Ninja Bowl @ Duxton Road, Singapore

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“Healthy food can never taste good.”

“You can hardly find a decent meal under $15 at Duxton Hill.”

As Ninja Bowl makes its entrance to the upmarket Duxton precinct, the above statements are proven redundant. Meals are affordably priced from $14 to $19, with no additional GST or service charge. Most importantly, they’re delicious.

At a glance, one would perceive the menu to be heavily inspired by Japanese cuisine. Well, it is. “Ninja Bowls” are wholesome meals encompassing a balanced ratio of protein and vegetable components, served in a sizeable bowl. Customers have the option of quinoa, “Ninja Rice” (a mixture of flavoured Japanese pearl rice and brown rice), orzo, or garden greens as their base.


Noka ($14)

The “Noka”, composed of 24-hour braised beef cheek, baby corn, Korean beansprouts, mixed nuts, onsen egg, semi-dried tomatoes, is one of my top picks. The beef cheek that is braised for 24 hours promises fork-tenderness.

Great flavour combination and textural contrasts. The other “Ninja Bowls” seem to possess this characteristic too.

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Mikuni’s Grand 8-Course Fugu Tasting Menu

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The exotic Fugu (pufferfish or globefish), is extremely lethal if not prepared with extreme caution, and only chefs who have obtained a license and have gone through years of apprenticeships can serve fugu. Chef Moon of Mikuni at Fairmont Singapore is one such licensed chef with heaps of culinary talent and creative power. This winter, Mikuni draws on the fruitful supply of fugu and brings forth a Grand Tasting 8-course menu ($220 per person or $310 with sake pairing) that celebrates various parts of the Fugu anatomy, showcasing Chef Moon’s artistic strength in blending modern and centuries-old Japanese culinary techniques seamlessly.


Otoushi – Globefish Skin Jelly, Miso, Sushi Ball, Fugu Mirin Boshi, Caviar

The meal begins with “small bites” of jelly made from fish bone broth brimming of collagen goodness, sliced fugu on a sushi ball, and sun-dried fugu saturated in mirin topped with tuna belly tartar and caviar, a beautiful combination of taste and texture.

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IKYU (7-course Omakase paired with Sake)

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IKYU is a marriage of merrymaking, modern sophistication and refined Japanese culinary techniques. A sign of high calibre and success, this Japanese restaurant withstands the test of time and continues gratifying diners since its opening in 2012.

I visited IKYU when it was newly opened and left with nothing but praises. A new occasion to revisit arises; it is merely an occasion to revel in top-notch Japanese cuisine. This time round, I’m having the 7-course Omakase paired with Sake, priced at $138 per person.

Fresh slippery scallop sashimi got the ball rolling, reaching an elevated height with black truffle scattered all over. Next course was a sashimi platter comprising some of the freshest varieties available. Continue reading

Ginzawa Japanese Restaurant at Palais Renaissance

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Palais Renaissance, positioned at a quieter corner along the bustling stretch of Orchard Road, has a new addition to its dining offerings. Ginzawa is a new Japanese concept underlining traditional Japanese fare with modern twists, and encompassing multiple facets of Japanese cuisine from kaiseki and seasonal omakase to lunch set dons and chirashis.


Deluxe Tempura Moriawasu ($35) – Anago Ippon Age, Uni Tempura, Amaebi Hotate Kakiage

The menu consists of sections dedicated to steamed, grilled, sushi and tempura dishes. Also available are seasonal offerings that allow the chef to showcase his creativity and culinary techniques. The man behind these dishes is veteran Chef Donny Tan, whom has accumulated over 30 years of culinary experience at Japanese restaurants in the US, Europe, Japan and Singapore. Continue reading

Lewin Terrace -Romantic Dining Spot in Singapore

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Lauded as one of the most romantic dining spots in Singapore, Lewin Terrace is no longer a secret notwithstanding the fact that it is being concealed by exuberant greenery and tucked away from sight. Here is where many marriage proposals, weddings and anniversaries happen; its close proximity to the ROM (Registry of Marriages) makes this spot even more popular for celebrations of love.

Perched on the edge of Fort Canning Park accessible by a flight of garden steps, the restaurant is housed in a stately 100+year old black and white bungalow, serving up refined cuisine that marries French culinary techniques with the brilliance of Japanese ingredients.

Many are intimidated by its formal aura, but you’d be glad to know that lunch sets begin at an affordable $38++ (4 courses). Wine pairings are available from $38 for 3 glasses, while sparkling or still water comes at $8 for unlimited flow. The following courses are part of the Omakase-style menu priced at $108++ per person.


Buri Daikon (part of the Omakase set meal)

Judging from the food he presents, I can tell Chef Ryoichi Kano of Lewin Terrace is one who respects ingredients and is strict on quality. The starter of Buri Daikon is a playful combination of Japanese and French, with the clean tasting Japanese yellow tail matching the classic French ratatouille seamlessly.


Foie Gras Terrine ($28)

The artfully plated Foie Gras Terrine has got to be one of regulars’ all-time favourite, seemingly becoming a staple on the menu. The rich and creamy foie gras terrine is wrapped in pickled radish (bettaraduke/Japanese pickles), served with a paper-thin crystal chip (potato chip) accompanied by a mango and passionfruit puree and lemon charcoal on the side for dipping. The idioms that go “good things come in pairs” and “good things come in small packages” both apply in this case. Continue reading

Gyoza-Ya at Robinsons Orchard, Singapore

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I don’t mind myself eager to write about restaurants that are just average. The reviews you see on Melicacy sit on both the extreme ends of good and bad. Restaurants that are really good deserve special mention; likewise, I find it mandatory to warn others about restaurants that are really bad so readers don’t have to go through the same utter nightmarish experience that I did. Gyoza-Ya happens to be one I feel deserves glowing reviews.

As a specialist in making gyozas, Gyoza-Ya has adopted the latest Japanese technology to assist the kitchen team in producing fresh gyoza at high speed. With this (not-so-secret-anymore) culinary weapon, each gyoza is consistent in weight and size.

The 77-seater restaurant at Robinsons Orchard (the former Heeren Mall) features an open kitchen concept. Diners can choose to sit around the kitchen (with 31 seats available), decidedly the front row seats to “live cooking entertainment”. Continue reading

Hakata Ikkousha opens new outlet at CHIJMES

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Ramen, Japan’s national comfort food, sits conveniently and around our city. If by no means deliberate you emerge into the bustling lunch crowd of Cityhall along North Bridge Road and acquire a craving for Ramen, HAKATA IKKOUSHA is professionally able to bestow that ramen-craved satisfaction. Titled as the Ramen Champion in 2011 and 2012, HAKATA IKKOUSHA opens its second Singapore-based restaurant at CHIJMES. Continue reading

Chikusen Japanese Restaurant – 7-Course Spring Menu, $138++ for 2 pax (April to June 2014)

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Chikusen Japanese Restaurant, located along the row of shophouses at Tanjong Katong, is where fine Japanese cuisine meets comfort. Executive Chef Fabio Lee demonstrates his broad wealth of culinary experience, of over 25 years, through fresh, inspired and palatable dishes.

The welcoming 80-seater restaurant encompasses a graceful yet cosy dining room, two private rooms that can open up to one, and a bar area ideal for pre or post dinner drinks. Parking lots are available right behind the restaurant.


Rape Blossom (Nanohana) with Soya Sauce Dashi

This spring season, Chikusen curates a 7-course menu that will be available from April through June 2014, priced at $138++ for 2 persons. Courses include an appetiser, salad, sashimi, braised/grilled fish, beef/pork sukiyaki, noodle and dessert. Continue reading

Aurora Salmon from Arctic Norway now available in Singapore at Kuriya Japanese Fish Markets

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Aurora Salmon possesses a discernible pristine quality.

It is noted for its meltingly smooth texture, subtle sweetness, vibrant colour and unique artic origin. Farmed under the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) of the Arctic Circle in Northern Norway where ideal temperatures, currents and oxygen levels ensure optimal and slow growth, the Aurora Salmon has its own distinctive trait and is higher in fat content as compared to other farmed salmon. The high fat content comprises Omega 3, antioxidants, vitamins and protein, beneficial for health and beauty.

Promoted by the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) and supplied by Lerøy Seafood Group, Aurora Salmon is highly sought after in Japan since its launch in 2007. Now, it is finally available in Singapore, air-flown fresh within 2-3 days of harvesting. They will be retailing at all Kuriya Japanese Fish Markets. Continue reading

March Menu at Nadaman, Shangri-La Hotel Singapore, by newly appointed Head Chef Takaya Ishizuka

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Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore has recently appointed Takaya Ishizuka as head chef of Nadaman, who was previously the assistant head chef at Nadaman Zipangu Tokyo.

Brought up in a family of chefs, Chef Ishizuka discovered his passion for cooking at the tender age of nine. His culinary career began with the Nadaman group of restaurants in Tokyo in 1991, and has helmed the kitchens of Nadaman at Kowloon Shangri-La, Hong Kong for seven years. He has also imparted his Japanese culinary skills as a culinary instructor at the recognised VTC Hospitality Industry Training Development Centre in Hong Kong for 2 years. Armed with 23 years of experience, he is well versed in all areas of Japanese culinary techniques.

Chef Takaya Ishizuka puts a creative touch to the best seasonal ingredients available, bringing forth a new kaiseki menu each month at Nadaman.

Melicacy had the opportunity to experience the Aoi Kaiseki ($165++ for dinner) this month, which comprises some of Chef Ishizuka’s signature dishes.


Boiled Spring Vegetable topped with Bonito Flake in Mild Sauce; Milk Tofu with Wasabi Soy Sauce; Firefly Squid, Spring Cabbage and Seaweed with Vinegar Miso Sauce
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Hinoki Japanese Dining

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Chef’s Recommendation – Tokusen Sashimi ($110 for 2 persons)

There are several tiers in the Japanese dining scene in Singapore, mostly categorised by pricing, and identified by ambience, setting and of course reputation. Hinoki Japanese Dining happens to fall snugly in the upper-middle tier –not too shabby, but not fine-dining calibre.

We would usually associate the lowest tier with offering uninspiring and mass produced sushi that are made of low quality ingredients, and the highest tier offering exquisite kaiseki ryori (a multi-course meal showcasing the deft hands and creativity of the kaiseki master), made of the finest and freshest ingredients.


Assorted Tempura – Tempura Moriawase ($30)

Hinoki Japanese Dining is owned by restaurant group Epicurean Concepts Pte Ltd that concurrently runs 2Fifteen Kitchen at Rochester Mall (read my review here: http://melicacy.com/?p=4860).

Tucked in China Square’s Nankin Row within the bustling Central Business District, this restaurant has earned a marvellous reputation over the years, and is seemingly exceedingly well received by native Japanese. Continue reading

Sumire Yakitori House

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Sumire first started out in Tokyo back in 2009, and till date there are 15 outlets in Japan. Its first overseas venture, managed by Dining Innovation Group, was launched in September 2013 in Singapore, at the enclaves of Bugis Junction.

This 85-seater restaurant encompasses a theatrical open-plan grilling station where diners can watch the cooking process of each skewer.

Unlike most typical yakitori bars, Sumire Yakitori House aims to target not only men who enjoy yakitori with beer or sake but also families, office ladies, couples and more.

Apart from a wide variety of skewers, the extensive menu comprises salads, appetisers, rice/noodle options, dessert, and a range of Japanese alcoholic beverages.


Cabbage Shiodare ($1.90)

A portion of Cabbage Shiodare is served complimentary to all dine-in guests, while subsequent orders cost $1.90 each.

Browse through the menu and place your orders conveniently on the iPad that’s placed on every table.


Tamagoyaki (Homemade Omelette) with Mentai Cheese ($7.90)

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(Dining at SAFRA) Ishi Mura Express –Affordable and Tasty Japanese Meals

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Ishi Mura Express is a subsidiary of Ishi Mura Japanese Foodstreet, and as its name suggests, it presents itself as a Japanese fast food joint, providing a convenient and quick solution to rumbling tummies –especially after an intensive day of fun-filled activities at SAFRA Club.

The most attractive aspect of this eatery is its unbeatable pricing. It is indisputably the cheapest option in SAFRA Jurong Club, and possibly one of the cheapest dining options in Singapore for Japanese meals.

The menu spans across four categories: bento sets, donburi, omu rice, sushi, and ramen & curry don.


Saba Teriyaki Bento ($6)

Bento options include the Saba Teriyaki, Teriyaki Chicken ($6), Unagi ($8.50), Chicken Katsu ($6), Pork Katsu ($6), and Chicken Katsu & Yakiniku Beef ($7).

For those working or schooling in the vicinity, you’re in for a treat. Bento sets are affordably priced from $6, which includes a generous portion of rice, watermelon, chawanmushi and your choice of protein. Continue reading

Exclusive Media Food Tasting at KUMO Japanese Kaiseki; KOUJU TOMATO ZUKUSHI MENU on Saga Tomato Festival

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The Saga Tomato Festival was celebrated for the first time ever in Singapore at KUMO Japanese Kaiseki Restaurant, concurrently with 9 other restaurants around the globe including a Michelin-starred restaurant in France, on 5 April 2013.

Chef Hirohashi Nobuaki from KUMO scales new heights with his inventive interpretation of the Saga Kouji tomato, in this tomato-based Kaiseki menu, leaving us in fathomless awe. Continue reading