OZAKI BEEF FOCUS
Ushidoki Wagyu Kaiseki specialises in a multi-course meal where prized Ozaki beef from the Miyazaki Prefecture takes centre stage.
The cows are raised on a farm owned by Mr Muneharu Ozaki, after which the wagyu is named. He believes that slaughtering his cattle at 32 to 34 months, instead of the conventional 28 months, adds to its flavour.
Lunch is at $100, while dinner is $150 for five courses, $200 for nine courses and $300 for a premium Ozaki dinner.
For one of the courses, you are given a choice of Ozaki beef sukiyaki, char-grilled or shabu-shabu. Opt for the char-grilled steak to experience the full flavour of the beef.
Ozaki beef is delicate with a clean finish, not overly cloying like many of the other fattier grades of Japanese beef.
The restaurant is refined and elegant - great for a quiet date or a special celebration, especially if you love Japanese beef.
WHERE: Ushidoki Wagyu Kaiseki, 01-01, 57 Tras Street MRT: Tanjong Pagar OPEN: Noon to 2.30pm (weekdays), 6 to 10.30pm (Mondays to Saturdays), closed on Sundays TEL: 6221-6379 INFO: Go to www.ushidoki.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
EXPRESS KAISEKI LUNCH SETS
Only a handful of privileged people can afford the time (and money) for a kaiseki lunch which, at upscale Kaiseki Yoshiyuki at Forum The Shopping Mall, starts at $98 for five courses.
Kaiseki, which refers to a traditional Kyoto-style multi-course meal, can consist of 15 dishes or more. That is why the restaurant recently rolled out express donburi lunch sets - same quality, less than half the time.
To enjoy these lunch sets, you sit at the Horse's Mouth cocktail bar next door, which is not a problem because the bar is comfortable and pleasant.
When I dined here earlier this week, there was a choice of six donburi including ten don (tempura with rice, $25) and beef rice ($35). Each set comes with an appetiser, miso soup, pickles and dessert.
The sakura ebi don ($25, above) is full-flavoured tiny pink crisp-fried shrimp served over hot Japanese rice. Simply satisfying.
The maguro zuke don ($35) was delicious. Generous slices of marinated subtle-flavoured tuna sit atop divine and savoury sushi rice sprinkled with sesame seeds.
WHERE: Kaiseki Yoshiyuki's donburi lunch at Horse's Mouth, B1-39 Forum The Shopping Mall, 583 Orchard Road MRT: Orchard OPEN: Noon to 1.30pm (Mondays to Saturdays) TEL: 8188-0900 INFO: www.kaisekiyoshiyuki.com
CREAM BUN GOODNESS
After trying all five cream bun flavours at Japanese chain Hattendo, I finally understand the hype.
Hattendo, which was founded in Hiroshima in 1933, specialises in pillowy soft buns piped with fresh flavoured cream (above).
I am all about the filling. And I have nothing to complain about here - there is more cream than bun (which is buttery and fluffy) and I love it.
The buns have cream fillings in five flavours: azuki, matcha, fresh cream, custard and chocolate ($2.50 each).
All the fillings are good, but the fresh cream filling is the star - lush yet light with a round creaminess.
I also enjoyed the azuki bean cream - the beans give the cream bun added texture.
If you dine at the cafe, you can opt for the "French Toast" version where the fresh cream bun is pan-fried with caramelised sugar and butter.
WHERE: Hattendo, 01-05 Tanjong Pagar Centre, 7 Wallich Street MRT: Tanjong Pagar OPEN: 10am to 9pm (weekdays), 11am to 8pm (weekends) INFO: www.facebook.com/HattendoSingapore
FRIED QUINOA WITH WOK HEI
There are two reasons you ought to check out Mojo: One, the drinks are cheap. Second, fried quinoa with chunks of foie gras.
If you want a drink, cocktails here start at $16. A glass of wine might cost $22, but a bottle will set you back only $48 to $50.
There are also sake, Japanese draught and craft beers and a small selection of Japanese whisky.
While the izakaya-style bar offers yakitori items (from $2 a serving) at night as well as sharing plates of uni soba ($38) and fried squid ($15) - it serves grain bowls at lunch time - the thing to order here come dinner time is the foie gras chahan ($18, above).
The fried quinoa has the wok hei of a good zi char-style fried rice with bits of fried egg and huge chunks of seared foie gras. It may not be healthy, but it sure is tasty.
WHERE: Mojo Singapore, 204 Telok Ayer Street MRT: Telok Ayer OPEN: 11.30am to midnight (Mondays to Saturdays), closed on Sundays TEL: 6220-0723 INFO: Go to www.mojosingapore.com or e-mail email@example.com