SINGAPORE - (THE NEW PAPER) Chotto Matte is one of the latest additions to the ever-growing number of Japanese eateries in Singapore.
Price-wise, it is somewhere between food court-type stalls and brand name restaurants.
Chotto Matte serves a $100 omakase that brings in the crowds. Weeknights are packed, so make sure you have a reservation before you make your way there. The night I was there, I saw people getting turned away.
I rely on public transport and I'm lousy with Google Maps, so I nearly had a meltdown trying to get there. Imagine being rejected after such an "adventure".
It's small, as most Japanese places are, and has fewer than 60 seats.
If it's any indication, I observed many Japanese customers there, which is interesting considering that the head chef Roy Chee, previously from Standing Sushi Bar, is Chinese.
It also stocks more than 15 Japanese whiskeys and a menu of cocktails, so it could be just the place to say "chotto matte" ( Japanese for "wait a minute") to a bad day.
BEST GARLIC RICE
The must-try is the Kagoshima Pork Belly Don ($35), and not even for the pork, which I loved.
The garlic fried rice is delicious and worth ordering on its own. It's one of the best I've tasted.
True comfort food.
WHIFF OF TRUFFLE
Five types of flour give the Kuro Goma Yam ($12) a vague aroma of truffle.
But it's actually yam with a side of black sesame ice cream.
It is delicious and a great dessert. The aroma is a bonus.
I had my first white albacore tuna here.
The Shiro Maguro Carpaccio ($29) features marinated slivers of this creamy fish.
A tad expensive for me, but that's the price of a new experience.
NEEDS MORE YUZU
The Salmon Yuzu Mayo Taki ($25) was one of the dishes that wasn't memorable.
The yuzu mayonnaise could do with a bigger hit of the citrusy flavour.
SHARE THE BELLY
The Buta Kakuni (pork belly, $29) has a marvellous sauce.
It's a reduction of mirin, sake and ginger. The preparation of the pork from the Kagoshima region includes braising, then pan searing and finally putting it under cold running water.
It's a lot of work for a few small pieces of pork but the taste is worth it.
This article was first published on December 17, 2014.
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