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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 Kaiyo Sushi & Grill, a newly-opened Japanese establishment along Teck Chye Terrace along the same row of shophouses as Two Bakers' newest outlet in Serangoon.

Offering a wide variety of menu items ranging from sushi/sashimi to grilled items and set menus, the items are largely pretty enjoyable just like this Kaiyo Chirashi — an assortment of raw fish slices on a bed of rice served with salad, Chawanmushi and Miso Soup. While most Chirashi Don only places their emphasis on the freshness of the raw slices of fish, this one goes further to even place some effort on the rice for a more well-rounded experience. Really enjoyed how fresh the assortment of fish was; all of which sliced in pretty chunky portions to allow for some bite while the Tamago was well-layered and provided a hint of sweetness. Coming with pickled ginger and Wasabi on the side, the pickled ginger helps to refresh the tastebuds with a zingy crunch while the Wasabi provided quite a kick to tickle the taste buds with its numbing sensation. The short-grained, pearly Japanese Rice was nothing short of being memorable here too; coming with a tinge of slight sweetness, it comes with traces of pickled mushrooms for a slight earthiness that helps to balance things out quite a fair bit. Even the Chawanmushi is out to impress here; the infusion of Yuzu is pretti evident here — whilst being relatively smooth, the Chawanmushi comes with an abundance of goodies such as mushrooms, shrimp and a huge chunk of meat as well. Considering how this bowl costs $21.90++, it is pretty value-for-money considering the level of execution here — pretty much a showcase of the chef's skill and passion to create the very best for the patrons — a gem within the neighbourhood that we would look forward to visiting again!

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Slow-cooked Chicken Cubes, Diced Carrots, Potatoes, and Daikon in Homemade Dashi Sauce, Pickled Red Ginger, Bonito Flakes, Japanese Rice.

Apart from the Tamago Sando and the various desserts making its rounds on social media, Matchaya also serves up comforting mains like the Dashi Chicken Stew now — a step further from the Matcha-centric menu which featured only desserts and beverages before its revamp of their The Cathay outlet. A rather simple and comforting dish, this was something I would look forward to if I were to crave for something soothing for the soul; the Homemade Dashi Sauce is like a stew (oh, of course) — ; savoury yet not too heavy on the taste buds, with the carrots, potatoes and daikon carrying a soft bite and the chicken cubes providing a meaty bite without being too tough nor dry. Coupled with Japanese rice, the rice comes a little less fluffy and a little dry than expected, but easily fixed when portioned with a little bit of the stew; the pickled red ginger adding a crunch and a zing to refresh the taste buds in between. Something that is fuss-free and easy to have.

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From Seizan Uni Ramen, located within the grounds of Picnic at Wisma Atria taking over the stall that used to serve up Taiwanese fare. Being affiliated to a 2 Michelin Star restaurant in Japan, Seizan Uni Ramen serves up Uni Ramen as its specialty, though also serving up to other items that feature their Dashi stock with other condiments.

Featuring a Uni-infused broth where Bafun Uni is cooked and melted down into their Dashi broth, the ramen also comes with other condiments such as Cha Shu, Egg, Seaweed and Spring Onions. Whilst looking more like a thick and rich sauce rather than a soupy broth, the Uni-infused broth is surprisingly liquid; the broth being pretty flavourful and rather interesting with the Uni's distinct umami notes carrying a slight sense of booziness in its finish — very unique, though something not meant for everyone for its richness. Noodles were springy, while the Chashu whilst being just a single slice was a pretty chunky portion; a good mix of both lean and fattier parts that provides a bit of chew while also being melt-in-the-mouth. The Egg was a bit of a letdown however; a little dry and lacking of the oozy, molten goodness that other ramen joints may be able to serve up. Overall, a pretty interesting concept; probably one of the only few places that specialises in Uni Ramen as a permanent fixture on the menu, priced rather affordably at $21 considering Uni being a premium ingredient — still probably something meant for the adventurous, as well as for ramen lovers who are open to trying all sorts of ramen around.

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From Una Una; a new unagi concept located at Bugis+ beside Ramen Champion.

Serving up a variety of Unagi dishes with a smaller variety of non-unagi menu items, the Hitsumabushi is pretty much a steal at its price point at $19.80++ for the double portion. Served with soup, some condiments, Dashi broth and pickles on the side, the main star of the show here would definitely be the Unagi that is tenderly grilled over charcoal. Watching the action in the kitchen live through the glass window, the Unagi is expertly grilled to give that nice crusted exterior that is all smoky whilst glazed in a thick, sweet sauce (albeit sweeter than those of other Unagi specialist stores here) that patrons can also add on themselves — the sauce being made available at the condiment bar placed on every dining table here with the utensils box. We also noticed how the Unagi here is rather plump, and the double portion comes with a pretty generous load of Unagi that is portioned well with the portion of pearly, short grain rice sitting beneath. Adding the Dashi broth into the Hitsumabushi, it helps to add an umami note to the dish, further elevating its flavours with a contrasting tone. Whilst the pickles are not much to shout about, the soup on the side comes clear and infused with Yuzu for a refreshing zing; helps to cut out the heavier flavours of the bowl itself.

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From the new Don Don Donki at Clarke Quay; named Doraya, this stall within the food court area focuses on its raw tuna offerings.

Perhaps one of the better dining options in the food court itself; despite the slight priciness of the bowl at $19.80, this worked out pretty well considering how fresh the Maguro was, whilst being sliced in well-sized chunks and torched to allow patrons to actually feel and taste the fish with the pearly and fluffy Japanese short-grain rice – pretty well-balanced in that aspect. The garlic chips helps to add a contrast of flavours to the bowl; a crispness and a garlicky note that just adds on the fish and rice here. Coming with Yuzu peels on the side, the Yuzu helps to add just a hint of zinginess to give a good break in between the heavier flavours of the Maguro, while the wasabi invokes a numbing sensation that is oh-so-shiok as it hits the nose when had with the other elements in the bowl.

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With Don Don Donki's opening at the basement of Clarke Quay Central, the hype seems to be very much on the Tendon Kohaku X Man Man Unagi collaboration — let's not forget about the food court area that is dedicated within the department store itself, just like its City Square Mall and Orchard Central outlets.

Only serving two items (the other being a dessert), Kanda Soba serves up Maze Soba; essentially dry ramen with a number of toppings. Served with Minced Meat, spring onions, seaweed, raw yolk and some seasoning, we were also advised to give it a douse of vinegar that was provided at the side when we finished half the bowl as-is. Mixing everything up, we felt that the condiments are largely overwhelmed by the dominant peppery notes of the seasoning; otherwise, the bowl carries quite a bit of texture from the various elements that provide a crunch and a meaty bite — the noodles also carrying some chewiness. Whilst we are not being too fond of the sauce beneath, those who wish to mop up all that sauce can add some of the fluffy short-grain rice provided on the side — absorbs all of that sauce pretty well.

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Opened recently within Hotel Soloha, Takeshi Noodle Bar is a new ramen establishment that serves up fusion ramen. Allowing patrons to customise their ramen according to their preferences, Takeshi Noodle Bar offers several types of noodles with their Ramen (i.e. Japanese Ramen noodles, Linguine or Angel Hair), whilst also allowing patrons to go for different levels of firmness of the noodles and various thickness of the broth.

Going for the Japanese Ramen noodles for hard level of noodle firmness and a normal thickness of the broth, the ramen also features other elements such as Mizayaki A5 Wagyu Beef, Nori Seaweed, Kikuage, Hon Shimeiji, Ajiitsuke Tamango, Menma, Green Onion and a Truffle Tonkotsu broth. Taking a sip of the broth, the broth carries a light truffle aroma that perfumes the entire bowl; prominent but not overwhelming the creamy and aptly thick Tonkotsu broth that is not too cloying on its own. The slices of Wagyu Beef portioned was not something I would call generous; understandably so considering the grade of the beef for such a price tag but they were pretty tender without carrying any gaminess — a mix of lean and fatty meat without needing much effort to chew and almost akin to that of Shabu-Shabu style beef. The remaining condiments help to provide more texture to the ramen; the Hon Shimeiji and Kikuage providing a bouncy bite, while the Menma adds a crunch — the Ajiitsuke Tamago coming with molten yolk that carries a savoury note from the marination. Whilst opting for hard firmness for the noodles, we found the noodles to be much on the soft side instead. A pretty decent bowl of ramen; all served it a pretty hip environment that would work well as a spot for dates or catch-ups for small groups.

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Had been a fan of Omote's Barachirashi Don ever since the first time I have had it a couple of years ago when they were still Sushiro at the small shop space that would only fit around less than 15 pax near the food court. Its amazing how they had since expanded their Chirashi Don offerings, with this being one of the latest additions to the latest menu launched a couple of weeks ago.

Taking their classic Chirashi Don and switching things up a little, this is everything I liked about their Chirashi Don with its well-sized cubes of assortment of raw fish that is fresh and affordable — all with a creamy Wasabi Mayo, chopped Wasabi and the standard knob of Wasabi on the side, topped with Ikura. The result is a mind-piercing, nose-sniffing experience; the numbing sensation that is so intense especially when one bites on the chopped Wasabi that it slows down one's eating speed because its just so mind boggling but so ever shiok. Some might call it a torture, but this is the dish that would be any Wasabi lover's calling; an item that are meant for all the daredevils willing to take up the challenge — very interesting indeed.

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Taking over the former premises of Pontian Wanton Noodles at Northpoint City is Suparakki Ramen, a new establishment that serves up affordable Tonkotsu broth ramen at less than $10.00 ala-carte.

Coming with condiments such as Onsen Egg, Chashu, Black Fungus, Seaweed, Spring Onions and thin Hakata noodles as standard, the broth comes all creamy and hearty without being too heavy, lightly savoury; pretty heartwarming at the price point. The Chashu is a mix of lean and fatty meat, whilst the Onsen Egg came with a somewhat molten yolk and the noodles carrying a bit of bite. Considering how this came at just $6.90, this is most certainly a steal for its price, for how some less-established ramen places may charge higher without achieving the consistency here; pretty much good value-for-money. Service isn't the most friendly though, and the space does feel a tad claustrophobic with lack of space between groups of diners between tables and narrow aisles — more for an eat-and-go space rather than one for lengthy catchups; but a great option to dine at if one doesn't mind the other factors except for the quality of foos served here.

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A bit late to the game, Tenjin is the latest Tendon specialty shop to have opened way after the wave of such shops and the trend having passed for quite some time. Moving into space which belonged to the now-defunct Circa 1912, Tenjin is situated in between Indigo Blue Kitchen and Kausmo at Shaw Centre.

The Toku-jo is the Premium bowl here, consisting of Tempura pieces such as Anago, Crab Leg, Prawn, Fish, Vegetables and Freedom Range Egg, all the Tendons here come with Miso Soup and Kyabetsu Salad by the side, and an option to choose between Spicy Tare or Regular Tare for the choice of sauce. Going for the Tempura pieces, we liked how the Tempura pieces were pretty well-executed; the seafood being fresh with its moisture locked in while being encased in a light and airy Tempura batter that is crisp and not particularly greasy. The various vegetables such as the pumpkin, Shiso Leaf, and eggplant provided various textures to the bowl; the pumpkin and eggplant maintained a soft texture, while the Shiso Leaf was light and crisp — the Shiitake Mushroom also adding a bouncy bite within the light and crisp batter. Hidden beneath all the condiments, the Freedom Range Egg is also encased in the same batter — a poke from the chopstick sees the yolk eagerly bursting out, providing the fluffy, short-grain rice with a silkier touch; the rice comes drizzled with the Regular Tare (which we opted) that carried a sweet-savoury note that was not excessive or pudding at the bottom of the bowl. A pretty well-executed Tendon here; one of the better bowls out there; while this is more on the pricier side at $22.80, the two other bowls are priced below $15 before taxes and prevailing charges — a place to hit for those Tendon cravings without the queue (for now, that is).

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Having launched their revamped menu just yesterday, Omote's newest menu not only boasts a wide variety of their latest Chirashi Don creations, it also features other items that showcases how Omote is more than their signature Chirashi Don.

Featuring garlic stir-fried beef with other condiments such as seaweed, spring onions and tempura bits as well as an Onsen Egg, the Ma-ze Udon comes with quite a generous portion of thick Udon beneath to be tossed with the other condiments in the bowl. Tossing everything together, the slurpy Udon is laced in a savoury sauce that the beef is simmered with; the meat being relatively tender without need much effort to chew whilst also coming with a hint of sweetness from the caramelised onions — the oozy and wobbly Onsen Egg providing a silkier texture to the entire bowl and the tempura bits creating a crispness for some contrast in texture. Whilst the "Garlic Dry" Beef Ma-ze Udon is something with a slightly heavier flavour than most traditional Japanese Udons out there, its a pretty flavoursome dish that would satisfy the local taste buds that are likely to crave for punchier flavours.

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From the new Enishi, a pretty hidden spot tucked at Level 2 of International Plaza; a brand which hails from Kobe, Japan, and is listed as a a Michelin Bin Gourmand restaurant back at its hometown. Specialising in their Japanese Dashi broth ramen, Enishi also serves up a Dan-Dan Noodle for those who would prefer a dry ramen option.

Coming with an instruction card, patrons are encourage to first have a go at the noodles by tossing it and mixing it up with the condiments provided, the item also comes with Ontama, three kinds of vinegar (Kelp Vinegar, Orange Vinegar and Spicy Vinegar) and Dashi Broth to be added at different stages to give the Dan-Dan Noodles a different flavour at the various stages. Coming withe condiments such as Chasyu (Pork and Duck), Japanese Onions, Minced Pork, Fried Onions and Japanese Pickles, patrons can also choose their preferred level of spiciness and if they want their order to be served without spiciness, Medium Hot or Very Hot. Opting for Medium Hot and Level 2 spiciness, we felt that the Dan-Dan Noodles barely carried much of a spicy kick; pretty much undetectable. That being said, the Dan-Dan Noodles was on-point with the various condiments carrying meaty bite and a crunch for a variety of textures, whilst the noodles were almost akin to a thicker and broader version of our meepok with more chew. Adding the condiments into the noodles, the Ontama provides a silkier touch to bind the various elements of the bowl together, while the vinegars help to provide some zing; the Dashi broth helping to add a final touch of umami to the whole bowl that's oh-so-good. Patrons can also order a small bowl of rice to mop up all that sauce beneath once they reach the bottom of the bowl. A very authentic experience considering the intimacy with the chef sitting around an open concept kitchen with only counter seating available — a place that carries much attention to detail from the food quality to even the placement of some items on the table; a spot that ramen enthusiasts should definitely check out!

2 Likes

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