Shaw Centre, just beside Isetan, near Orchard MRT
Flanked by Japanese families both left right and front, the crazy Japanese streak in me was grinning away already at the authentic surrounding upon sitting down. A relatively new cafe in the biggest Isetan departmental Store at Shaw Centre, Watanabe Coffee 渡邊珈琲店 does indeed has what it takes to attract this continuous flow of Japanese. Spacious, staffed with smartly dressed and the ever smiley service crew, together with its slightly industrial outlook yet not losing its currency, Watanabe Coffee definitely has embodied all the virtues of a good Japanese cafe.
Sat down, felt comfortable despite a slightly shaky table, S and I got the two classic mains – Curry Omu Rice ($15.80) and a Japanese Neapolitan pasta ($15.80). Serving mainly pasta and omu rice for mains together with a section on tonkatsu, we realised the whole savoury menu is chiefly made out of the many renditions of these mains! Unlike the omu rice I had at Taimeiken, this doesn’t have its delicate scrambled eggs encased in a pan-fried omelette, but rather beautifully perfumed in the viscous, savoury curry sauce it is drenched in. A spoonful of curry sauce with the smooth, buttery eggs with the warm pearl rice below it = salivation.
The Japanese Neapolitan pasta, was made special as the taste of the reduced tomato-based sauce is absolutely lifted by the permeation of the porky bacon fragrance; yielding a savoury, fragrant and slightly sour tang. Definitely not just a simple tomato based sauce used, its savouriness was quite exciting. The only gripe – I wish both mains have bigger portions!
My first Shibuya toast – Matcha Ogura Honey Toast; I have never thought that such sinful, monotonous-looking dessert could actually taste so good. If you think you could dismiss it as just a stack of thick toast topped with sinful whip cream, mochi, overly sweet mashed auzki red bean and matcha and vanilla ice cream, it really is more than just that and I reckon a good shibuya toast isn’t a given.
The whip cream plays a pivotal role in lifting the overall flavour; so fresh is it over here that calorie-cautious me actually scooped the layer that I have initially forsaken back onto my toast to give it an even more milky, buttery fragrance without feeling queasy at all. The whole combination together with the fluffiness of the pillowy toast was on point, and the azuki was gladly adequately sweet. So impressed am I that I believe I will try more shibuya toasts from now on! $16.80.
Hopefully, with more Japanese cafes opening in Singapore (eg. favourite Hoshino Coffee), this would turn into a solid trend and raise the bar for the quality of cafe food over here!
Verdict: A good restaurant!