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Dons, Ramen, Sushi, Tempura, Okonomiyaki. All things Japanese.
Siming T
Siming T
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It took about a 15- to 20-minute wait for this to be served after ordering. Their Turkey Bacon & Scrambled Egg Pancakes (S$18.90) was one of the three savoury pancake options that one would consider for an all-day breakfast.

To be brutally honest, the wait was just a prelude to the bigger disappointment that came next. Without the soufflé puffiness, their classic pancakes was really ordinary in flavours (I quote the diners from my adjacent table commenting that this was comparable to fast food standard), and it did not help that the turkey bacon lacking crispiness and were served cold, and the scrambled egg was somehow tasteless. I probably would not be the only one who would think that this item did not match its price point.

Somewhere out there, there were diners who seemed pretty satisfied with their Tiramisu Pancakes. That might be something I would try if I were to come back for them.

Soufflé pancakes were not new to the local culinary scene, but these from Gram were quite special. Originated from Osaka, these S$17.90 pancakes were airy, fluffy and every piece were said to be 4cm thick. Slightly leaning when stacked, the wobbly pancakes also came with maple syrup, freshly-whipped cream and a dome of special butter. On its own, the pancakes could melt in the mouth with little floury taste; with the toppings, the pancakes became further enriched with sweet, buttery and silky notes.

While Gram was clever to use the limited portions to create the hype (one month on and the queue would still form for the Premium Pancakes), I was not impressed by the tightly-packed tables and the slow service, as this item was served 15 minutes later than the initially-promised time of 8.00pm (not forgetting a one-hour wait before that). The likelihood of coming back for this was questionable, as there were other restaurants out there that offered cheaper options, and much possibly a shorter wait.

The grilled eel here just tasted a bit different from those that I could get from other competitors, because the eels were first steamed then grilled with a nice caramelisation of the sauce and captured a smoky taste. This also meant that the Unagi would boast a combination of juiciness and crispiness, with a sweet and smoky finish.

It would have been a routine for me to order the Unagi Hitsumabushi (S$32.80) for an extra pot of Dashi broth, to be added to a portion of the rice and eel. Those who were informed would know that the mains should be divided into portions, each to be eaten in a different way using the condiments provided. Also, if you were like me, who liked the Unagi to be a little more saucy, you could actually ask for an extra serving of the Unagi sauce to intensify the sweetness of the eel.

Sounds like a good deal for people who have late weekday lunches or early dinners, because Ichiban Boshi had this weekday promotion from 3.00pm to 5.00pm where they offer Ankake Yakimeshi (or in layman terms, the Japanese Mui Fan) with a cup of green tea for just S$5.90!

At a decent portion size, the rice came with a thickened Dashi stock, and the pork version consisted of sliced pork, Kimuchi and chopped chilli padi (optional). I wondered why they did not put this in their regular menu as well, but maybe by not doing so it made this dish a little more exclusive to the afternoon crowd. Excluding the green tea, paying slightly more than S$4.00 was definitely worth it.

Costing S$12.50 for just the Donburi, I was quite happy with the warm bowl of rice with pieces of grilled eel, egg and sauce, because given the fact that I had this post-dinner, I was happy that the portion or rice was not big, and the Toji was done such that every grain of rice was sufficiently covered with the sauce. And having this at 8.45pm on a weekday night implied that there’s ample seats for dining in.

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From Sushi Tei? For S$11.50? I was initially skeptical about what I was about to get, but this Donburi was really a surprise find for me. A bed of sushi rice topped with minced tuna, chopped spring onions and an Onsen egg were served and all I saw was a nice pink glow.

While I had definitely enjoyed the flavours of fresh tuna, I was hoping to get a little more texture for my lunch, which was quite impossible in this case actually. Still, if I was not craving for something savoury or fried, I would possibly re-order Negitoro Don for lunch again.


Savouring the last moments of this year’s Sakura season, I chose this seasonal item which costed S$15.80, just like the standard parfaits they would serve at Nana’s Green Tea.

The dessert was created with Strawberry sauce at the bottom, followed by a layer of very faint pinkish Sakura mousse and some vanilla soft-serve. Then came a good scoop of cornflakes to nest a ball of strawberry ice cream, Sakura sweetened bean paste, three Shiratama balls, slices of fresh strawberries before adding the whipped cream and dousing another serving of strawberry sauce.

On the whole, the parfait provided many layers of texture and flavours, especially the contrasting ingredients like the fruits and sauce which balanced off the sweetness of the ice cream. I particularly liked the bean paste which tasted really delicious, and those strawberry sauce that they used seemed more like a reduction from strawberry compote.

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Giant plates and 6 levels of spicyness, that would probably be what Monster Curry was all about. Paying S$14.80 for this meal was considered quite value for money, considering that the portions were not overrated.

The Pork Shabu-Shabu Omelette Curry came with quite a good portion of sliced pork belly. Though it was only steamed rice under the blanket of egg omelette, the flavours were compensated by the pool of Japanese curry and the cabbage salad with sesame dressing and picked ginger.

But mind you, the chilli could blow you over the rooftop if you were not so much into spicy food, even with Level 1 spicyness (which was what you had seen on the photograph). To play safe, ask the waiters to serve the chilli separately and mix sparingly and cautiously to make the experience less fiery. When all else fails, bottled mineral water could be obtained at S$1.50 each.

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Wafu Beef Wazen (S$18.90) would be one of my favourite set meals from Ichiban Sushi for this period of time, because it offered a very good spread of food to become a very hearty meal. Cooked sliced beef was escaping from sizzling Wafu sauce by standing on a block of Agedashi Tofu. On the side, there would also be a plate of mixed tempura which essentially comprised two prawns and two pieces of vegetables.

Surprisingly, the Chawanmushi here was exceptionally smooth and soft, like it was not just well-steamed but also not overcooked in the steamer. I would order Chawanmushi ala carte if my meal did not include a serving of it.

On the whole, the set came across as a tad salty because of the Wafu sauce and the Miso soup. Catch the attention of the waiter to get plenty of water or tea refills to wash down the sodium through the meal.

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The discovery of gourmet meals under the Keisuke group seemed to be an ongoing mission, as past experiences had brought about hits and misses. So how would I rate Ginza Tendon Itsuki?

Fortunately, I stepped into the restaurant at around 6.20pm, and the dinner crowd had not filled the restaurant yet. The bar seats were quite nice, as I could watch the chefs prepare the Tempura and plate the Tendons. Every serving of their Special Tendon (S$13.90) came with a mini Chawanmushi which contained a small prawn too, a bowl of Miso soup and a Tendon with 2 pieces of Ebi, 2 pieces of sliced chicken, long beans, pumpkin, baby corn, Shiitake mushroom and a sous vide egg yolk battered and fried.

On the whole, the flavours were delicate as the sauce was relatively light. At this price, the set dinner was actually considerably comprehensive and satiating. Although the batter was not fried till crispy and crunchy (my Ebi Tempura turned limp rather quickly), generally everything else was on point. And I must say their warm greetings and friendliness translated to a pretty good service delivery too.


Yet another Japanese cuisine concept venture, Omurice Keisuke had been in business for some time, but the queue continued to form during meal hours. I waited for a good 50 minutes before getting a seat in the 22-seater establishment.

And so their Omurice came with a bowl full of tomato rice, covered with freshly-cooked egg omelette, and finished with a serving of sauce of choice and a complimentary salad side-dish. I chose the classic Demi-Glace sauce which I thought could be a little more generous in portion because the full serving, though thick, could hardly layer the egg.

The real taste of disappointment came about when the Combo (S$12.90) came with a small portion of spaghetti, which I chose the Mentaiko flavour. Unfortunately, the chef turned up the heat a little too much and as a result the pasta was cooked with an inappropriate taste of “wok hei”, and that sort of ruined the experience altogether. As for the Special Cheese Sauce (S$2.00) that they highly recommended, let’s just say that it did not really go very well with the Demi-Glace sauce as the flavours were masked.

On a slightly positive note, this is one of those Keisuke outlets that did not include any break between the lunch and dinner service, so perhaps it might be a better idea to come in when there would not be any waiting queue. That could raise the scores by a fair bit.


Priced at S$12.80, I was told by the waitress that the difference between their Cheese Maze-Soba and Tokyo Maze-Soba lied on that slice of flame-torched cheese that blanketed the centre part of the bowl, and to be honest that slice of cheese that did not melt became quite a bothersome bit in the dish.

Although diners could still get to choose between a spicy or non-spicy version within each item, I thought that had not been for the thick Ramen noodles, the degree of saltiness to this dry noodles might be skewed to the high side (maybe trying to demonstrate some authentic Japanese flavours here). And that was when the spoonful of rice (Oimeshi) would come in: either to pick up the leftover sauce from the bowl after the noodles were consumed, or just to eat as it is to cleanse the palate a little with the natural sweetness from the rice.


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

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