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Taste Of Nippon

Taste Of Nippon

Japanese fare that everyone loves. Curry Don, Sushi and everything else; you name it, we have it!
Xing Wei Chua
Xing Wei Chua

From Omote’s menu revamp, which was just launched on Friday that sees the introduction of some new items, which includes a Spicy Dashi Chirashi and many more other items (both cooked and raw) to try.

The Umami Soy Chirashi is essentially a spin-off to their original Omote Chirashi Don, described on the menu as “second-generation favourite redefined with a new age roasted stock of soy marination”. As compared to the original Omote Chirashi Don which is essentially the main attraction, the Umami Soy Chirashi’s marinade comes slightly more savoury than sweet, providing a more punchy umami note that the namesake suggests. There again, it comes with just the right proportions of fish to rice, with the raw fish diced just right or provide enough chew whilst being fresh — very much the standard package with a little more oomph, along with that same Ikura the provided for an extra burst of umami as they pop in the mouth, and that lethal Wasabi that provides that numbing but oh-so-shiok tingle to the tastebuds. Excited to return for the other items that they have added to the menu, especially for the garlic fried rice dishes and the Spicy Dashi Chirashi — a next visit shall be due soon!

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Kinda sad that Donya had announced the closure of their Queen Street outlet this weekend, 15 March 2020 — their Salmon Mentaiko Don being one of my favourite items to have here.

Liked how this is so simple, yet so satisfying — a thick slab of crisp, fried salmon with an equally crisp skin that comes drenched in a generous amount of Mentaiko Mayo, torched before serving; always loved how the salmon comes with its moisture locked in, so ever succulent and juicy while the Mentaiko Mayo provides a umami flavour and slight smokiness, while the pearly, short-grain rice comes drenched with Teriyaki sauce for a savoury flavour. Really liked how affordable this is at $8.80; good enough for an occasional treat for lunch on a work day — a shame that they are shifting out of this ‘hood real soon.

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From 9², which had recently made its comeback into the F&B scene in Singapore after the closure of Hotel Innotel where it was situated; now located at Dawson Place — a neighbourhood shopping mall in Queenstown.

A pretty simple iteration here; fuss-free without all that marination of the raw fish; just salmon sashimi slices coming with Chili padi for that raw punch of spiciness, while the shallots help to add a crispness to the dish. Not a fan of the warm bed of rice underneath; always found it to be a weird temperature contrast with the raw fish over the top, though the rice also comes with a lightly savoury sauce for some flavour. The Ikura helps to add a umami burst as it pops in the mouth; a pretty decent Donburi spot that is conveniently located in the neighbourhood — not the best, but quality here is pretty respectable to say the least.

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From the newly-opened Ichiho – Donburi & Sushi, which had recently opened its doors at Aperia Mall, taking over the former premises of now-defunct Grand Jete Izakaya & Bar. Serving items such as appetisers, salads, sashimi, sushi, Donburi, Tempura, and grilled meats, the Oshizushi is one of the few items served here that is less commonly found in such Japanese establishments here.

Essentially a box-pressed sushi, the sushi is shaped using a special wooden box for its rectangular appearance. The Unagi here comes pretty meaty here, carrying a slight sweetness from the glaze brushed over the top whilst also having a slight char, though the sushi rice here felt a tad bland being less vinegary and lacked a hint of sweetness to match — though that was still somewhat salvaged by the unagi’s glazing that provided that sweetness it lacked. A fairly decent dining option if in the area.

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Wild Mushroom, Gyoza Skin, Pickled Shallots, Smoked Chestnut Purée, Brie, Wild Mushroom Milk. From the new ChiChi House at Amoy Street, a new establishment opened by the very same folks behind Nesuto and now-defunct 52 Sandwich Shack, serving up Modern Japanese cuisine.

Being an item offered in both their ala-carte menu and set menu for dinner, the Smoked Chestnut & Truffle Gyoza is probably one of the more inventive items listed on their menu with a contemporary touch. Giving the classic Gyoza with their very own twist, the Gyoza here comes shaped looking like raviolis; patrons are encouraged to have all elements at one go to enjoy this dish as intended to be. We liked how the Gyoza here seems to be pretty well-sized; one could enjoy the Gyoza in a single mouthful, while the fillings within provided a hint of earthiness that is also enhanced by a whiff of truffle. The skin of the Gyoza is neither too thin nor too thick; good enough to hold the fillings within without breaking apart too easily, whilst not being too stiff — the Brie helped add a slight hint of cheesiness that provides yet another savoury note for some contrast. The pickled shallots helped to add a slight zing and a crunch, while the smoked chestnut purée helps to add a smoky sweetness that helps to cut through the savoury notes in an attempt to provide yet another dimension of flavour to the dish, with the Wild Mushroom Milk further supporting the flavours of the Gyoza. Some may argue that the plates here are seemingly more “contemporary” than actually Modern Japanese — though some dishes are albeit on the safer and conventional side, this item stands out for its thoughtful approach, being given a unique twist by ChiChi House. Really liked how ChiChi House provides for that casual dining experience with its dim lighting with a strong spotlights throwing the emphasis on what is to be served up at the table, as well as how the staff taking the time to explain every single element going on in the dish — an affordable casual dining concept in the heart of the Central Business District with quite a bit of potential here.

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Hadn’t returned to Seiwaa Okonomiyaki and Teppanyaki for quite a while — did not manage to sit at the tables with the hot plates for those seats were fully reserved, thus missing out on the Okonomiyaki and Monjayaki totally.

The Aburi Mentaiko Salmon is pretty well-executed for a crowd-pleaser; coming with skin-on, the grilled salmon comes all juicy and flaky with a crisp skin, drenched with Mentaiko that had been flame-torched for a slight smokiness that compliment the umami flavour profile of the Mentaiko, while the addition of raw onions on the side provides a good break between all that savoury and umami notes of the dish with its refreshing zest that cuts through the heavier flavours here.

What came as a real bummer is how their service staff seem to keep emphasising to patrons in our dining area that the Monjayaki and Okonomiyaki are not available to diners seated at the section where we were located, yet one of the tables behind us in the same area without a hot plate at the table still managed to order a portion of Okonomiyaki that was served on a plate; oh well ...

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Charcoal-Grilled, Sliced US Beef Shortrib in Tanuki Raw’s signature Sukiyaki sauce, Truffle soy, Onsen Egg, house-made pickles, Shio Konbu.

Hadn’t actually had anything from Tanuki Raw in a while, but this was pretty satisfying — the beef slices were sliced pretty thin and tender, carrying a slight hint of smokiness whilst perfuming of a truffle aroma; a good portion being served over the a bed of Japanese short-grain rice that is fluffy and sufficiently sticky, drenched with an ample amount of truffle soy for a savoury and earthy note of flavours that makes the rice easy to have. Mixing up the wobbly Onsen Egg into the entire bowl, it gives the rice and the beef slices a silkier texture that also helped to bind the various elements of the dish altogether, while the house-made pickles on the side gives a refreshing crunch with a tang to cut through all that meatiness and carbs to achieve a good balance. A pretty decent eat at Jewel; perhaps a visit to their Orchard Central outlet is due pretty soon considering it had been years since the last visit.

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From Uouo Restaurant at Sunshine Plaza, a new Japanese establishment that had opened its doors recently from the folks behind Washoku Goen. Offering lunch deals from $6.80++ onwards, the menu boasts a wide variety of Japanese cuisine from Donburi, to Gyoza sets, Ramen and Curry Rice.

Giving the Cheese Curry a go, the Cheese Curry Salmon is all familiar for those who had been having Washoku Goen's curry rice from their various stalls within food courts such as Food Republic or Food Junction — a thick, savoury and slightly sweet Japanese curry blankets the short-grain rice beneath, while cheese is melted over the top for that oozy, stretchy texture and a savoury note that is simply a crowd-pleaser. The salmon over the top comes pretty chunky; the flesh maintaining some moisture, and a decent accompaniment to the Cheese Curry. Comes with soup on the side, while tea is served upon entry to the restaurant — pretty value-for-money and a decent dining option, especially for the office folks in the area.

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From Sushi Plus; a new concept by the folks behind Sushi Express — think of it as a combination of Genki Sushi alongside casual conveyor belt sushi chains such as Sushi Express itself; patrons would have to scan a QR code specific to the table that they are seated so as to make their orders from the menu that would arrive through the express lane above the conveyor belt.

Amongst the items that we enjoyed included the Garlic Butter Scallop Nigri Sushi (an Umami bomb on its own; the Garlic Butter is everything to love here), as well as the Cheese Masago with Tamago. Essentially a warm slab of Tamago encasing melted cheese and topped with Mentaiko, the Tamago is well-layered whilst featuring oozy cheese that is all savoury while the Mentaiko over the top provides a umami note that is hard not to love. Yes; a very basic item featuring all the things that almost everyone likes in one package, but still pretty delicious and pretty much a steal at $1.50 a piece.

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From the new Buta Kabayaki at Food Republic [email protected] which replaces the former premises of Monster Curry, serving up Japanese Curry Rice and various forms of Donburi involving different cuts and styles of pork.

Going for the Okinawa Style Pork Jowl Don which is currently on discount at $5 (usual price $7) for its opening promotion, the Donburi came with 5 slices of Pork Jowl, sous-vide egg, pickled vegetables and spring onion on a bed of short-grain rice. Whilst the Pork Jowl was brilliantly done being all tender and succulent, carrying a light hint of char without any hint of porkiness from the meat, the meat was slathered in a sauce similar to BBQ sauce which carried a sweetness that seemingly overwhelmed the flavours of the meat — a pity considering how well-executed the meat was. Otherwise, the other elements are pretty pedestrian, though kudos to them for serving up a sous-vide egg which carried a flowy and oozy molten yolk; all jiggly and wobbly. While this was decent for its price for the promotional period, I can't really help but to think if I would actually consider to have this again at its full price — I would not mind paying slightly more for more slices of meat, considering how it all seem to have ended too quickly, and definitely also doing away with the sauce which constantly interfered with the flavours of the meat as well.

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The opening of PLQ Mall had undeniably added quite a number of dining options to the area. Gave Donburi King a try over the weekend, which not only serves up well-sized Chirashi Don, but also offers other cooked items as well as ramen.

Pretty much liked this dish for how the Sliced Iberico Pork was so on-point; thin slices of pork that is juicy and tender, simmered in a broth that is oh-so-savoury with caramelised onions carrying a distinct sweetness that makes it undoubtedly comforting and delicious. Beneath the pile of meat is the short-grain rice; pearly and sticky, the rice absorbed much of the broth that came with the pork, giving it a bit of moisture without feeling particularly dry. No doubt the main star of this establishment would be their Chirashi Don offerings; mounds of fresh seafood atop rice that is generous and all, but this is something I would see myself ordering again — simple, comforting food that warms up the soul indeed.

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Had been recently into different forms of fried rice of the late; just cannot resist a good plate of fried rice done either in Japanese or Taiwanese style. While the ramen and gyoza are the main highlights at Kiwami, the Mizayaki Wagyu Garlic Fried Rice is an item that is great to share across the table with the gyoza as well. Well-executed, the Garlic Fried Rice is pretty consistent in flavour throughout the entire portion; savoury, garlicky and not too greasy — the rice is also still pearly while speckled with egg and garlic chips for an extra fragrance. The beef comes pretty well-portioned; tender and savoury — quite flavourful on its own, and adds a meatiness to the rice and adds a good bite as well without being chewy or tough. An item that is comforting and delicious; something which we would crave for again considering how well-executed it is.

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Up, down and everywhere around for food.

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