yamazaki japanese restaurant, one fullerton

no.. that’s not a glass of yamazaki. the eponymous whisky made no appearance at my meal, though a slew of rather (surprisingly) delicious dishes made it onto our table, and very quickly into our stomachs.

this place looks pretty much like a tourist/ yuppie trap, with its location at one fullerton and its disarming views across our beautiful marina bay area. but the food is prepared by bona fide japanese, and there are plenty of japanese clientele to provide credibility to the kitchen (or perhaps the well-stocked bar). slightly pricey, but no more than you’d expect for the location and the slight fine-diningesque feel about the place.



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takumi, marina at keppel bay

unspectacular, averagely japanese at this restaurant by keppel bay – it’s actually a little disappointing, given the distance to which you literally have to travel to, and the expectation you build up while sitting in this quite gorgeous restaurant.

but it’s fairer to say the food isn’t all that bad – it’s merely a case of unfulfilled expectations.

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yumeya, mohammad sultan road

sorry for the hiatus, but it’s been a mad, mad world. this place is a cozy little eatery down along mohammed sultan road, where there are actually plenty of japanese and korean places to choose from, just like this one: narrow, tiny, and earnest.

the food was surprisingly enjoyable, with a large (for this place) menu to choose from and dishes that hovered above the average mark.

and, as a reason for coming back, generous with the tobiko.

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hana japanese restaurant, the forum shopping mall

I wanted very much to like this place – the people are nice, they clearly entertain plenty of regulars that seem to treat this place as their round-the-corner eatery, and it’s very conveniently located at the forum shopping mall.

but the food, while adequate, doesn’t nearly satisfy me nearly as much as akashi (which is similar in price) or sushi tei (which is great value).

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ikyu, tiong bahru

quite pricey, but also rather homely japanese dining in hipster tiong bahru – those two characteristics seem incongrous, but the restaurant manages to feel both a little exclusive and quite familial.

as with most upscale japanese restaurants, the lunch set makes for the most value – and unlike most upscale japanese restaurants, this place extends that offer even on the weekends. how good is that?

and because I was there for lunch – admittedly much less expensive than their regular à la carte menu – I’m not sure it’s entirely fair to say that the food is pretty much just about okay. it’s not particularly overwhelming or special, but the atmosphere makes it a good place for a meal to catch up with friends.

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kai, plaza singapura

surprisingly decent, sort of (maybe slightly better than) middling conveyor-belt standard sushi at this (almost hole-in-the-wall) Japanese cafe (diner?) at the basement of plaza singapura.

it’s quite a lot of qualification in that single paragraph, but this place was a better meal than I thought it would have been – and is a brilliant showcase of how Singapore’s space-intensification (or, turning corridors into store spaces) churns out a useful product from nothing.

I’m not quibbling over wasabi paste (I never do, actually) or anything fancy here – it’s a quick stop for a Japanese craving, and a satisfying one at that. service is brisk and helpful, and the small space renders the counter seats the best choice (for comfort and privacy).

I’ve found that at places like this, your best bet is often the oyako/ tonkatsu/ pick-your-meat don. at worst, the meat gets dry or tough, but the sweet broth and egg improves things regardless. and that proved right here – though of a slightly wetter variant, it was a bowl of comfort.

even the sashimi was fresh and sliced decently (no dodgy cuts here), which was most surprisingly (highest potential for failure, you know).

it’s a pretty cheap meal, and definitely an option if you’re in the area (also because there isn’t a sushi tei around).

Kai Sushi & Grill
#B2-33/34 Plaza Singapura
68 Orchard Road
Singapore 238839
tel +65 9455 3953
$$: 10-25 per person

tatsu teppanyaki, asia square

guys, I’m sorry for the photos – the restaurant was dark and done up all in black – but the food here is pretty good, and worth a visit if you’re into teppanyaki. singapore has a dearth of these fry-in-your-face places, and the places that dodo it range from the very cheap to the very expensive.

this one lies somewhat at an upper-middling price point – but my hypothesis is that price makes little difference to the eating (it’s mainly just fresh ingredients with garlic, which is difficult to go wrong with). what you’re paying for instead is that entire package of ambiance and show – the latter really up to the skills of the chef in throwing foods up to unnecessary height and setting things on fire.

so tatsu is, as with its price point, a good posher-than-average joint that doesn’t have its underpants in a wad – with pretty delicious food off an extensive menu.

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rakuzen japanese restaurant, millenia walk

decent japanese food at this place I’ve seen frequently touted as good-value and decent quality, both compliments I agree with. I did imagine, however, that the place was a rather more high-end establishment (perhaps on the same level as sushi kuu) – but it’s more akin to a (slightly more) refined sushi tei.

the comparison with that latter establishment is further promulgated when you realise just how similar (almost suspiciously so, as I whipped out the phone to check if they belonged to the same group – no evidence to this though) the menus are in terms of font and choice.

worth the slightly higher prices? yes, if only for variety.

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kuro kin japanese dining, turf city

good japanese food at this hideaway in turf city, pretty much fine-dining but in a family-friendly environment. I was quite impressed with the food that arrived at our table – sashimi is cut thick and meaty, sushi is rolled to expert-looking balls of rice below torched toppings, and cooked food do decently too.

there’s been a spate of restaurants at this price point recently – and by that I mean middle and upper – and they all do pretty good food at prices more approachable than you’d get with the masters. If I had to pick the closest competitor to this place, it would be sushi goshin.

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sushi goshin by akashi, suntec city

great food, and a good upper-market version of my favorite sushi tei chain – not that the two are connected in anything but the cuisine they serve, but they both have the same good-for-value vibe, in a casual but not shabby atmosphere well-suited for both weekday dinners and a weekend lunch (not that I’d turn down a meal here anytime).

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