decent, but very, very expensive japanese at the camden medical centre. it’s known for its lunch sets – but really, all (expensive) japanese places are known for their lunch sets, primarily because it’s hella more accessible than the terribly dear à la carte dishes.
I’m going to suggest that you’re going to eat much better if you head straight for the entrees; if you’re only going to do the lunch sets, you could eat just as well at plenty other places. so hard a truth, you could bounce a nickel off it.
of course we still had to do one set, and of course we chose their namesake: the fat cow donburi, with seared wagyu slices topped with a soft-cooked egg and shredded white leek.
served with a soft, silky, not-too-salty steamed chawanmushi and a bowl of miso soup, there’s also a lightly-dressed crunchy salad before the main bowl arrives. and well – it’s a beautifully laid-out bowl of rice, but that meat is a little on the chewy side, and I could also use a little more sauce.
I seem to remember a slight truffleness which helped the umaminess, but didn’t quite mask the low beefiness of the meat.
I was certainly more enamoured of our entree orders – the first a soft, shampoo-advert-type-of-silky fillet of cod that was cooked oh-so-amazingly. milky, and tender, and with a charred skin, it was utterly beautiful.
it’s a toss up between this and the plate of prawns that arrived, which had shells blistered from their time on the charcoal and firm orange flesh. the most remarkable part must be the head fat – which was seafood-sweet and rich in the best way and well-worth any cholesterol concerns.
you also see them grilling the meats and seafood before you on small, table-top charcoal grills, and that provides its own style of entertainment (and also explains the wait between your dishes).
but I would like to say – this place is a little too hoity-toity for me. if you’re a small party of two, you’re almost definitely going to be sat at the counter seats, and that also means you’re going to be staring at each other (and I don’t mean your companion) in this too-quiet, too-(wannabe-)posh place while you try and eat and pretend you’re fancier and more civilised than the person across from you.
it’s worth a visit though, because while the hype is (as always) not-quite-deserved, the food is more than decent. my recommendation is to do a lunch set, just to convince yourself, but also splurge a little on the mains.
Camden Medical Centre
1 Orchard Boulevard
tel +65 6735 0308
$$$: lunch sets go for 40ish, but so does each (small) main