really good, really really good japanese grill-it-yourself hidden away in the mandarin gallery – which has a surprising number of decent restaurants (note to self: go back and have a look). my parents first came here on their silver wedding anniversary – gosh! – and were so enthralled with the food they brought us along the next week, and for very good reason. for all you fans of marbled, fatty beef, this is your place.
the prices here are on the steep side: you pay for the quality of the meat – it comes appetizingly dark, sliced just precisely so – for the great service and the quiet ambience for the restaurant, but it’s easily justifiable – just create find an occasion to come.
at the heart of it – it’s a simple concept beautifully done. you choose your cuts of meat – they have a wide range, with different types of marbling determining how exorbitant your meal – decide between the marinated or au naturel, and then cook it to a tender slab on the gas grill. the menu does include more-pedestrian offerings such as rice options and tempura which help round out the meal – which I think is a really nice thing. sometimes specialty restaurants choose to focus very narrowly in showcasing their quality and skill, which leaves me a little wanting for a little diversion – but I was a happy camper here.
there is remarkably little to say about very good food cooked well – especially when much of the cooking is done yourself – but the meat held up beautifully. I like it medium rare, which gave it an incredibly beefy wholeness, and even done at medium well (I apologize for my sister – she’s learning), it was tender and very juicy. I personally enjoy the leaner cuts of meat – so it was great that they offered it – but I have to mention the marinated pieces that came in this rather adorable earthenware jar. the marinade lent itself to a little more char and even more flavour – very nice. there was also a little hidden prize at the bottom in the form of a slice of onion – you really ought to place it on the grill till it gets soft and sweet.
we bulked out the meal with rice – both plain and a special one with mentaiko for the sis – as well as tempura, slabs of tamago, an egg soup (this is the one dish I think we might not get again for its plainness), and a lightly-dressed salad to help with palate-refreshing. all decent renditions, though not quite as spectacular as the beef – but that’s perfectly alright, since it would have been a little tiring for the senses to have been titillated to that level by everything.
I mentioned that prices are high, but I think also that these would be considered competitive (and dare I say, below expectation) for such skill and quality. service is both sincere and enthusiastic: they were always on hand to change the grills, offered recommendations and took feedback. I feel it’s more an occasion restaurant – it’s a little heavy-going in flavor for too-regular visits – but the cosy atmosphere, its rarefied quietness and flavours keep us fabricating reasons to return.
333A Orchard Road
Mandarin Gallery #04-08
tel +65 6836 0111