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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

Checked out the new Kream & Kensho recently; a new cafe which had recently taken over the former premises of the now-defunct Strangers Reunion among Kampong Bahru Road within the Outram Park neighbourhood. Currently serving up a soft launch menu, the menu comprises of a limited variety of salads, rice bowls, desserts and starters.

Thought the Aburi Salmon Don works as a good option for something substantial here — pretty well-portioned for a single diner especially given the huge slab of salmon being served here. Felt that the Aburi Salmon is more of their own take rather than that usually served in Japanese establishments; seemingly more like a slab of grilled salmon that had been blowtorched just lightly for a smoky char — the slab of fish being fresh and flaky, carrying its distinct flavour with a crisp skin beneath. Beneath the slab of fish was the bed of pearly short-grain rice which was fluffy and distinct by the grain; drizzled with a Japanese-style sweet-savoury sauce for flavour whilst coming with strips of cabbage for a crunch in between spoonfuls of rice. Liked how the pickled ginger provides a sour-ish tang that resets the taste buds, while the Onsen egg came with that satisfying runny egg that gives the entire bowl of silkier texture when mixed in — the Ikura over the slab of salmon also provides for an umami note as they burst with every chew.

Felt that the offerings at Kream & Kensho were pretty decent overall; a good place to consider for satisfying cafe fare while in the area.

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Initially made the visit to Shaw House for Lemak Boys, but was caught by their notice at the entrance stating that their launch has been delayed till further notice; found ourselves ending up at a rather familiar spot since we were a little lazy to search and travel to another spot for dinner anyways.

Glad to say that Tenjin is one of the few F&B establishments that have really held out very well after all these while. Remembered visiting them when they had first launched, and was pretty impressed with how well those Tempura items were very well-executed — light, airy batter alongside fresh ingredients without being greasy nor limp. That was still very much the case with the Jo we had most recently — the Special Set comes with Prawn, Vegetable, Free Range Co. Egg all deep-fried in Tempura batter; the prawns still carrying a hint of the natural sweetness with a snappy bite, while the lotus root provides a good crunch amidst the crispness, and the Free Range Co. Egg still comes with a molten egg yolk that is all the rage with the Tendons here. Opting for the Spicy Tare (spicy sauce) over the Regular Tare, we really liked how the Spicy Tare carries a deep, savoury spiciness that was not shy in terms of the level of heat it carries — something beyond the level one would expect for Japanese cuisine, and definitely tingles the taste buds for those who are tolerable to moderate levels of spiciness; provides sufficient flavour for the bed of fluffy and pearly Japanese rice beneath the tempura pieces. Each set also comes with a side salad (which comes with free flow Goma dressing — a certain plus point for me) and also a Miso Soup loaded with seaweed and strips of fried beancurd; a pretty well thought-out set that is well-portioned for an individual diner all at S$14.80++ which is rather pocket-friendly especially considering how Tenjin is also a brand brought by the folks of Michelin-starred Les Amis.

Given how well-executed it is for the price it commands, it is little wonder how Tenjin has since garnered a crowd during meal times — a spot that is a must-visit for value-for-money Tendon,and somewhere which we would certainly be back yet again!

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Buta Kin is probably a name that should ring a bell for those who are pretty familiar with the F&B scene in Singapore — having first opened at the food court at Beauty World Centre, they have also since opened a new outlet at Thomson V Two, taking over the former premises of now-defunct Edwin & Cooks (also the same unit where now-defunct Chicken Clinic and OZ Specialty Coffee used to be).

Serving up a wider variety on the menu, more versions of their Original, Red and Black Ramen are served here, alongside some side dishes as well as Japanese Curry Rice if ramen is not quite your thing. Went for the Special Red Ramen; the Red ramen being the variant to go for it one fancies having something spicy. Thought the broth felt a little bland here; despite being a Tonkotsu broth, it seems to be lacking on the richness and savouriness of the broth — rather subtle with the spiciness also being pretty mild. That being said, the noodles are pretty “al-dente” here carrying a good bite, while the Cha Shu came with in a thick cut that thankfully did not carry a porky stench. Liked how the sheets of seaweed came crisp; some places tend to serve them a little limp, as though they had been aired out for too long, while the ramen egg comes flavoured — slightly savoury with a molten yolk that is oh-so-satisfying.

Not the best bowl of ramen out there, but at the price point of S$8.90 for this — it’s probably still a good deal after all. For those looking for the most basic bowl to satisfy their ramen cravings, the most basic Tonkotsu version (i.e. Original Ramen) only costs S$5.90, while the Vege Ramen is their cheapest offering at S$5.50. An option worth considering for pocket-friendly ramen at Upper Thomson!

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Came across their social media account whilst scrolling through social media and thought that they seemed to be a pretty interesting outfit worth checking out — after all, its pretty rare to come across a soba specialty stall operating out of a coffeeshop stall, let alone one that had recently opened its doors in the sleepy neighbourhood of Blk 28 Kelantan Lane which is located at the quieter side of Jalan Besar.

What caught my attention on their social media account is how they promised their soba to be made of 100% Buckwheat (gluten-free), no MSG and additives in the broth, house-made chili oil, and hormone-free meat; a feat for a stall situated in a coffeeshop. Sure enough, the buckwheat noodles seem to be made from scratch here; the slight inconsistency in thickness and the way that they are being sliced seemingly suggests that they may have been handmade; the noodles being pretty light and easy to eat without being particularly dense nor sticky. Whilst plain on their own, the dipping sauce was absolutely delicious. Despite being carrying somewhat of a fusion character of its own, the soba sauce comes with a strong note of savouriness, before being accompanied by a hint of spiciness from the house-made chili oil that tingles the taste buds — pretty manageable for those who are tolerant to moderate levels of spiciness, and provides some complexity in terms of flavour that cuts through the savouriness. Liked how the seaweed helps to add a hint of umami, while there seems to be a very light hint of zinginess that keeps things refreshing after every dip. While the chicken variant comes with chunks of boneless chicken being served in the dipping sauce, the pork variant comes with sliced pork pieces which are very generously sized and without any undesirable porky stench; absolutely delicious when dipped into the dipping sauce that provides the entire dish it’s flavour.

Perhaps not something for those looking for a Soba that is straight-up authentic, but one that is utterly delicious for those who are open to trying new flavours — a very surprising and hidden find in a neighbourhood one would least expect

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Saveur had been pretty much a brand that is established on French and European cuisine, and it had seem to have expanded its branding by entering the botany-themed gelato scene with the opening of Bread & Butterflies.

Not sure when it had started, but FrapasBar by Saveur at The Cathay is now serving up an extensive menu of the various offerings served in the many Saveur concepts around — from Saveur, to FrapasBar by Saveur and even MediumRare by Saveur. A lesser known fact though is the offering of a pizza menu, as well as the Japanese menu which this Gyudon is categorised under. Technically being a rendition slightly different from the authentically Japanese Gyudon, the variant here comes with marinated and sliced beef that somehow feels more like a modern-style Donburi with flank steak on short grain rice. Liked how there were attempts on making the rice flavourful — drenched in a Teriyaki sauce for a sweet-savoury note with the garlic chips and Furikake, it does make the rice fairly easy to finish, while the rice bowl also comes with a runny sous-vide egg that provides the bowl with a silkier texture. The sliced beef comes with a pinkish centre, though some parts are slightly chewy and came a little too fatty and veiny though largely still reasonably delicious, while the pickles helps to cut through the meatiness and carbs.

Whilst not available during the day of my visit, I am actually quite intrigued by the offering of sushi and Barachirashi Don in their Japanese menu here — something I am still pretty much looking forward to try given how it is a departure from Saveur’s roots, and probably an option worth exploring given their established brand name.

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Had came across this new stall at Marsiling Mall named Kuroshiro a couple of weeks ago — and then chanced upon their social media page to have found out that they had opened for business.

Much of the novelty of Kuroshiro would be their offering of Japanese White Curry — a dish that is increasingly harder to find in Singapore especially given how Tengawa Hokkaido White Curry had recently announced its closure of their Millenia Walk outlet by end July 2020. Available in both ala-carte and combo sets, the latter adds a small salad and Gyoza alongside the curry rice. Much of what is served here felt rather generic; from the Gyoza to the Chicken Karaage which felt more like fried chicken bites, while the small salad does come with a Goma dressing that is fairly appetising. Unlike the usual Japanese curry which comes with savoury-sweet note with a hint of curry spices and a very slight hint of spiciness, Japanese White Curry comes mostly creamy and sweet — almost akin to that of a cream of corn with a mellow sweetness, which paired well with the otherwise slightly-dry short grain rice that it is served with. While the various root vegetables provided a soft bite, I would have preferred the item to come slightly warmer for how the food was a little lukewarm when served.

An interesting attempt in trying to serve up something different in a hawker centre; that being said, the price point at $8.50 for the combo set is slightly steep for the setting. No doubt that it comes with quite a number sides, but it really would be interesting to see how the concept will gel with those looking for affordable local fare in a hawker centre. Still, something that’s worth trying for those whom are curious about Japanese White Curry and living around the vicinity — an opportunity to try the dish considering its rarity here.

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Had came across this new stall at Marsiling Mall named Kuroshiro a couple of weeks ago — and then chanced upon their social media page to have found out that they had opened for business.

Much of the novelty of Kuroshiro would be their offering of Japanese White Curry — a dish that is increasingly harder to find in Singapore especially given how Tengawa Hokkaido White Curry had recently announced its closure of their Millenia Walk outlet by end July 2020. Available in both ala-carte and combo sets, the latter adds a small salad and Gyoza alongside the curry rice. Much of what is served here felt rather generic; from the Gyoza to the Chicken Karaage which felt more like fried chicken bites, while the small salad does come with a Goma dressing that is fairly appetising. Unlike the usual Japanese curry which comes with savoury-sweet note with a hint of curry spices and a very slight hint of spiciness, Japanese White Curry comes mostly creamy and sweet — almost akin to that of a cream of corn with a mellow sweetness, which paired well with the otherwise slightly-dry short grain rice that it is served with. While the various root vegetables provided a soft bite, I would have preferred the item to come slightly warmer for how the food was a little lukewarm when served.

An interesting attempt in trying to serve up something different in a hawker centre; that being said, the price point at $8.50 for the combo set is slightly steep for the setting. No doubt that it comes with quite a number sides, but it really would be interesting to see how the concept will gel with those looking for affordable local fare in a hawker centre. Still, something that’s worth trying for those whom are curious about Japanese White Curry and living around the vicinity — an opportunity to try the dish considering its rarity here.

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Back to Chirashi King Kong to experience the dine-in vibes at their newest outlet at Sunshine Plaza — limited seatings at the current stage considering that social distancing measures are still in place during Phase 2, though the space does remind us a little of a shrunken and less funky version of their Millenia Walk outlet with some neon lights and a simple space that is decked in white for a clean look.

Went back to the favourite bowl that I would have ordered usually, and glad that this is still as consistent and affordable as it was — 6 slices of Salmon Sashimi all drenched in umami Mentaiko Mayo that is flame-torched for an added smoky note, all atop a bed of truffle rice that comes standard with every Donburi. The truffle rice carries an earthy aroma with a punch, while at the same time not being particularly overwhelming and is pretty appetising even on its own — something that truffle lovers will absolutely enjoy. Accompanying the salmon and truffle rice are various Japanese pickles that provides a good tang and a textural contrast carrying various degrees of crunches that also helps to cut through the flavours of both the fish and rice, while the knob of wasabi gives that numbing kick for those who must have it during their Japanese meals.

Have been following them since the beginning at Tanjong Pagar Plaza and absolutely stoked with this new location that’s convenient for a visit for me to visit (perhaps a bit too convenient 😅).

Chirashi King Kong is still taking orders for deliveries and takeaways through Google Forms (link in their Instagram and Facebook pages), as well as through GrabFood at their various outlets for those who still prefer staying in during this period of time.

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From Izakaya Hikari; a fairly new Japanese establishment located at Level 3 of Fortune Centre which had taken over the former premises of now-defunct Gokoro Concept Bar just slightly before the Circuit Breaker had begin.

Running a 20% off promotion for both dine-in and takeaways currently, the Salmon Mentaiko Donburi Set comes at S$15.10 after discount, with the set also including a drink (soft drinks or green tea), side salad, and Miso Soup.

The Salmon Mentaiko Donburi is pretty decent here; coming with salmon sashimi slices that has been drenched in Mentaiko mayonnaise which has been flame-torched over a bed of Japanese short-grain rice, there was portion of fish and rice was pretty fair, allowing for one to enjoy a little bit of fish with the rice beneath. The salmon slices were pretty fresh; umami from the Mentaiko mayonnaise whilst also carrying a slight smokiness. Accompanied with a myriad of Japanese pickles, the pickles add an assortment of crunch and tang to provide the dish with ample contrast in terms of flavour and a refreshing note to balance between the Mentaiko-drenched fish and rice; the knob of wasabi also provided a numbing kick that takes off some of the heaviness in the flavours of the bowl as well. The side salad was pretty fresh and crunchy, featuring leafy greens and cherry tomatoes tossed in vinaigrette; also rather refreshing, while the Miso Soup that came on the side was also fairly decent.

A place that is worth considering to lunch at for those looking for a quiet spot in the area given its rather remote location in the building — they are also on GrabFood, if dining-in isn’t quite your thing right now.

Had pretty much enjoyed Enishi’s unique offering of Japanese-style Dan Dan Ramen at Tanjong Pagar previously; pretty excited to see Lowercase having a collaboration with them during this difficult period to serve Enishi’s signature Japanese Dan Dan Ramen at their premiere for pick-up/delivery.

Going for the “Moderate” level of spiciness (the other two levels being “Non-Spicy” and “Very Spicy”, this still works well for a quick takeaway option — the order comes with a bowl of the soup on the side, and a soft-boiled egg to be cracked by yourself in a separate bowl (not pictured). Tossing all of the ingredients together (Chasyu — Duck and Pork, Japanese Onions, Minced Pork, Ontama, Japanese Mizuna, Fried Onions and Japanese Pickles), the entire bowl provides an umami mix of flavours and a medley of various textures. The noodles are different from the typical Japanese ramen noodles on its own; thicker and chewier than the ones we are used to, almost akin to that of Ban Mian, while the sauce provides a umami and slightly peppery note for those have ordered the spicy variants. Really enjoyed how the Japanese pickles helped to add a sweet crunch, while the Chasyu is pretty tender and savoury whilst being cut in substantial cubes for a meaty bite. The Japanese Onions helps to provide yet another dimension of crunch, while giving the entire bowl a slight zing, and the Ontama adds a silkier touch to the noodles when mixed into the bowl. Still pretty delicious despite being in takeaway form; and made pretty convenient to order with Lowercase’s contact form where orders will be confirmed on WhatsApp. A great option if one is near the area, considering that this is only available at Lowercase during this very special times that we are going through.

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Really stoked about Chirashi King Kong opening its doors at Sunshine Plaza; had been following them since their days at Tanjong Pagar and Millenia Walk — definitely excited to see them open at somewhere more convenient for me.

While my usual go-to would have included their Unagi Rice Bowl or the Salmon Mentaiko Bowl, the Aburi Salmon is a steal for its price. At $10.90, one gets 8 slices of salmon sashimi, flame-torched for a smoky note and lightly brushed with teriyaki sauce for some flavour; all of which sits atop their signature truffle rice that perfumes of an aromatic hint of truffle — especially flavourful already on its own and something which I always wished for more. Pairing each spoonful with a bit of fish and rice, the assorted Japanese pickles on the side helps cut through the heaviness, providing a slight tang and a soft crunch that adds texture to the entire bowl.

Always liked how they have been pretty consistent since their days at Tanjong Pagar; definitely coming back for more now that it’s in such proximity!

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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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Up, down and everywhere around for food.

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