Hedy Khoo STFood Online Editor recommends

Food Picks: Value for money at Igokochi Dining Bar

Le Taste's (clockwise, from far left) Mentaiko Salmon Pasta, Cereal Mayo Chicken Cutlet and Grilled Chicken Chop With Black Pepper Sauce.
Matsu Omakase dinner ($98++).ST PHOTOS: HEDY KHOO
Le Taste's (clockwise, from far left) Mentaiko Salmon Pasta, Cereal Mayo Chicken Cutlet and Grilled Chicken Chop With Black Pepper Sauce.
The Farmer's Breakfast ($10, centre), Kurobuta Pork Loin ($18, left) and Pan-seared Salmon With Special House Sauce Rice Bowl ($12, right).ST PHOTOS: HEDY KHOO
Le Taste's (clockwise, from far left) Mentaiko Salmon Pasta, Cereal Mayo Chicken Cutlet and Grilled Chicken Chop With Black Pepper Sauce.
Le Taste's (clockwise, from left) Mentaiko Salmon Pasta, Cereal Mayo Chicken Cutlet and Grilled Chicken Chop With Black Pepper Sauce.ST PHOTOS: HEDY KHOO

VALUE FOR MONEY AT IGOKOCHI DINING BAR

Located at NEWest mall in West Coast Drive, Igokochi Dining Bar is a casual Japanese restaurant and bar that specialises in omakase meals and also provides affordable lunch options and izakaya items in the evening.

The eatery is sectioned into a dining area that includes an 11-seat omakase counter and a bar area for those who want to chill over drinks and snacks after dinner.

Those watching their diet may like the Low-carb Bento ($24++), available from 11.30am to 2pm. It comes with five slices of sashimi, chawanmushi, agedashi tofu, shirataki noodles, konnyaku and a side of miso soup that is boiled from scratch.

The Matsu Omakase dinner ($98++), available from 6 to 11pm, offers value for money. You get a seasonal appetiser, three types of sashimi, a steamed or fried dish, a grilled dish, five pieces of sushi, a soup and a dessert.

The restaurant's seafood is airflown from Japan twice or thrice a week. The sashimi of shima aji and salmon belly are fresh-tasting. For the deep-fried item, the chef serves Japanese fig tempura as the fruit is in season now.

The sushi comes with generous slices of fish and smaller portions of rice so you do not feel like you overate. Look out for the yuzu daikon (radish pickled with yuzu), which is pickled in-house. The daikon is crunchy and refreshing.

WHERE: 01-98 NEWest, 1 West Coast Drive MRT: Clementi OPEN: 11.30am to 2pm (lunch); 5 to 10pm (dinner); 11am to 11pm (bar) (Mondays to Saturdays), closed on Sundays TEL: 6963-9430 INFO: www.igokochi.com.sg


FARMERS AND CHEFS GOES BACK TO BASICS

Farmers and Chefs, an outdoor dining concept in Shenton Way, provides welcome respite for those who want back-to-basics fuss-free food.

Chef Wong Kian Wai, 38, avoids using monosodium glutamate in his cooking. Instead, he uses ingredients such as fresh oregano and thyme. Prices are nett.

A new item is The Farmer's Breakfast ($10) of sous-vide herbed boneless chicken thigh slices - they turn out slightly overcooked - served with creamy scrambled eggs topped with clarified butter and hand-grated rosti with a dollop of the restaurant's trademarked Farmer's Soy Mayonnaise.

The eggs are a tad undersalted for my taste, but it is part of the restaurant's theme to go light on the seasoning.

Go for the Kurobuta Pork Loin ($18), featuring Australian pork which is pan-fried and seasoned with fresh thyme and garlic. The pork is lean, yet flavoursome.

The Pan-seared Salmon With Special House Sauce Rice Bowl ($12) is also a tasty option for those who want a filling meal, complete with an onsen egg.

WHERE: 01-04 Singapore Conference Hall, 7 Shenton Way MRT: Tanjong Pagar OPEN: 8am to 8pm (weekdays); 9am to 8pm (Saturdays), closed on Sundays TEL: 6721-9398


LE TASTE'S WESTERN FUSION OFFERINGS

For oversized portions of Western fusion grub that start at $6 a plate, head to coffee-shop stall Le Taste in Foch Road. If you can overlook the tacky stall name and the equally tacky choice of plates (faux stoneware), the dishes of stall owner and chef James Soh, 32, may surprise you.

The Grilled Chicken Chop ($6) is crispy at the edges, but slightly overcooked from the pan-frying. What stands out is the black pepper sauce which is made in-house. Mr Soh offers a choice of black pepper sauce and mushroom sauce which he prepares himself. He uses the reduction method of cooking the sauce and does not use thickeners such as flour.

He recommends the stall's popular Cereal Mayo Chicken Cutlet ($6.50), but I feel that the cereal and mayonnaise mask the crispy and flavourful cutlet.

The meat, marinated in a concoction, which includes har cheong powder, and coated in a flour mix that contains curry powder, turns out beautifully fried with a juicy interior.

I suggest you order the chicken cutlet plain.

WHERE: 01-04, Bistro 8, 30 Foch Road MRT: Lavender OPEN: 11 to 1.30am (Sundays to Thursdays); 11 to 3.30am (Fridays and Saturdays) TEL: 9018-6620

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 20, 2019, with the headline 'Food Picks'. Print Edition | Subscribe