Tasty tacos and more at O-Ku Japanese Tapas Bar

The Japanese Tacos.
The Japanese Tacos.PHOTOS: YEOH WEE TECK
Crab & Avo bruschetta.
Crab & Avo bruschetta.PHOTOS: YEOH WEE TECK
Wagyu Scotch Eggs.
Wagyu Scotch Eggs.PHOTOS: YEOH WEE TECK
O-Ku's Bara Chirashi.
O-Ku's Bara Chirashi.PHOTOS: YEOH WEE TECK
Sushi & Maki Deluxe Box.
Sushi & Maki Deluxe Box. PHOTOS: YEOH WEE TECK

(THE NEW PAPER) - One problem of having a famous sibling is the potential confusion.

Popular casual Japanese restaurant The Flying Squirrel has been around since 2013 and has amassed a strong fan base. So when it decided to open a sister outlet in 2015 - The Flying Squirrel Private Works in Telok Ayer - many people got confused, so the new outlet had to be renamed.

And from July this year, it is now known as O-Ku Japanese Tapas Bar.

But going by how O-Ku looks and how the food tastes, it might just end up as the better-known sibling.

The interior is chic and bright and especially lovely in daylight.

Make it for lunch if you can. You dine on a marbled chef's table, giving you an up-close look at the chefs preparing your food.

The presentation of the food is impressive, as expected. Everything looks casual, but you know much thought has been put into it.

It would have come across as if it was trying too hard had the food not been good, but it was.

There is not much in terms of variety. The a la carte menu has four categories and all the items fit into a small piece of paper, but do not dismiss it.


The Japanese Tacos. PHOTO: YEOH WEE TECK

The taco section is especially good. The Japanese Tacos ($9) are chunky in texture and flavours. The spiced mayonnaise and roe add heat and saltiness, and there is crunch from the taco shell too. It all comes together perfectly.


Crab & Avo bruschetta. PHOTO: YEOH WEE TECK

While the Crab & Avo bruschetta ($12) looks and tastes good, it is difficult to eat without creating a mess. Everything falls apart the moment you bite into it. It is way too big to pop it all into your mouth. Once the chefs get the details right, this will be a killer dish.


Wagyu Scotch Eggs. PHOTO: YEOH WEE TECK

I love egg dishes, but have never been a fan of scotch eggs, and the Wagyu Scotch Eggs ($13) here have not changed that. The dish makes a pretty picture, but there is no elevation here.


 Bara Chirashi. PHOTO: YEOH WEE TECK

While the O-Ku's Bara Chirashi ($30) will not be taking home a prize for innovation, it is too pretty to ignore and too tasty to pass on. It is a delicious hearty bowl of fish, roe and rice. It might fill your stomach, but you will probably still be eating the last grain of rice.


Sushi & Maki Deluxe Box. PHOTO: YEOH WEE TECK

I wish the Sushi & Maki Deluxe Box ($50) was as filling, though. It comes with items such as salmon belly aburi, tuna belly aburi and avocado maki.

It should be able to feed two, but I feel there could have been more. If there are two hungry people, the meal could end in a fight. I suggest you order the entire list of tacos instead.

O-KU JAPANESE TAPAS BAR

179A Telok Ayer Street; tel: 6221-7073; open: 11.30am to 3pm for weekday lunch; 6 to 11pm for dinner, Wednesdays and Thursdays; 6pm to midnight, Fridays and Saturdays