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いま食べたい‼

いま食べたい‼

Dons, Ramen, Sushi, Tempura, Okonomiyaki. All things Japanese.
Siming T
Siming T

Itacho Sushi had their Ikura Festival recently, serving two versions of their Ikura Don at 60% off.

I managed to try their Salmon & Roe Giant Mini Rice (S$11.90) on the last day of their promotion today. Featuring sushi rice buried under some raw salmon and a sea of salmon roe, the mini rice bowl was bursting with umami to a point where I wished I had more rice to pair with the Ikura. However, this was how exactly the Ikura Don should taste like.

Of course, in the absence of overflowing roe and the enthusiastic shouting of “Oisa-!”, the atmosphere lacked the element of drama that would come with the “festival”. Still, it was a good to have alongside the array of Sushi, Gunkan and other Tabemono that is familiar to the diners here. And the complimentary hot green tea did its job in cleansing the palate after emptying this bowl.

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Sen of Japan might be one of the rare few restaurants in The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands that partnered with Burpple Beyond, but it was a must to check out their menu of mains, rice or noodle dishes.

One of the main ingredients that was stunning for me was their Uni (sea urchin). Having experienced many disappointing meals with this delicacy that was just not fresh enough in most Singapore restaurants, the uni here tasted really sweet without leaving behind that gross aftertaste.

Take this Mini Aburi Don (S$68.00) for instance. Although the sushi rice portion was really small, the deliciousness of the sea urchin and the seared bluefin tuna (Ootoro and Chuutoro) had a naturally pleasant taste especially when complemented with a pinch of fresh Wasabi. And of course, who would give the large scoop of Ikura a miss if it could add umami to this flavoursome bowl?

With so much going on in my mouth based on this dish, the price was not that much of a burn to the pocket, especially since I redeemed a Burpple Beyond deal. A point to note though, that the availability of sea urchin might be limited by the seasonal catch, so do check with the restaurant beforehand if you were solely eyeing on their Uni dishes.

#BurppleBeyond

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The “flaming” LCD wall outside Aburi-EN always catches my attention. And the chef grilling the meats and seafood by the window made me want to go in to try something there.

Funny that I ordered their Premium Sukiyaki Don (S$24.00). Maybe the name was the draw factor, but I was a little disappointed when I could only count three slices of Wagyu beef in that bowl. No doubt the slices were not paper-thin, but it just did not feel right for me when the meat was countable to that extent.

Another point to note that the Donburi was really saucy, which meant that the rice was not so dry. Mushroom lovers would enjoy the abundance of mushrooms, which added loads of flavour to the rice bowl too.

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Paying S$3.00 for this Seared Beef Sushi was indeed a good choice from all the S$1.50 sushi plates that were on the turbo-speed conveyor belts. What was amazing of this plate was that the beef was tender and juicy as opposed to the seemingly dry items that were going round and round. I also thought that it was a nice touch for the kitchen to leave some Himalayan pink salt by the side to season the beef to my own preference!

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Sushi Plus was like the “premium” version of their sister restaurant Sushi Express, serving up additional dishes at a slightly higher price, yet the quality was not too bad in my opinion.

Take for instance their Triple Flavour Salmon Selection (S$5.00), with three pieces of salmon belly completely blanketing the sushi rice below them, each seared before sauced up using nacho cheese sauce, Mentaiko sauce and caramelised mayonnaise respectively.

Among the three flavours, the Mentaiko sauce was the most predictable flavour that was also my favourite on that board. The nacho cheese sauce was a little off for me because the fatty salmon belly was just not enhanced by a saucy cheese. As for the mayonnaise, of course who would reject mayonnaise right? But having felt the graininess of the sugar crystals that were not brûlée completely left an awkward sweetness aftertaste, regardless how subtle that might seem to be.

No matter what, if this dish was marketed at this price, it would still be worthwhile to order it during my next visit.

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Currently, Donburi King offered a 15% discount on all Donburi and Ramen, and that might just be the reason for me to dine there.

Given that the Aburi Salmon Belly Don (S$23.00) had a beautiful plating with the healthy fats and a generous scoop of roes over the hill, I thought it was quite a good deal to get this item. As I tried hard not to gobble the flame-torched slices so quickly, I also thought they could have upped the proportion of fatty meat to make the seafood more “melt in my mouth”, but this was not too bad either.

However, it was slightly confusing for me to get Furikake rice as I expected Sushi rice — a more conventional combination. Probably it was to add more levels of flavour into the already-delicious bowl, but the Furikake just didn’t work for me as this reminded me of Onigiri more than a seafood rice bowl. Guess I probably ain’t the kind of diner that liked this tweak.

One thing that was really cool about Kajiken’s concept was that they offered a free upsize of the noodles, which meant that one could have a more filling meal without burning a hole in their pocket (but of course their hard-boiled eggs would be the low-carb option).

Apart from that, the Hokkaido Mazesoba (S$17.30) also included minced salmon, cod roe, and a small slice of butter to enhance the savoury aspect of the dish. Sadly, today’s turn-off was the overly-pungent bamboo shoots that reminded me of a less-than fresh sea urchin, making it somewhat agonising to eat on every time I chewed on some.

Neglecting the unsatisfactory parts of this meal, it was still a pretty filling meal, just that I was determined to get a dessert or drink (read: bubble tea) to cleanse my palate.

When I first saw the Aburi Mentai Yaki Chirashi Don (S$17.90) served to me, I was very excited for the generous amount of Mentaiko Mayonnaise squeezed on top of the bowl of raw seafood, egg and cucumber cubes layer. Not to mention the sea of glistering Ebiko.

Being so happy with the Mentaiko Mayonnaise made me ignore and accept the somewhat little portion of the diced stuff. But of course I also felt saddened by the fact that business was moving very slowly to the point that I could not confirm if the portions were “upsized intentionally”, or the sushi rice was on the hard side because it was not moving fast enough for a new batch to be prepared.

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Count on the Japanese to deliver innovative dining concepts, as Singapore brought in Yakiniku Like to our dining scene. Supposedly, they pitched the restaurant as fast food because the raw meats were quickly served upon order, and you would have solo or shared grill to dine at your own pace.

I tried their Like Set, which comprised 150g of meat (beef tongue, skirt steak, beef short plate), rice, soup and a side dish, for a good price of S$15.80. On top of that, diners were free to order ala carte meat items from S$2.50 to experience a variety of additional meat, from chicken to pork to even Wagyu beef!

To customise the flavours based on your palates, the restaurant also offered 8 kinds of condiments for that tasty grilled meats. And while one had to also moderate his expectation that the cuts were not at the best grade, the quality of the meal was much justified by the wallet-friendly prices.

On the other hand, I was quite sure that not many people would wait for almost an hour to get a seat. I could only hope that their diners would abide by their philosophy to make it a fast food and learn from the Japanese to make it a quick meal for others to like the Like too.

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Likely to be the first Burpple Beyond partner that did not adopt the “1-for-1” deal system, but Gyu Nami was able to stand out with their S$20.00 for Two Don deal, which consisted of any two Donburi for great value.

If you had tried Red Rock before, you would be familiar with the mountain of sliced Wagyu beef which was torched perfectly before adding a raw egg and sauce from the top. And their Signature Roast Wagyu Don (S$13.00 for Large) was quite able to deliver that droolsome flavour that I recalled from Tokyo.

If beef is just not on your list of cravings, I also liked their Salmon Mentaiko Don (S$12.00). Also flame-torched, but this seafood rice bowl was just well-flavoured within the rice, salmon and Mentaiko sauce.

Just a note though, that the deal would not cover two sets of Signature Roast Wagyu Don (Large), as told by the management of the restaurant.

#BurppleBeyond

This Japanese comfort food just did not feel Japanese anymore with a touch of a somewhat Western-style plating. But honestly speaking, I quite liked this Kamo & Mikan Potato Salad (S$7.90), which included some sliced smoked duck, orange, Japanese mountain vegetables, cherry tomatoes and dressed with blackcurrant mayonnaise.

This appetiser did not really wow me with the taste because it mainly still tasted like regular potato salad. However, the black pepper smoked duck should be used to roll up whatever found above the potato salad and spread with the special mayonnaise, as the different layers of flavour becomes more pronounced. While it was a bit awkward to share between two persons and too little for three, probably having one of these on your own is not such a bad idea after all, especially if you had a thing for potatoes.

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After my previous visit, the chef of Rice-O-Bistro decided to make some modification to the rice bowls, and added more flavour to it by mixing with dried shrimp, mushrooms and garnishing, making the rice taste a little like a quick-fry glutinous rice. By doing so, it had definitely also added some dimension to the ingredient-packed rice bowls.

Under the personal invitation to try out the revamped menu, I tried the Salmon Bowl (S$14.90), which had a slice of grilled Atlantic salmon with Teriyaki sauce, flying fish roe, shredded seaweed carrots and pickled Daikon radish. In this bowl, there was no bland moment because every ingredient contributed some unique flavours to the bowl, which was best eaten after thoroughly mixing like a Bibimbap.

Portion-wise, some might argue that there might not be sufficient rice to keep them full, but this could be a healthy option for those who needed a carb-controlled diet.

#BurppleBeyond

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Siming T

Level 8 Burppler · 941 Reviews

First world problem: What to eat for the next meal?

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