[Invited Tasting] 8-Course Omakase Menu at Big Sake Bar

In conjunction with Big Sake Bar’s first year anniversary, an eight-course omakase menu has been introduced and it features premium ingredients like grade A4 wagyu beef and otoro, plus an optional sake pairing option, with a choice from three seasonal sakes to suit the different customer preferences.

Located at the Concourse Skyline Building, Big Sake Bar is an izakaya concept restaurant, which boasts a large selection of over 40 different kinds of Japanese sakes and whiskeys. When I first stepped in, my eyes were immediately drawn to the back wall with all the various bottles on display!

The rest of its interior has pre-war Japanese beer posters on its brick walls and is reminiscent of a nostalgic era.

This Japanese gastropub’s trademark “大” (Japanese kanji character for “big”) emphasizes its philosophy, to be “big on food, big on service, big on sakes”. It is run by three good-looking young men, (from left to right) Co-Owners Jeremy Goh, Daniel Kwok and Head Chef Andy Quek.

In order to preserve the freshness of the ingredients and to ensure a great experience, Big Sake Bar will only seat six guests at the main sushi counter each night for their new omakase menu.

This will ensure that diners get to enjoy the full omakase experience as they watch Chef Andy at work. You can even chat with the friendly chef between courses, especially if it’s immediately after the dish has been served to you (i.e. before he starts to get busy preparing the next course).

Big Sake Bar’s new omakase menu will be available for a limited time only from 23rd October to 31st December 2017.

8-Course Omakase Menu
(Available for Dinner from Monday to Saturday, 6pm to 11pm, with advance reservation)
SGD$88 nett per person for the eight-course omakase menu.
SGD$108 nett per person for the eight-course omakase menu with sake.

Century Egg Tofu

This to me is somewhat of a fusion dish as it is usually found on the menus of Chinese restaurants. The century egg has been marinated with Chef Andy’s secret sauce, which is sweet and masks the strong flavour of the egg, so those who aren’t fans of the “100-year-old egg” may find themselves liking this! In addition, the silky smooth tofu is made in-house by the chef and is topped with sprinkles of crispy tempura flakes and slivers of spring onions. Overall, it was a nice start to the meal.

Sashimi Platter

This comprises of botan ebi, mekajiki (swordfish), salmon and aburi (i.e. seared) salmon. The seafood was fresh, the prawn was plump and firm and my favourite was the aburi salmon.

Wagyu Beef Sirloin

At first glance, this may look like a humble dish, but these are slices of grade A4 Kagoshima Wagyu Beef Sirloin flown in from Kyushu, Japan and is definitely a must-try! Although the accompanying ponzu sauce complemented the flavourful beef, I felt that it tasted just as good on its own. The marbling of the meat wasn’t overly fatty and was just right. For more information on beef grades, you can click here.

Sushi Platter

When we first set our eyes on this dish, the initial thought was on what that strange spiky thing at the far end was! It’s actually the prawn head from the botan ebi sashimi that we had earlier and a clever re-use of ingredients so that nothing is wasted.

We were told to start off with the shoyu ikura (salmon roe) and work our way down from left to right to gradually build up the flavours.

I don’t like eating ikura in Singapore, as it usually tastes a little fishy in the country’s hot and humid weather, but the one here was quite alright to me. The next morsel to chomp on was a piece of maki, topped with yuzu infused tobiko and the flying fish roe was really fresh and crunchy. Following on was the tamagoyaki, which was a bit overly sweet to me and I couldn’t really taste the flavour of the dashi stock in it (I’m quite particular when it comes to tamagoyaki, as this is one of my personal favourites).

The final bite was a challenge to eat as it was a deep fried prawn head, sat atop a blob of mentaiko mayo sauce. Now this is the typical sort of unusual food item found at Japanese izakayas and goes well when downed with alcohol. Don’t worry, it’s really crispy and you can swallow everything, plus it’s extremely flavourful! The trick to eating this is to chew off all the protruding sharp ends, which are very crispy, then munch carefully until you reach the main section of the prawn head.

Wagyu Beef Maki

This is actually a temaki (i.e. hand roll), made with wagyu beef as its key ingredient. The beef was seasoned with salt, which made it a little salty, but when eaten together with the other ingredients in one bite, the flavours actually went well together. I much preferred the previous beef dish to this one, although this was good too.

Negitoro Don

This dish uses otoro (the fattiest portion of the tuna, found on the very underside of the fish – this cut is fatty almost to the point of falling apart and can literally melt in your mouth) and is topped crisp green onions sitting atop a bed of premium Japanese rice from Akita prefecture in Japan. A raw quail’s egg is served on the side and you are supposed to add the egg into the rice bowl and mix well before eating.

Thus, I poured the egg in and voila – this is how the dish typically looks like at most restaurants in Japan:

This particular dish is probably what most Japanese will consider to be luxurious, as it contains the most precious part of the tuna.

Asari Miso Soup

People usually think of miso soup as an ordinary and simple soup dish, but the flavours of the soup stock may vary and the ingredients found in the soup may differ too. This one contained plump and firm asari clams, enoki mushrooms and cubes of tofu and the white miso-based soup had a fuller body and flavour, as the stock was made from boiling the clams.

Goma or Yuzu Ice Cream

We had the yuzu ice cream and its zesty flavour was really refreshing, plus it contained bits of peel, which gave each mouthful an extra dimension. It also helped to cleanse the palate from all the flavours from the entire meal.

(Optional) A tokkuri「徳利」 of guests’ choice of sake from a selection of three premium sakes, Toyo Bijin, Nabeshima “Pink Label” or Karakuchi Ki-ippon. Diners will first do a tasting of all three sakes, then pick their favourite one to accompany their meal.

From Left to Right: Karakuchi Ki-ippon, Toyo Bijin and Nabeshima “Pink Label”.

More information on the three different sakes:

Masumi’s Karakuchi Ki-ippon「純米吟醸 辛口生一本」 is a delightfully dry junmai ginjyo (milled to 40-50% removal of each grain of rice) from Nagano Prefecture. The word “karakuchi” means “dry” and this sake is said to be popular with drinkers.

Toyo Bijin「東洋美人」, a junmai daiginjyo (milled to at least 50% removal of each grain of rice) from the Sumikawa Shuzojo Brewery in Yamaguchi prefecture, has a clean entry with a slight sweet finish. This was previously served to President Vladimir Putin during a dinner party at the Japan-Russia summit meeting in December 2016 and it is said that Putin enjoyed the taste of this sake.

Nabeshima “Pink Label”「鍋島 特別本醸造 ピンクラベル」 is a tokubetsu honjozo (milled to 30-40% removal of each grain of rice) from Kashima City in Saga Prefecture. It is a refreshingly sweet sake, with slight effervescence and an excellent aftertaste. This was my personal favourite as I like my alcoholic beverages to be on the sweet side.

Regardless of which sake you choose, all of them go down well with the entire meal.

Overall, the meal was quite satisfying, the ingredients were fresh and my favourite dish was the Wagyu Beef Sirloin. Surprisingly, I did actually enjoy that crispy prawn head although it looked more intimidating than appetising – do give this a try and you may find that you’ll want seconds!


Big Sake Bar
302 Beach Road, #01-02 The Concourse Skyline, Singapore 199600.

Getting There by MRT:
Nicoll Highway station exit A, take the connecting overhead bridge to cross the highway to get to The Concourse (about a 5min walk)

Seating Capacity
Indoor Table seatings – 24
Indoor Bar counter – 6
Outdoor – 12

Contact/Reservations Tel: +62912700 / 96567105

Opening Hours:
Monday to Saturday: 5pm–12am
Closed on Sundays & Public Holidays.

Email: enquiry@bigsakebar.com

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Ramen Keisuke Lobster King

When I first heard that Keisuke was opening a branch specialising in lobster broth ramen, I was looking forward to it as I had tried this unique ramen dish at their anniversary celebrations two years ago.

Located at Clarke Quay, this ramen shop opened on 20 Feb 2016 but we only went to try it several weeks later on a Thursday night and found that at 7pm there was already a huge crowd of people queuing to get in!!

Here’s another picture below of the entrance – as you can see from the lighting in the photo, we were still in the queue after the sky had turned dark.

Nothing much to do whilst queuing, so I entertained myself by taking pictures of the menu displays outside the shop. :p

We finally got a table 2 hours later! The interior has a huge bell as its centrepiece.

As it was already 9pm and I was both tired and hungry, the only picture which I took of the menu was of what I was planning to order!

Order sheet

I decided to try the version with Rich Soup, whilst my hubby opted for the Miso version. Plus since we had queued for ages, we ordered their “Special” which included ALL toppings!

We had tried Green Tea Cola previously at other Keisuke outlets and quite liked it, so we ordered it again here.

Similar to their other branches, free beansprouts and hard-boiled eggs are provided to all customers.

Each bowl of ramen is served in a pretty bowl with lobster motifs!

This was my bowl of Lobster Broth “Special” Ramen (Rich Soup) with seaweed, flavoured egg, bamboo shoots, prawn wanton, deep fried prawn balls and a slice each of pork chashu and chicken chashu.

Would I queue 2 hours again for this ramen? Perhaps not but I think 30 mins would still be bearable.

I was somewhat disappointed by the flavour as I had eaten Keisuke’s lobster ramen previously as part of their anniversary celebrations and it was really good but somehow the soup stock at this shop seems to pale in comparison. However, I did think that the Miso version here somehow tasted better than the Rich Soup!

If you have no basis for comparison, you’d probably like the lobster broth at this place. It actually is quite palatable but I will probably go back again when the queues have disappeared.


Ramen Keisuke Lobster King
3C River Valley Road, #01-07 The Cannery, Singapore 179022.

Tel: +65 6255 2928

Opening Hours: 6pm – 5am Daily (Last Order 4:30am)

Nearest MRT station: Clarke Quay

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Yummilicious Pork Dons at Butahage!

Walking around Liang Court, I stumbled upon Butahage「ぶたはげ」, a restaurant which specialises in Buta Don (i.e. a bowl of rice topped with grilled slices of pork) and so I decided to have lunch there.

The main branch of this restaurant hails from Tokachi, Obihiro in Hokkaido and they had just opened their first branch in Singapore in the recent months.

You may find that the menu is quite limited, but this is typical of most eateries in Japan which specialise in a particular food item. In this case, the menu items revolve around the grilled pork which is coated with their special sauce that has a recipe dating back to 1934!



The waiter told us that the cheaper set uses pork from Spain, so we decided to order their Premier Butadon set「プレミア豚丼セット」 as it uses premium Japanese Pork and only 30 servings are available per day! All their rice sets use Japanese Yumepirika rice and that makes it even more delicious! This premier set comes with a tofu salad and we each added on a half boiled egg (Ontama) to our order.

A closer look at the grilled pork bowl – just look at the juicy succulent pieces of meat!:

We first tried the pork on its own, with the rice, then decided to put the half boiled egg on top of the pork and broke the yolk, so that it oozed out and covered the ingredients in the rice bowl…

Both methods of eating (i.e. with/without the egg) are equally good but the egg yolk added a new dimension of flavours. ^_^

Whenever I see Hokkaido Crab Cream Croquette 「北海道カニクリームコロッケ」 on the menu, I simply cannot resist ordering this item! It was a little pricey at $6.50 but well worth the money in my opinion, as it is exactly like those better quality ones that you can find in Japan!

Sorry, this croquette was just too delicious that I ate half of it before remembering to take the picture below! :p

The food here is really good and has the real authentic Japanese taste! Eating here just makes me miss Japan so much and I’ll definitely be back again!!

Liang Court, #02-32/33, 177 River Valley Road,
Singapore 179030.

Opening Hours: Daily, 11:30am to 10:00pm (Last Order 9:15pm)
(The restaurant may sometimes close between 3:00pm to 6:00pm)

Telephone: 6268-4821

Nearest MRT: Clarke Quay (then walk for about 5 min to get to Liang Court)

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Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King Four Seasons – 1st Anniversary Ise Ebi Lobster Tonkotsu Ramen!

Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King Four Seasons at Bugis Village was celebrating its 1st anniversary today with a special ramen created for this occasion – Ise Ebi Lobster Tonkotsu Ramen at SGD$10 nett per bowl!

This ramen will only be served all-day, for one day only on 11th May 2014 and is available from 11am-3pm (Lunch) and from 5pm until the soup stock runs out (Dinner)! According to their Facebook page and the flyers on the door, only 500 bowls will be available.

I arrived at about 2pm and there was a queue outside the entrance. My hubby and I joined the line and were given numbers 296 and 297 – yay…was initially worried that it would be sold out by the time we got there!

Whilst in the queue, the staff entertained us by getting us to play some games, with a chance to win some prizes.

Each customer got a chance to try their hand at the Japanese Kendama game「けん玉」.  けん玉の技が非常に難しいと思います! I tried to get the ball into the cup but failed miserably! 😦

My hubby on the other hand, succeeded twice and won some Green Tea Cola!! I’ve tried this drink before and it’s nice!

We finally got a table and saw the chefs busy at work.  お疲れ様でした!

Here’s my bowl of delicious Ise Ebi Lobster Tonkotsu Ramen「伊勢海老豚骨ラーメン」.  美味しいそう?


The lobster soup was flavourful and its taste wasn’t overpowering. It had a nice colour and you can tell from its rich flavour that the soup stock had been boiled for a long time. The noodles came with generous servings of pork slices, menma (bamboo shoot), some greens and half an egg.

They used to serve a crab stock ramen at their Parco branch, which has since ceased operations after the closure of Parco. I prefer this lobster version over the crab, which had a stronger seafood taste.

I do hope they will consider making this lobster ramen a permanent item on their menu! It is really good and would be a shame if other customers who haven’t tasted it yet don’t get an opportunity to try it! I’m sure those who have tried it would definitely agree that they will go back and order it again if it’s available!

Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King Four Seasons  豚骨王四季(春夏秋冬)
158 Rochor Road, Bugis Village,
Singapore 188433.

Telephone: +65 6333-5740

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri 11:30~14:30 / 17:00~22:30
Sat-Sun & holidays 11:30~22:30

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(CLOSED) Shinkei Japanese Restaurant 「しんけい」

I was invited for a food tasting session which took me to this restaurant in the HDB heartlands…

Shinkei Japanese Restaurant 「しんけい」 opened for business on 10th Oct 2013 in Toa Payoh, offering a Japanese ala carte buffet. On weekdays, they also have a set lunch menu with 6 different choices of bentos.

A selection of 145 dishes are available on the ala carte buffet menu and customers will be spoilt for choice! Crowd favourites are the sashimi, tempura and yakitori dishes.

Before we talk more about the food, here’s a look at the interior of the restaurant…

If you are planning a large family gathering, or dining with friends or colleagues, the restaurant has some private rooms available at no extra charge. You can request for a private room for your party when you make your reservation, but do note that there is a minimum headcount of 10 persons to get a private room.

This particular room can host up to 35 people but if the groups are not that big, then the space can actually be divided into two rooms by moving the folding partition across the middle of the room.

These were some of the dishes which we had tried…

IPPINMONO (Appetizer)

Goma Tofu (Sesame Tofu) – This complimentary appetizer (changes daily) was a cold tofu, with a creamy sesame dressing which was very fragrant.

Chawanmushi (Steamed Egg Custard) – The egg was smooth and had a piece of chicken, shimeji mushroom and gingko nut in it.


Shabu Salada (Pork Salad) – Quite a nice salad which had a fragrant sesame dressing and the pork slices were cooked just right.

Jagimo Salada (Potato Salad) – The potato in this salad was quite firm and had vegetable bits in it. I managed to pick up one serving intact with my chopsticks! Tastewise it was not bad but I think this dish may be a bit heavy and not leave much room in your stomach to try out the other dishes. ^_^

Shake Miso Jiru (Miso soup with salmon) – I didn’t really like this miso soup as I found the salmon to be a bit fishy. My preference is for salmon to be grilled or baked, rather than cooked in soups as I don’t think this fish tastes good in soups!

Seafood Somen Salad – This was one of the Chef’s specials which changes daily. The cold noodles come with a prawn, shreds of crab meat and is seasoned with a salad dressing which made this dish quite refreshing.


Ebi Tempura Maki (Tempura Prawn Sushi Roll) – This sushi roll is stuffed with a fried prawn and avocado. It was okay.

California Temaki (California Handroll) – I didn’t eat this as there were more dishes to come and I had to leave room in my stomach! It looked pretty though…

Spider Temaki (Soft Shell Crab Handroll) – The soft shell crab was nice and crisp but the seaweed was a little limp and soggy. I’m not sure whether that was due to us spending too much time photographing it and thus it was left sitting for some time! LOL…

There’s quite a variety of sashimi options and they are very fresh! Spotted a typo error on the menu as #5 should have been spelled as “Shake Aburi Sashimi” and that partially roasted salmon was nice.

Sashimi Moriawase (Assorted Sashimi Platter) – For starters, you can order this sashimi platter (the portion shown here serves 4-5 persons but 2 of us shared this and almost finished the whole plate!), then re-order just the ones that you like best. I thought the presentation looked good with the salmon rose and the wasabi shaped like leaves.

SHIN Sushi Set (Sushi – Tuna/Salmon/Swordfish) – This looked pretty and the sushi rice was pressed quite compactly but it lacked the taste of vinegar. The raw fish was fresh but the rice didn’t have that authentic Japanese flavour so I was a little disappointed.

KEI Sushi Set (Sushi – Shrimp/Crabstick/Sweet Egg Omelette) – Only tried the egg one as I love tamagoyaki but I think I can cook a better version of it! The taste of the dashi stock and mirin in the egg was quite light and I prefer if it had a stronger flavour. Being a seasoned traveller to Japan, one of the dishes that I tend to judge restaurants by is their tamagoyaki. Anyway, those who can’t tell the difference may like the one here.

YAKIMONO (Grilled Dish)

The restaurant takes pride in the fact that this made in-house. As a result, it is rather labour intensive but they want customers to enjoy their grilled dishes rather than getting those from a supplier which may not have the same quality.

The grill used for cooking these dishes can be seen in the far right of the next picture but I was too busy enjoying my food and didn’t go take a picture of the chefs in action! :p

Yaki Tori (Chicken in skewer) – The succulent chicken pieces were juicy and well marinated. I think this was my favourite dish in the entire buffet!

Tsukune (Chicken Meat Ball) – This ranked second on my favourite list at this buffet. The minced chicken meat was well marinated and there were some crunchy bits in it which felt like cartilage and gave the meatball a different texture, but overall it was a flavour bomb!

Satsuma Age (Home-made Japanese fish cake) – Quite a nice fish cake which was pleasing to the palate.

Asuparagasu Be-Kon (Asparagus Wrapped with Bacon) – The bacon wasn’t that salty (which I like) but I thought the asparagus was a bit dry as the sticks were rather thin and probably grilling had removed all the moisture in it.

Shitake (Japanese mushrooms) – this was my least favourite of the grilled dishes as the mushrooms were dry and chewy.

AGEMONO (Tempura and Deep Fried)

Age Gyoza (Deep Fried Dumpling) – I’m not really a gyoza fan but I must say that this fried version was tasty and was still crispy even when we didn’t eat it immediately after it was served! I would definitely order this again the next time I’m there!

Tempura Moriawase (Assorted Tempura) – This assortment comes with prawns, kisu (fish), eggplant, etc.. I was quite disappointed with the batter as it didn’t taste like authentic tempura batter and was more like a local chinese-style deep fried dish!

Agedashi Tofu (Fried Tofu) – Those who love beancurd will like this as it was quite nicely done and I thoroughly enjoyed it! The outer fried layer doesn’t break away from the tofu when you pick it up, unlike at some other restaurants.

Tako Yaki (Octopus Ball) – This is a deep fried version of the octopus ball and its outer skin was quite crispy unlike those that you can find in Japan which is cooked on a grill. I’ve eaten the famous takoyaki in Osaka so this pales in comparison, but still it has a nice flavour and bite.

Satsuma Imo Roll (Sweet Potato Roll) – This was one of the last fried dishes that was served to us and by then it was towards closing time for lunch and the oil wasn’t fresh anymore, thus you can taste it in the batter. In addition, I felt the batter was a little too thick and didn’t like the texture of it but the sweet potato tasted fine. I am a hugh fan of sweet potatoes but unfortunately this dish didn’t really impress me.

Teppanyaki, Pizza, Rice

Yaki Gyuniku (Stir-fried beef) – Tastewise it was good but I felt that the beef strips were a little chewy and not as tender as I would have liked them to be.

Hamubekon Pizza (Ham Bacon Pizza) – This was quite a nice pizza and I enjoyed it.

Ninniku Yaki Meshi (Garlic Fried Rice) – I didn’t try this as I was already quite stuffed at the end of the meal (plus I don’t like garlic), but others who did eat it said that it was very fragrant!

Verdict:  Must try dishes are the sashimi, grilled dishes and age gyoza. I liked that this eat-all-you-can buffet has a wide variety of dishes to choose from.

Thanks to OpenRice Singapore and Shinkei Japanese Restaurant for the food tasting!

Shinkei Japanese Restaurant 「しんけい」
600@Toa Payoh, Lorong 4 Toa Payoh, #01-06/07/09/10
Singapore 319515.

Phone: +65 6255 5598

Email: enquiries@shinkei.com.sg

Price & Opening Hours:

LUNCH: 11.00am -2.30pm (Last Order: 2.15pm)
Adult: $32++
Child: $22++ (Below 10 years old)

DINNER: 6pm – 10.30pm (Last Order: 9.45pm)
Adult: $35++ (Sun to Thurs)
Child: $24++ (Below 10 years old)

Adult:$38++ (Fri, Sat, Eve of PH)
Child: $26++ (Below 10 years old)

Getting there:
By MRT: Toa Payoh station, take Exit C and walk for about 5 min.
By Bus: 88, 157, 163, 535

If you are coming from the direction of Toa Payoh Library, the restaurant is located at the same building which houses McDonald’s and BBQ Chicken.

Walk through the glass doors and you should be able to find the restaurant.

Alternatively, if you are travelling along Toa Payoh Lorong 4, you should be able to easily spot the restaurant.

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Japanese Dining Bar by Mari 「まり」

I had walked past this Japanese Dining Bar by Mari 「まり」 several times this week but as it was quite inconspicuous, plus the door was closed and you can’t really peek inside, I did not pay much attention to it and whether they serve any food during the lunch hour. Well, my curiosity finally got the better of me and I stopped to take a look…

The entrance to Mari 「まり」 as you can see from the photo, has a sliding door which is typical of many traditional eating establishments in Japan. There is a menu board at the entrance which states they only serve curry for lunch.

I stepped in to find a cosy little bar with a motherly figure behind the counter. There is limited seating with only 3 tables which seat 2 people each. You can also sit at the bar counter or if all seats have been occupied, there is one more table for two which is located just outside the entrance.

The interior looks and feels like those small family-run izakaya type places which are found in Japan, with strains of Japanese music playing in the background.

Upon further scrutinization of the lunch menu which was in both Japanese and English, all items were indeed centred around Japanese Curry but with different variations. The one which instantly caught my eye was the Crab Cream Croquette Curry (カニクリームコロッケカレー) as I’m a huge fan of crab cream croquette and will always buy it when I go to Japan!

I signalled to the motherly figure behind the bar counter, who looked Japanese but I wasn’t 100% certain and was contemplating whether to order in English or Japanese. The funny thing was that I ended up pointing at the menu instead and she repeated my order back to me in Japanese “カニクリームコロッケカレー” (kani kurimu korokke karee), to which I replied “はい” (hai, meaning yes). (^_^;)

I was served with some iced “roasted” tea and was surprised when this was placed on my table (see photo) and thus wondered if the tea was free flow (but I usually don’t drink that much during lunch!).

Salad topped with a fragrant, creamy sesame dressing was served as part of the meal.

My crab cream croquette curry rice finally arrived and it was really good!! The only grumble I have is that there was only one croquette, which wasn’t enough to satisfy my tastebuds!! :p

When you cut the croquette in half, the cream will start to ooze out and it tasted very much like some of the best croquettes which I had previously eaten in Japan. The curry was similar to a home-cooked meal and what a typical Japanese mother will cook for her children at home. There were small chunks of potato and carrot in it and you can feel the motherly love that went into the dish. Overall, it made me reminiscent of Japan…

If you intend to dine here for lunch, do note that the seats fill up rather quickly and the place is full by 12:15pm. There were a few more people who tried to dine here but left as there were no available seats and the lady apologised to them in Japanese. Most of the customers seem to be male Japanese office workers who probably miss their mum’s cooking. Whilst I was enjoying my authentic Japanese curry, I could hear the other customers placing their food orders in Japanese. I must admit that I felt a little out of place there after receiving a few questioning stares (not sure if it was because I’m non-Japanese or because I’m of the opposite gender?).

Regardless, if I happen to be in the area again, I will definitely patronise this place and try the other options like the Fried Oyster Curry and perhaps ask if I can add on a crab cream croquette or two! (⌒▽⌒)


Japanese Dining Bar by Mari 「まり」
15 North Canal Road, #01-01, Singapore 048827.
Tel: +65 65354327
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 12:00~14:00, 18:00~23:00
Closed on Sat, Sun and Public Holidays.

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Tokusen Beef and Foie Gras Don at Ichiban Boshi

Ichiban Boshi is not a new restaurant in Singapore but it is one of the latest restaurants to have recently opened at Vivo City. I decided to drop in for dinner after work and this particular dish on Premium Menu caught my eye, so let’s just say that it was indulgence on a weekday night…

Tokusen Beef and Foie Gras Don 「特選牛とフオアグラ丼」 – Sliced premium beef on rice topped with goose liver and mentai sauce (this is served with miso soup which is not in my pictures below).

When it was served, the beef and foie gras were buried under a huge leaf of lettuce and you can’t really see what’s beneath.

Here’s how it looks without the veggies (couldn’t help it but I ate a few slices of the beef and foie gras before taking this picture). I guess visually it doesn’t look appealing without the greens but tastewise it’s really good! The mentai sauce went well with the beef and goose liver and the beef was tender and had a smoky grilled taste which made it very fragrant. The foie gras was done perfectly and even my hubby liked it (he normally doesn’t eat liver).

I was actually feeling under the weather and didn’t have much appetite but this was so good that I polished off everything down to the last grain of rice! ^o^

Ichiban Boshi
#B2-07/09 VivoCity
1 HarbourFront Walk
Tel: 6376 8318
Daily: 11:30am – 10:00pm (Last order: 9.30pm)

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Bijin Nabe 「美人鍋」 at Tsukada Nojo 「塚田農場」

It was my day off from work and after the previous two futile attempts to eat their signature Bijin Nabe (美人锅 a.k.a. beauty hotpot), I had the sudden inspiration to go queue for it and found a friend to go with me as a minimum of 2 persons are required in order to order this hotpot.

Bijin Nabe 「美人鍋」 – It’s a hotpot using quality collagen soup of free-range JIDORI chicken from Miyazaki, Japan, served with various vegetables, shrimps and other nutritional ingredients. The chicken is boiled for 8 hours and the soup does not have any MSG in it. This costs $25++ per person.

ディナーメインメニュー (午後5時から)
「謹製 美人鍋」 $25.00 (すべての具材込み、おひとり様)

On weekends, you’ll need to start queuing as early as 4:30pm in order to ensure you get a table (the restaurant opens at 5pm for dinner). As it was a weekday, I thought there wouldn’t really be a queue and arranged to meet my friend at 5pm outside the restaurant (on my previous attempted visits for dinner, the restaurant staff had informed me that all tables are usually taken by 5:55pm).

I arrived at 4:50pm and a queue had already formed! They started letting people in at 5pm but my friend was late and thus I wasn’t allowed to enter as all parties need to be present before you are allocated a table. I would have gotten the last table but instead was placed on the waiting list (mine was the first name on the list) and was told it would be a 1.5 hour wait and they will phone me once a table is available.

In the meantime I went shopping and at 6pm, my mobile phone rang and I was told that my table was ready! Yeah!!

Besides the hotpot, these are some of the other items available on the dinner menu:

We didn’t order any other side dishes apart from the Bijin Nabe 「美人鍋」 as we weren’t sure if we would have room for anything else. It’s a good thing we didn’t as it was rather filling! (especially if you are planning to get refills of the collagen soup)

The hotpot arrived at our table containing lumps of collagen pudding, which was actually the chicken collagen soup in its solidified form (my friend said it looks like tau huay).

Left: How it looked in the beginning…
Right: As the pot was heated up, the collagen melted into a delicious concentrated chicken soup!


Chicken pieces are buried within that collagen goodness. Other ingredients to be placed into the hotpot are tori tsukune (i.e. minced chicken to be made into meatballs), prawns, yellow zucchini, watermelon radish, wintermelon, black and white fungus, yuzu, chinese water spinach, chinese cabbage, lettuce, deep fried tofu and mushrooms.

The hotpot set includes a serving of noodles and 3 options are available – Thin Egg Noodle, Rice Noodle or Thick Mochi-mochi Noodle. We decided on the Thin Egg Noodle, fearing that the other 2 options would be too filling.

There were instructions on the wall and also in the menu on how to eat the Bijin Nabe 「美人鍋」 but we thought it was too troublesome to follow all the steps and started to dump everything in… However, one of the staff intervened and insisted that we follow the steps and she systematically placed and arranged the remaining ingredients into the hotpot for us.

Ta da… the beauty hotpot full of all the yummy ingredients:

Cooking the noodles towards the end of the meal…

It was a satisfying meal – we had two refills of the collagen soup, the second time we started feeling that it was a little salty and by the third time it became really salty and we concluded it was probably because we didn’t have any more meat and veggies left to cook with (we only cooked the noodles with the third refill). After two rounds, your tastebuds will start to tire of the soup so I would recommend that one refill should be more than enough! Initially we didn’t put in the yuzu as we were afraid that the citrus flavour would be too strong but by the third round, we emptied the entire serving of yuzu strips into the hotpot as that helped us to retain our appetite.

A complimentary dessert was served to us – this comprised of 2 tiny cubes of konnyaku jelly and the plate was creatively decorated with chocolate sauce and some jam.

We were then each handed a “business card” and asked to write our names on them. These cards are given to customers and you are given a stamp with each dinner visit. First-timers will start from “Assistant Manager” level and you will be “promoted” to the next management level on your subsequent visit, plus you will also be given a free appetizer since you are a returning customer. Thus, make sure you don’t lose your cards!


I had previously seen this sign on the wall at the restaurant’s entrance but didn’t understand what it was about – well, now I know! The lady at the counter said they update the numbers daily so this is the count of the total number of customers (both new and returning) since the restaurant opened.

The Bijin Nabe 「美人鍋」 is only served during dinner, so if you drop by for lunch and want to try the chicken collagen soup, you can order some of the noodle soup dishes which are available on the lunch menu. You can read more about my previous lunch visit by clicking on this link.

Does consuming the beauty hotpot make you more beautiful? Well, you’ll need to try it for yourself to discover the effects! 😉

Address: #03-81 The Atrium@Orchard, 60B Orchard Road, Singapore 238891.
Phone: +65 6336 5003
Opening Hours: Lunch 11:30~15:00, Dinner 17:00~22:00


Their 2nd outlet opened at Chinatown Point on 15th July 2013 and this is the only branch which accepts reservations for dinner daily. In addition, starting 1st March 2014, Bijin Nabe will be served during lunch (only at this branch) on Saturdays and Sundays (reservations accepted).
Address: #02-37 Chinatown Point, 133 New Bridge Road, Singapore 059413.
Phone: +65 6444 8840

A 3rd outlet was opened at Westgate on 20th December 2013.
Address: #03-04 WestGate, 3 Gateway Drive, Singapore 608532.

Categories: Eating in Singapore, Japanese | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tsukada Nojo 「塚田農場」 – Lunch menu

Tsukada Nojo 「塚田農場」 hails from Miyazaki in southern Kyushu, Japan and takes pride in their organically farmed JIDORI chickens which are only found in that area. They specialize in a collagen soup beauty hotpot made by this species of chicken.

There’s a sign at the entrance which says they don’t accept reservations so you’ll need to queue for a table.

We were there at about 1:30pm on a Sunday and there were about 4 persons in front of us in the queue so we didn’t really have to wait that long. Their beauty hotpot 「美人鍋」 is only served after 5pm but they have a lunch menu which offers several types of noodles with the same collagen chicken soup.


When we reached the front of the queue, the lady serving us apologized for the wait and I was pleasantly surprised when we were each served with a cup of their signature chicken soup! Ohh…the aroma and the concentrated flavour of the soup was heavenly and certainly whet our appetites for more!!… As it was my first time there, I was initially undecided about what I should order and whether the Shio (salt taste) which was recommended would be too salty, so that cup of soup really helped me make that decision!

We were told if we were afraid that the Shio flavour would be too salty, a request can be made to the chef to reduce the amount of salt in the dish.

There are 3 different types of noodles to choose from – Thin Egg Noodle, Rice Noodle or Thick Mochi-mochi Noodle. I learnt that the Rice Noodle is similar to the Vietnamese “pho” noodle, while the Thick Mochi-mochi Noodle is similar to ramen and the Thin Egg Noodle from its name is obviously a thinner version.

Here’s what we tried…

Tori Nikomi Soba Shio 「鶏煮込みそば 塩」 – Thin Egg Noodle or Rice Noodle is recommended for this dish. I decided to go with the Thin Egg Noodle.

The soup and noodles are served in a claypot and the ingredients of Roasted Chicken Fillet, half a boiled egg, greens and dried seaweed were served on a separate plate (I don’t take leek so I asked for it to be excluded). Yuzu Pepper paste came with this and you can use it as a dip for the chicken and the egg.


After putting in the ingredients…

It was sooo good that I finished every last drop!! ^_^

Tori Nikomi Soba Curry 「鶏煮込みそば カレー」 – The recommended noodle for this dish is the Thick Mochi-mochi Noodle so we went with the recommendation. Similar to the other noodle dishes, this comes with Roasted Chicken Fillet, half a boiled egg, greens and a grated cheese dip. According to the menu, seaweed is not served with this dish but somehow it was served to us (if you look at the picture below on the right).

The soup base is the same Jidori collagen soup but I felt the taste of the curry overpowers everything so I couldn’t really taste the chicken soup.


Don’t worry about being thirsty as each table is given a pot of tea.

The onigiri (rice balls) looked tempting so we couldn’t resist ordering some to try…

Nikumaki Onigiri 「肉巻おにぎり」 – This is the original flavour and supposed to be the most popular out of the 3 types they offer. It was bigger than we expected and it actually a plain rice ball covered with strips of pork bacon, glazed with a sweet sauce (tasted like teriyaki sauce) and garnished with a sprinkling of sesame seeds.

Nikumaki Onigiri with Cheese 「肉巻おにぎり」 – This was a variation with a piece of grilled cheese on top of it. I thought it tasted like a cheeseburger except it was rice instead of bread. My hubby preferred this over the original.

Homemade Egg Pudding 「自家製濃厚プリン」 – There’s always room for desserts and it was a perfect sweet ending to the meal! At the top of the warm pudding is a crunchy layer of caramelized sugar. It felt as if I was eating a Portuguese egg tart except that it was in pudding form! YUMMMM!!


I haven’t tried their beauty hotpot (Bijin Nabe) yet as the queues on weekends and public holidays are really long! People actually start queuing from 4:30pm (or earlier) just to eat this!! I arrived at about 5:45pm and found the restaurant was full but you can leave your name and mobile number on the waiting list and they will phone you if a table was available. However, by then the waiting time was about 2 hours+ long and there was no guarantee that you can get a table.

 **UPDATE**  I finally managed to try the Bijin Nabe 「美人鍋」 on 13th June 2013!
You can read my review here.

Address: #03-81 The Atrium@Orchard, 60B Orchard Road, Singapore 238891.
TEL: +65-6336-5003
Opening Hours: Lunch 11:30~17:00, Dinner 17:00~22:00

Categories: Eating in Singapore, Japanese | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Menya Musashi Kodou (麺屋武蔵 虎洞) at ION Orchard

Just like the branch at Raffles City, the interior of this ramen eatery is decorated with pictures of samurai.


There are also additional pictures of a tiger as the shop’s name seems to imply that this is a tiger’s cave.

The menu is slightly different from that at Raffles City and they don’t serve Buta Kakuni (Braised Pork Belly) but there’s Yakibuta (Grilled Pork) instead.

Here’s what we ordered….

Red Aburi Yakibuta Ramen (赤 炙り焼き豚らー麺) – At first I was quite apprehensive about ordering “Red” as I can’t take too spicy stuff but this wasn’t as spicy as I had thought it to be. There were 2 chunky slices of pork which came with this and the waiter had asked me if I wanted them to slice the pork into smaller pieces but I declined. Anyway, the pork could be easily chewed off but I thought it was slightly overcooked at one end which made it a little tough. However, I must say that the egg at this place is done much better than at Raffles City.

Emptied the contents of the bowl (yum!) and a tiger is revealed!

White Cha Shu Ramen & Takana Mini Don (白 チャーシューらー麺 + 高菜ミニ丼ぶり) – This is a set and the ramen was similar to what you can find at Raffles City. The rice on the other hand had salted vegetables on the top of it and made me wonder if this was Chinese food or Japanese? Usually the Japanese will eat rice with pickles but this was salted vegetables done Chinese-style. It was actually a nice combination as the flavours of both the rice and noodles complemented each other.

Fried Tofu with Smoked Bonito (カツオ武士の豆腐揚げ) – There were 3 pieces of tofu which were soft and fresh. One had no topping, another had strips of seaweed on it and the third had some spicy fish roe placed on top.

Houji Cha (ほうじ茶) – The cup has the shop’s name on it and if you look on the underside (not shown in this photo), it also has a picture of a samurai.

Verdict:  Overall quite satisfying and if the yakibuta wasn’t overcooked, it would have been perfect.

Menya Musashi Kodou (麺屋武蔵 虎洞)
#B3-25 ION Orchard,
2 Orchard Turn,
Singapore 238801.
Tel: 65099394

Opening Hours: 11:30am – 10:00pm

Nearest MRT station: Orchard

Categories: Eating in Singapore, Japanese | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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