Ippin Cafe Bar 極品
18 Mohamed Sultan Road
Ippin 極品 cafe Bar somehow reminds me of the good old days in London; when the housemates and I were craving sooo badly for some Japanese, that we would pop by the-hole-in-the-wall Japanese restaurant on a wintry night just beneath our Victorian apartment at Earls Court for a good, hearty bowl of Oyako don. Ahhh.. those were the days. Not that it feels wintry over here nor does it look exactly like a hole in the wall, the restaurants, however share similar qualities in that they are family-run. Just imagine an affable Japanese mum cooking for you, and it should pretty much give you a good idea on the experience here.
An integral part of Japanese lifestyle, the fragrant Sencha, Genmaicha and Hojicha over here are sold at $6 each. My personal favourite still lies with the Hojicha as its roasted flavour is hard to beat.
But of course, this also functions as a bar and the usual Japanese Beers and Sake here are perhaps not for the less-trained. Had this small cup of sake and it hit me within minutes. The tipsiness made me go for my tea instead. Nevertheless, learning how these different types of sake made from kome (rice) of different sizes actually makes a discernible difference to the taste is really quite an eye-opener. If you need a serious sake tasting, then choose a set of 3 for just $15.
My favourite teishoku (set meal) out of the lot – Deep Fried Oyster Set for $24 that comes together with rice, Hatcho miso soup, Nikujaga Pork and potato stew, salad and dessert. Lets focus more on the lightly battered oysters that are fried to a beautiful golden brown hue as these oysters are raised in clean ocean that yielded a clean taste. I have no idea what that exactly means, but for those who are averse to oysters, this is my interpretation of the clean taste, that there isn’t any iron taste at all (not even the freshest from Borough Market could beat this I felt). The puffy fat oysters were downed happily together with its creamy egg mayo accompaniment that enriches its taste.
Stir fried to a slight sweetness balanced with its greens, the yakisoba is definitely a form of comfort food for the Japanese, especially for people from the Chiba prefecture where this delicacy originated from. $12 for a set that comes with Kobachi (Small dish) and dessert.
The Oyako Don set unexpectedly did not turn out as wonderful. Though the diced chicken pieces were tender and well-penetrated by the mildly sweet dashi stock, the rice was slightly too wet, that somehow dilutes the supposedly umami rice bowl. $15.
Grilled oyster & Veggies in Ponzu Butter Sauce – $20. You could imagine the ponzu sourness cutting through the thick, rich buttery sauce already from its name that helps to fire up these clean-tasting oysters while preserving its freshness. Together with its homely sides such as the Nikujaga Pork and potato stew, this is indeed a hearty set.
You would probably have heard about the Nikujaga pork and potato stew as a side for an umpteenth time already as this was a marvelous side that seemed to have a potential of transforming into a main. Emanating the motherly nature of the chef, this bowl was indeed a sincere bowl of stew that has all the right mushy consistencies and an excellent balance of flavour.
For $8 a cup, you would be able to scoop up your favourite flavoured peanuts – Strawberry, Green tea and Coffee. My first time seeing this kind of snacks, the strawberry one intriguingly tasted like Poky for some of us!
Though meals over here are more straightforward than other fanciful restaurants, I would reckon that the sets are more well-balanced, hearty and definitely competitively priced (prices above are all nett prices) which I believe would be able to rejuvenate most after a long day!
Thank you Hazel for the homely lunch.