this casual japanese eatery falls rather in the lower bound of mid-range japanese restaurants in singapre – the higher spaces filled by the likes of ichiban boshi and sushi tei – both in terms of marketing and food quality.
the food is decent enough for hump day (and any of those tough-going weekday nights), the menu extensive enough for repeat visits, and the price low enough to encourage the latter. think of this almost as a japanese cha chan teng – casual, family-friendly, but certainly not the sort of restaurant you bide time in.
it’s a large extensive menu – almost confusing in the sheer choice you’re offered – all of which were pretty decent. it’s easier to judge this all as food-court style japanese food (by which I mean decent interpretations of the cuisine rather than any skillful expert execution) – it’s certainly economical enough for you to visit and make your own judgement.
I recommend staying away from this mackerel dish though – it’s of the the slightly sundried, salted variety that’s rather harsh on the tongue and causes a heck of a thirst (unless that’s what you’re going for, of course).
but of all the dishes we had – these were the ones that surprised us the most: this rather inauthentic tamago dish served with a pink mentaiko (cod roe) sauce that was strangely moreish,
fat loose-ish rolls of cucumber sushi topped with a generous drape of salmon, scallops and prawns,
a potato salad that came as potato chunks topped with various garnishes and plated alongside a mortar and pestle – mash it all up to your desired texture (so fun!),
and their various rice dishes – the first a mix of rice with braised meat and a raw yolk, the second a type of porridge (broth mixed in with chicken-topped rice), and the last a preparation of clams steamed over rice. all delicious – and unexpectedly good.
it’s a simple, family-friendly, noisy, boisterous place with young/unexperienced/harried staff who rather manage to run all over the place without once meeting your eyes – cheap and good (for easy dinners). outlets all over the island, which makes it even easier to visit!
Watami Japanese Restaurant (Junction 8 Branch)
#01-33, Junction 8 Shopping Centre
9 Bishan Place
tel +65 6258 3577
$$: easily twenty or less a head