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Rice Bowls

Rice Bowls

Simple, delish, hearty fare crammed into a single bowl.
Nobelle Liew
Nobelle Liew

Being around for some 4-5 years now says heaps, considering the volatility and high turnover rates of local cafes; and that @therefinerysg’s signature Refinery Gyudon’s been on the menu since day 1 shows just how reliably good this is. Each grain bowl comes topped with truffle shimeji mushrooms, tare marinated beef, pickled daikon, garlic chips, and an onsen egg. Very simple ingredients, with flavours and textures that balances out, it’s essentially a more modern take on the classic time-proven gyudon. If anything I found the rare sauce a wee sweeter than I’d prefer, but really there isn’t much to pick on with this grain bowl.

2 Likes

So many were raving about Ami Ami’s onsen egg tempura tendon awhile back, and as usual slow to the game I thought I’d give it a go recently at their parent restaurant Kuriya. And...nyeeeeh it’s aight. The tendon on its own was pretty good, tempura crisp, light, and not greasy, though nothing calling for a major woowoop. While I thought it was interesting having the onsen egg wrapped in (what I believe was) a phyllo sheet instead of the regular tempura batter, I can’t say I cared as much for its texture 🤔

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The base itself is vastly different: featuring a mix of barley, quinoa, brown, and white rice, it’s a whole lot more nutritious and wholesome. Top that with a mix of okra, kale, murasaki imo (purple sweet potatoes), and eggplant tempura, earthy shrooms, and surprising blops of kimchi every here and there, and you’ve got yourself a fantastically interesting lunch. While I was absolutely in love with the idea of the genmaicha broth, I found it a little too bland. That toasty toasty rice fragrance came through for sure, but I’d have liked a wee more soy sauce or something — especially considering that the kakiage wasn’t exactly seasoned, neither were the other components. A great idea on the whole though, and I’d give their other grain bowls a shot any time.

4 Likes

You forget your dislike for fatty cuts (blasphemy I know) and order it anyway. I’ll be frank and say that my enthusiasm died pretty quick once my palate and preferences come kicking in; but I have to say this was pretty good while it lasted. Slices of fatty, pinky, melt-in-your-mouth grilled Japanese A3 wagyu ribeye, a silky onsen egg yolk, umami housemade yakiniku sauce and a seriously unbelievably delish bowl of sushi rice. I was honestly quite surprised at how well-seasoned and tasty their sushi rice was! Perfectly cooked, tender with a bite, it’s surprising how the most basic ingredient can make or kill a dish — leaving me impressed in this case.

6 Likes

Very similar to the zi char renditions, it’s a good balance of salty and sweet that goes really well with the tempura; though as far as tendons go, the tempura here isn’t particularly memorable. Batter was a little too thick, unseasoned and flat, though commendably not too oily. The ingredients though varied also weren’t as generous as some of its peers — the chicken was puny lol and that’s usually my fave bit!

8 Likes

Definitely slow to the game, but glad I finally got to try Don Meijin’s Chilli Crab Tendon! I must say this was a bit of an oddball for me. Not usually a fan of chilli crab already cause it’s not really spicy and just quite sweet, and Don Meijin’s take was significantly sweeter than some of the other sauces I’ve tried — plus there really isn’t a lot of sauce. Still, as much grub as I have against the variety of tempura in the bowl, it does make a really decent tendon option in town. Annnnnd it took 45min for our 2 bowls of tendon to arrive with only us in the restaurant? 😰

4 Likes

Running high risk of a public outcry when I say I’ve actually never been a fan of uni 😅 That is till I had the $98 Omakase (nett FYI) at Ryo Sushi. Pampered to the heavens and back with a range of uni dishes, paired with a variety of stellar ingredients. Their epic uni on uni on uni rice bowl (that’s uni-mixed rice, ikura, and a topping of 2 varieties of uni) is the last of the uni dishes we had, with uni-topped aburi ebi and the anything-but-plain uni roll among others we’ve tried earlier — pure indulgence. Thing is as shiok as uni is it doesn’t make everything instantly good. What made our meal at Ruo Sushi so memorable was how the chef expertly bring together quality ingredients with other well-executed components (their sushi rice is legit, possibly the best I’ve had here) to bring us dishes that are nothing short of mind-blowing. That, and their generosity, makes this omakase unlike any other I’ve tried.

2 Likes

I was first attracted by how interesting the ingredients sound (Soy Ginger Salmon or Honey-Glazed Grilled Iberico Pork Collar for you?), but was sold when I heard they use a mix of of quinoa, barley, and brown rice for their grain base. Though a tad pricey, their Spice Roasted Chicken leg ($17++) turned out better than I imagined. An entire rendang-infused chicken leg, roasted till its skin's wonderfully caramelised (though not crisp enough pour moi) while its insides stay juicy and moist, topped with the most yummy coriander garlic pesto. It seems rather plain Jane; but the flavours are on point, eggplant salad nicely seasoned, with even the grain mix nicely tossed in a tasty vinaigrette.

4 Likes

Thought I'd check out another one of these grain bowl (or plate, rather) spots around town, especially one located in a food court with supposedly really reasonable prices. Quinoa wasn't hot nor properly seasoned, resulting in a base that was bland and disappointing to say the least. We tried the Western (Australian striploin) and Thai (Thai basil pork shoulder), and neither were particularly tasty nor well-executed — beef was totally overcooked — and the fermented veggies were all overly sour and one-dimensional. Would honestly rather pay double for a better bowl 😕

Seriously the dish that most impressed of our omakase dinner at Yoda Fish & Meat Market. Apparently a common traditional dish in Japan, this Sanbo Rice's really a mishmash of simple, fresh, and undeniably great produce. A bed of fragrant Japanese rice topped with chopped negitoro, creamy uni, crisp salmon skin, earthy toasted sesame, and sweet sweet ikura. Served with sheets of crunchy nori, so it's really like a DIY temaki. Fun, delicious, fantastic. The best part of it all? The moment those amber gems of sweet, briny ikura burst, lending an immediate umami boost to each bite.

3 Likes

And still I can't understand why they're hailed as possibly the best tendon spot in town. The batter's as soggy as the first time I tried, even though sitting right at the bar I can see each bowl freshly prepped and dished out quickly. I'm guessing it's a combination of the sauce, piping hot rice, and the extra plate, that kinda gathers all the steam at the same spot and causes the batter to lose its crisp even faster. Can't say I'm right though, just a guess since other tendon places don't really seem to have this problem.
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The sauces however are undeniably good, the batter not too oily despite its thickness and sogginess, and the Japanese rice perfectly cooked and comforting. I figure the way to get the best of both worlds, is to request for your tempura be served separately on the side.

5 Likes

Cause no it's not really customisable: you don't get to choose what goes into your tendon, not entirely at least. You don't get to pick a bowl full of chicken tempura if you don't like greens, nor do you get to spam sweet potato tempura if you're as big a fan as I am. What you get is a choice of sorts, between prawn/chicken/all greens; rice/udon/soba; and a sauce, spicy or not.

But that doesn't mean it ain't good. The batter here was thinner than what I had at Tendon Kohaku (though oilier), chicken as tender and juicy, and oooh that 🌶 level 3 sauce is so addictive. Doesn't seem all that devilish at the first bite, but mind you it creeps up - so if you can't take spice, stick to level 1 or 2, it'll suffice.

6 Likes

Spending all my time eating (and eating) cause what else is there to do in small 🌞🌞 Singapore?

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