Kyushu Pancake – Those pancakes are legit!

Kyushu Pancake Cafe

#01-08, Novena Regency, 275 Thomson Road, Novena Regency near Novena MRT

img_9349When it comes to authentic Japanese cafes, I have never been disappointed by any so far and Kyushu Pancake Cafe, hailing from Kyushu, is delightfully delectable and completely satisfying. They may not have a huge range of savoury items which are also pancake / waffle centric, the sweets though are the ones to look out for I reckon. Their forte, if their name has already not suggested, is obviously the pancakes that has the perfected texture, soft, fluffy yet contains a lower quotient of butter as compared to those from the famous Clinton Street Bakery, making it less queasy than the usual American style.

img_9334Classic Salad with Chicken – Refreshing luscious greens, made savoury with that thick sesame flavoured wafu sauce. $9.50.

img_9338Karaage Chicken waffle with Special sauce and honey – Unlike its American counterpart, the Texas Chicken Waffle, the Japanese savoury coating over this huge slab of chicken gave it a huge Asian twist and definitely didn’t clash with that slightly sweeter tasting thick solid waffle that is evidently prepared from some quality batter. $19.

img_9344img_9343Managed to convince the buddy for a Matcha Tiramisu instead of a toast as one could have imagined how perfect that combination of creamy brown sugar Mascarpone cheese would have been with those fluffy pancakes underneath. Smothered by that thick creamy layer, just like what I have hoped for, sprinkled with the matcha powder, this dessert is completed beautifully with the creamy Vanilla ice cream and Matcha sauce. Around $18.

I earnestly felt credits have to be given to them as these pancakes were not made just from any wheat flour, instead it is a combination of specially selected wheat from the different prefectures in Japan, as what is described in their website; a mix which is totally befitting as “one that brings you the natural taste, free of emulsifier, artificial fragrance, additives or processed starch”.

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Verdict: An excellent cafe. 4.3/5.

 

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Inaniwa Yosuke – One of the highest grade udon served at the Wisma Atria Japan Food Town!

Inaniwa Yosuke

Wisma Atria near Orchard MRT

IMG_8510Wow, what a surprise as I didn’t expect such an outstanding quality from the newly opened Japan Town at Wisma Atria! Just like many other similar openings, my initial impression was that this is just another gimmicky town that just wants to attract the masses with this popular theme as everyone knows that Japanese cuisine owns a big market share in the Sg food scene. But upon stepping into here, immediately you would realise, from the interior decor to the names of the restaurants, to the chefs and to even how the queue is managed, this Japan food town is an exact replica of what you would find at the topmost levels of any plush shopping malls in Tokyo or Shinjuku (IOIO or Takashimaya)! 16 stalls available, I decided to queue for Inaniwa Yosuke (even the name is profoundly Japanese and not easy to remember) which functions as a udon specialty stall. Before stepping into it, I was already very impressed by their way of managing their customers. Empty seats and tables spotted but the very first person will not be seated until the orders are reduced to a manageable volume; QC checked! And you could be confident of your dining experience later on.

IMG_8505IMG_8508Not just any udon restaurant as the highest udon grade is sourced over here, and unlike the rotund ones that most are more familiar with, Inaniwa uses the flat ones which have a harder and bouncier consistency which would definitely give you a very satisfying slurp. Served cold or in a bowl of clear hot broth, my favourite is the chilled one as it goes impeccably well with the wasabi flavoured dipping soy sauce.

IMG_8502Quite a few different sets available, the tendon set ($29) was chosen as it was an utterly famished night. What was initially misconstrued as pig’s blood, was actually a saucer of intensely marinated mushy aubergine. Very authentic indeed.

IMG_8507A bowl of warm and clear delicious broth this flat springy udon is soaked in, I almost polished it clean.

IMG_8509And apparently, the udon is the star over here as its tendon is less well garnished as compared to a tendon specialty restaurant like Kohaku or Ginza Itsuki.

Very impressed we were, this is actually, pretty much comparable to what you could get in a very decent Japan Udon restaurant and it would be pretty much cynical to even fault the udon over here. Very delicious, great service rendered, it is only logical to explore the other restaurants in this town. We shall see!

Verdict: An excellent restaurant. 4.5/5.

 

Kanda Wadatsumi – Marvelous set lunches! Where you learn 3 ways to eat a chirashi don!

Kanda Wadatsumi

50 Tras Street near Tanjong Pagar MRT

IMG_8206Not exactly new, but lined along the hipsterish Tras Street, this relatively new Japanese restaurant is one good addition to the food scene in Singapore. Not too sure about the dinner standards over here, but if you are searching for an affordable yet very quality lunch, I believe Kanda Wadatsumi would not disappoint. Starting from $32 for their set lunch, we got the Chirashi set each while I topped up an $8 for an additional appetiser and dessert, which I reckon is worthy of!

IMG_8207IMG_8210My additional appetiser – the fluffy steamed tamago doused in a lightly sweetened savoury nori sauce.

IMG_8208What a beautiful bowl of neatly diced chirashi over here. Unlike the rendition served by Teppei and some other restaurants, this is not doused with the flavour lifting mirin based sauce that would unfortunately leave some of us a little thirsty later on. Instead, its taste is lifted by the naturally sweet fish cubes and not forgetting that creamy slab of uni on top.

IMG_8211What makes it even more exciting is the chef’s creativity in his Chirashi creation, as he has invented three different intriguing ways to savour this bowl of chirashi don.

IMG_8212The second way of eating this – drenching it with the sesame sauce to give it an extra fragrant nutty body that would suit the heavier palates.

IMG_8213IMG_8214The third way of eating this – soaking the whole bowl in the lukewarm, clear and subtly fragranted dashi broth. This was clearly my favourite as I finished the rest with this pot. Just lightly savoury, it befits totally the lighter tasting chirashi theme and I was further impressed with how the nori and condiments by the side, especially the wasabi, are able to greatly lift the overall taste of this chirashi ochazuke! Yummy!

IMG_8215IMG_8216The dessert – Matcha Tiramisu! Fluffy moist intensely flavoured matcha sponge that is smothered with the beautiful, creamy mascarpone cheese, this was legit.

I am pretty impressed with the creativity behind the set lunches served over here, at least for the chirashi don as not only does it taste excellent on its own already, the chef even went further by introducing two other ways of eating it that makes the experience even more wholesome and fun!

Verdict: An excellent restaurant for lunch. 4.6/5.

 

Kohaku – The 2nd Tendon in Singapore; definitely brewing a storm here.

Kohaku

Suntec City near Promenade MRT

IMG_8317They have only just opened for a week or two; instagrammed just a few times and the dinner queue now starts at 5pm on a weekend! I was flabbergasted when I walked past Kohaku restaurant at 4pm and it was already packed. The second tendon restaurant to open after Ginza Itsuki heralded the first tendon restaurant in Singapore with its impeccable set meals, Kohaku will definitely be hot on Itsuki heels for the crowd.

IMG_8319Got the Spicy Tendon set meal for $19.50, and we were served this complementary bowl of refreshing sliced radish, punctuated with the zesty yuzu peels. So good that we almost finished the whole bowl of it!

IMG_8320I chose the set that came with the udon which wasn’t seen ordered by the customers around us, as after all this is a tendon specialty restaurant. But, this bowl of soup udon is in its own right, perfected in many different ways. The udon noodles, in contrary to what is commonly seen, is flat and has the perfect springier consistency, which in my opinion is the higher echelon of the udon specie. And that light tasting broth was so delicious that I finished it.

IMG_8321IMG_8323And then, here comes the luscious bowl of spicy tendon. Loads of fresh ingredients on top such as a huge slab of chicken, two utterly fresh crunchy prawns, corn, long beans, a wide slab of delectable squid and mushroom. Fried to a beautiful crispy batter and drizzled with the spicy sweet tendon sauce, this definitely hits the spot! But take note that the spicy tendon sauce does indeed have some kick there; so if you are not good at spicy food, then opt for the original rendition.

Now here comes the inevitable comparison with Ginza Itsuki. Both have their strong points but I guess if I were to choose a winner, Ginza Itsuki appeals more as their tempura poached egg and runny yolk indubitably gave the entire bowl a creamier body and an extra edge. That said, I believe long lines will start to form outside Kohaku soon.

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Verdict: An excellent restaurant. 4.5/5.

Sushi Ichi – Moved to Marriott Hotel with modern contrasting zen colours

Sushi Ichi

Marriott Hotel near Orchard MRT

IMG_6765The second time here, this time a treat from V who just turned permanent. Having had a pretty good impression of Sushi Ichi few years back despite having Shinji as my favourite still (it may be time to pay Ashino a visit soon already), and since V has already been to the supposed Shinji treat (due to her impatience to wait for me to complete my sudden OT month), we settled for Ichi. Moved to their newly renovated nest at Marriott Tang’s Hotel from the empty upmarket Scott’s plaza for a mere 10 months, Ichi has been given a fresh breath of liveliness as shown by its sleeker design, with ornaments that are coated with strong contrasting zen colours, that has proven to be much more attractive than its blander colours in their previous premise.

IMG_6763Served by the funny Chef Yukinori, just like the first visit, I was however lucky this time to witness the use of that huge block of smouldering charcoal to give those slabs of fatty tuna belly a beautiful torch. Very interesting culinary technique that is instagram worthy at the same time.

IMG_6760Not wanting to make my recently turned perm friend go broke, I of course got the cheapest lunch set that includes 8 nigiri, wobbly and smooth chawanmushi, uni rice, appetiser and dessert. This octopus appetiser tasted light, elegant as both the springy poached octopus meat and seaweed complemented each other greatly while that gooseberry over there was the sweetest that I have ever come across (yes, they are usually always sour).

IMG_6766Featuring some sushi that have been beautifully compressed, this is the slithery white shrimp topping, that doesn’t give you the goosebumps with its natural sweetness.

IMG_6768Huge fat scallop that has blanketed that mash of sushi rice below it.

IMG_6769And the luscious slab of fish sushi.

IMG_6770This small bowl of uni rice, made into a gem with its petite sizing. Lovely creaminess that these uni has together with the popping ikura that gives the saltiness needed.

IMG_6772Ending off the entire colder sushi course, is the warm, yuzu fragranted anago sushi!

IMG_6773Was amazed previously and still as amazed by how delicious a brown sugar sorbet could be. Dense, lightly sweet, cut through beautifully by the intensely sweet and sour sour plum shreds. Huge contrast and a perfect ending to the meal! Oh yes, and I also have been to the main branch in Japan (Ginza Sushi Ichi).

Verdict: An excellent restaurant. 4.2/5