Kappou Japanese Sushi Tapas Bar – A very humbling story behind this amazing Japanese Bar

Kappou Japanese Sushi Tapas Bar

Fortune Centre near Bugis MRT

IMG_1766We didn’t have any expectations at all when H and I decided to give Kappou -that is helmed by a female chef, a visit; as regrettably, we have it imbued in us that the best Japanese restaurants are usually helmed by males. Utterly wrong but pleasantly so as we walked through the $68 menu just to be surprised by the finesse displayed by each dish and the witty balancing and pairing of flavours that the chef was able to come up with. What really took us by surprise, is the arduous journey that she has taken at the young age of 14 when most would still be pretty ignorant about the world as they live comfortably in their sheltered homes, not adding on that she is a post-90 lady. I would say its the passion for food and her thirst for survival that made her the fine chef she is today, as evidenced by the beautifully aged sushi that she presents, and the atrociously impressive knifing skills that she displays. Such tenacity is only possible from a humble lady who counts her blessings everyday throughout that 9 difficult years.

Knowing that this is a small restaurant, yet still desires to make the best edomae sushi, I was very curious at the sources the fishes were from. Admittedly, she couldn’t out compete the big boys like Shinji, Sushi Ichi or the like, and thus could only turn to smaller prefectures that might have rarer treasures  waiting to be uncovered.

Sushi served, and the beautifully aged fish there just melts in your mouth as the protein has already broken down to its sweet amino acid. Though that is something expected from an upmarket restaurant, executing it perfectly shouldn’t be taken for granted. And what also stood out for us was the clever pairing of condiments – sea salt, soy sauce, different kinds of vinegar so that it doesn’t mask your palate from tasting the seafood, and interestingly 3 different types of rice were used for a more wholesome consistency. Such details, may not even be found in most sushi restaurants!

IMG_1761The cutesy chirashi over here that is packed with umami, we loved it!

IMG_1767Ending the savouries off is this comforting bowl of delicious oden. And we kept shouting in exclamation at that lovely egg, as it easily could be the epitome of a beautifully flavoured Ajitsuke tamago.

IMG_1772Pumpkin ice cream to round the meal off.

IMG_1770Most of our foodie friends lamented that it’s difficult to get a reservation here as seats are limited but we were lucky enough to get one the day before. Looking empty over here as H, being the kiasu self, decided we should have it at 6pm – who would book dinner at 6?! Then again, it is only when the restaurant is quiet that we could understand the very humbling story behind Kappou. We hope and know she would succeed and yes, the food here is good!

Verdict: A good restaurant. 4.4/5.

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On Yasai – Buffet but quality is there

On Yasai

Chijmes near Cityhall MRT

img_0121There is always this motivation to write for a restaurant when there is something really outstanding (not necessarily something good) about her. On Yasai, its remarkable bit is that the quality isn’t compromised at all despite it being a buffet restaurant. With three different options to choose from starting from $33.90, we got the 2nd tier at $39.90 that serves 5 different kinds of meat – pork, beef and chicken, together with a healthy variety of seafood! Take note that the cheapest one has got the seafood section omitted, which I couldn’t bear to forgo! 6 soup bases to choose from, we got the truffle mushroom and Hokkaido miso. Ingredients were on point as they felt reasonably refined while the broths undeniably flavourful. And that’s what you essentially need for a good hotpot – fresh, succulent ingredients, and a delicious pot to dip your stuff in, not forgetting a strong air conditioning on top of you for a cooler experience which unfortunately, was slightly lacking in On Yasai when it gets packed. The temperature was bearable however.

img_0124My favourite platter actually, with those fresh prawns made sweeter by the broth and not feeling sinful at all as we gobbled down two rounds of fish. The sliced squids were commendable with its slightly chewy consistency that doesn’t get cast into stone even when they were forgotten in the pot.

img_0125img_0132Thinly sliced pieces of pork, that allows a quick dip in the pot!

img_0126And I just had to have two rounds of the vegetable and mushroom platters as the leek, carrot, vegetables and mushrooms served were really fresh and luscious looking, which further ameliorated the flavours of the broth.

img_0133Balls are one of my favourite items in a hotpot setting. Out of the chicken and cheese ball and lobster balls, the lobster was the clear winner for me with its bouncier consistency and more generous fillings. The cheese I could have imagined it melted and tasting like the ones I had in Hong Kong but somehow was a little lacklustre as it didn’t feel as cheesy and was a little salty.

img_0127img_0136And a beautiful healthy pot after every single bit has been dumped in and it’s ready for the first round of eating!

img_0137And everyone gets a choice of an ice cream flavour which were not to be taken lightly and the flavours were intense surprisingly. The sesame was the favourite as over 90% is made of black sesame (OK, that might be exaggerated but we know what that means to its flavour) while still having its creaminess retained!

img_0131This could be classified as the first CNY meal I guess, with so much to eat and dishes abound! Huat ah!

 

Gudetama Singapore – Decent food with a higher tag

Gudetama Singapore

Suntec City near Esplanade or City Hall MRT

img_0773I can’t stop myself from joining the 1.5h queue for a dinner at Gudetama Singapore; I wonder why as it strictly isn’t the cutest anime character to me (snorlax, totoro or pompompurin are the favourite still), maybe due to its slimmer figure. But the fact that the entire cafe is just so vibrant and cute, there is this inexplicable allure exuberating from it. You could see a very well thought through system running in the cafe already as gudetama gimmicky props are laid even along the queue for her customers to have fun snapping away while waiting in the otherwise tiring line; menus are given out as you are approaching the end and before being seated, your orders would have been promptly taken. Quick, courteous yet systematic service, that is indeed efficient.

img_0770A general take on the food, they were decently good, and for some might be well over expectation as we usually push our expectations to the lowest of the lowest when it comes to themed cafes like these. For example, this “Are you Busy?” Burger has two fat juicy beef patties underneath that perfectly runny sunny side up, while the fluffy brioche buns are beautifully buttered. But to an objective foodie like myself, taste wise, they were on point while you still get your instagramable gimmicks on your pan. I so wanted to nick that egg and pan home! But at $27.50, we know it is slightly overpriced for a reason.

img_0775img_0765Rib-“I” don’t care – The steak over here caught me by surprise when the service crew asked the doneness we prefer as that is usually done in more upmarket restaurants, not so much for a cafe I reckon. Medium rare we got, slightly pinkish and still tender in the middle topped with that gudetama mash and thick creamy peppered mushrooms. Definitely robust flavours in this pan! $28.50.

img_0767The Mash-Cha was however quite a let down at its price as the matcha flavour was flat, and couldn’t wake the tastebuds up. $11.90.

img_0766img_0771What we thought was very innovative was this TA-MA-GO dessert that is made in the form of a sushi. Matcha cream by the side, what lies underneath the yellow sponge are actually cheese cakes coated with rice crackers. Extra points for this as it shows that the owners are not just out to leverage on the Gudetama wave with haphazard dishes as the dishes have all been thoughtfully curated. $17.90.

img_0768It was undeniably fun and cute but the cost at $100.99 for these 4 items, hmmm…, I am not too sure if the craze will die down like pompompurin cafe.

Verdict: A good cafe. 3.8/5.

 

Meta – when Korean goes fine

Meta

9 Keong Saik Road near Outram MRT

img_0048Meta, one of the highly acclaimed restaurants in sg recently, has always been on the list for quite a while already. The delay – was its anorexic portions that I have foreseen would not be able to satiate my appetite as I crave for a hearty weekend weekly. Admittedly, portions were small while the price tag of the menu isn’t one you would spend your average night out on, I was secretly hoping for a free flow of kimchi toast or bread throughout the night to fill the stomach with delicious carbs. BUT, that really isn’t the point, as the head chef of this fusion restaurant, who mainly focuses on Korean elements, has successfully assimilated in Japanese and French cooking techniques, making the tastes and details of every course evidently so well thought through, beating the haphazard combination that one would usually associate a fusion restaurant to.img_0051Seated comfortably at the high counter seats, we started the 5 course menu ($98) with some refreshing amuse bouche; made with crackers, octopus bits and ikura.

img_0053The fun, didn’t end there expectedly as the second amuse bouche was this plate of heavier tasting beef tartare with bulgogi dressing and a small celebratory kaya toast with truffle butter topped with finely grated parmesan cheese. We loved both, especially that intense kaya toast.

img_0054And here comes the first course, which sets our expectations so high up as this plate of raw hokkaido scallop was amazingly balanced by the acidity from the yuzu, refreshing sweetness from the apple slices and saltiness from the pink tosaka nori. Light flavours over here yet so sharp and distinct that set to perk the palates up!

img_0057Interestingly this Guksu actually reminded me of nissin noodles but in the positive way as that al dante cappelini has been doused with the comforting seaweed flavour, made more decadent with the spanner crab. There was a strong burst of seafood flavour over here, yet the delicate balance in its taste was handled with much finesse.

img_0072We got the seafood Korean pancake as an extra side which comes topped with pickled radish and salty sea asparagus. This was on point. $25.

img_0074Jasmine smoked quail with tea with Portobello, leek and radish – Tender as you could have imagined, that unassuming quail jus seemed to be the star to me as it was so rightly intense, lightly sweet and savoury that managed to bind all the elements here beautifully.

img_0077And we moved on the the red meat with this slow cooked beef cheeks topped with eggplant, celeriac and watercress bits. Tenderised to an unimaginable consistency, this was beautifully paired with the fluffy baked potato intercalated with thin slices of carrots. How fine could this dining be!

img_0078And the senior got the rack of lamb for her red which was precisely cooked to a tender pink hue, while the naturally sweet side condiments such as the carrot and parsnip complemented the entire dish to give that beautiful sweet ending. A perfect combination of elements over here again!

img_0080An oversized pearl for dessert?! That was what I thought to myself from the instagrammed photos, but inside this highly enamoured pearl gelatin, was a huge ball of white chocolate and poach pear bits in it; all to be taken with that black pepper ice cream for its flavour to be lifted greatly. Such piquant flavours for a dessert, I reckon is bold yet tremendously on point.

img_0067And that’s us having a great night out at this beautiful restaurant!

As you could see, every dish has indeed been perfected as each worthy course has been thought through thoroughly while the pairing of the several elements on the plate, were all faultless. It was like the times when we get into an atas restaurant, let your hair down, without worrying about the worthiness of the food after that first course is served. But yes, I crossed over to the coffee shop there after to have my $1.80 fan choi!

Verdict: An excellent restaurant. 4.6/5.

Pompompurin Cafe – Enjoyed thoroughly at the themed cafe

Pompompurin Cafe 

Orchard Central near Somerset MRT

img_9928Not a fan of above average cafe food, but the overflowing cuteness at this Pompompurin cafe managed to elevate greatly the relatively decent food served over here, making it so compelling for a review post on the blog. For families with kids, this is always a heaven to be in but for adults like us, it would be the perfect hangout when you just need that stupid cuteness to relieve all that stress in you after a long week of work. Having zero expectation for the food (as long as it isn’t revolting), we gladly hopped into it for a fine stupid, cute experience. And the best part? The mad rush to pompom seems to have died down and there wasn’t a queue in sight which made it double sweet.

img_9936The moment we stepped in, we were immediately greeted by the lusciously coloured maple leaves and smiley pompom with his friends. And the different areas you can sit at have all been thoughtfully designed to render different experiences. My favourite of all, is the naturally lit garden table by the window as it somehow has a calming effect, just in time for the invasion of Pompompurin.

img_9933And indeed, we got the silly character plushie sitting next to us and it’s tough not to take some memories home with it!

img_9942Totally star struck, that huge ball of rice just looks so endearing with that beef cap on his head. Cuteness aside, this plate was pretty decently flavoured as the tomato cream stew had the punch but perhaps lacking in substantial ingredients. And the scrambled fell short of the buttery fragrant ones that we always crave for. $19.

img_9950Pompompurin’s coconut milk chicken curry was the preferred savoury main as the thick curry sauce was filled generously with tender chicken cubes. A very normal and palatable dish otherwise, this was made so much more enjoyable with all the stenciled ingredients and that huge smiley face. $18.

img_9955The drinks section though, is just a page of overpriced thirst quenchers as this Love Love Hot Marshmallow Latte costs us $13. Fortunately, mediated by the lunch set promotion, this exorbitant pricing has $3 taken off as long as you get a main and drink, that makes it more bearable. Unable to forgo the cuteness like most tables, we still ordered them!

img_9948And Pompom is feeling all too tired at the huge amount of food for himself. $12 for the Mango juice.

img_9956Quite impossible to not feel less unhappy after having that silly meal with Pompompurin!

img_9945And that’s the final selfie with him.

Objectively, the food here is really pretty decent and wouldn’t make you so dissatisfied that you would grudgingly walk away, feeling that it is just a cute cafe with an utter lack of content in it. A return visit is actually on the cards, till then when we feel we need to relieve that pent up stress again!

Verdict: A good restaurant. 3.6/5.