shortage of flavour. As a lover of barbecued Japanese skewers, especially authentic ones with beer, I can’t wait to join in for a culinary adventure.
The 36-seat restaurant in Circular Road is helmed by Chef Kota Tanabe, who has over 12 years of experience, including working at a Japanese izakaya (gastropub where after-work professionals dine and drink sake) in Singapore. Chef Kota is friendly and knowledgeable, and he enjoys interacting with diners, surprising them with nuggets of information on the ingredients and preparation methods. The interior exudes the Japanese izakaya vibe, with its red paper lanterns inscribed in Japanese letters, wooden furnishing and lacquered bamboo tracing along the ceiling.
Yatagarasu has one of the widest pork wrap skewers selection in Singapore, with our 15 types of pork belly wraps to choose from, each skewer is unique in presentation and taste. The ‘lollipop’ Shiso Leaf Pork Wrap is among the many skewers I craved in this establishment. The light, mellow flavour of the shiso leaf complements the meaty, juicy wraps, barbequed to a perfect whitish pink with glistening grill marks. Chef Kota lets me try the shiso leaf itself and I am surprised how a bland ingredient commonly found in Japan can elevates the meat taste.
Next, the Enoki Mushroom Pork Wrap gives a texturized bite to the meat. The barbequing process also helps to enhance the enoki mushroom flavour, balancing the meat profile. This is a good skewer companion for a glass of cold, chilled beer.
Perhaps the most creative/ experimental pork wrap skwer of all, the Yakisoba Pork Wrap is also the most visually arresting. With the yakisoba sauce pouch placed on top of the meat, you have to slightly squeeze the pouch end to emit sweet delicious straight into the sauce.
Besides the unique pork belly wraps, Yakitori also doles out an array of barbecued skewers featuring chicken and vegetables. Try the popular chicken wings, soft bone and the fillet skewers ($2.50 each) with the restaurant home-made yakitori sauce to kick the indulgence up a notch.
For lunch, the restaurant has a special meu featuring Oyako-Don (chicken and egg rice bowl). Both chicken and egg are summered in a flavourful dashi sauce. Only 50 bowls will be served each afternoon and the lunch service starts from 11.30am.
72 Circular Road
#01-01 Singapore 049426