Your guide to 15 amazing Japanese specialists in the heart of Orchard Road
Your guide to 15 amazing Japanese specialists in the heart of Orchard Road
- By Bite! Japan Staff
- | Mar 02, 2017
Easily Singapore’s most exhaustive and high-quality japanese food enclave, Japan Food Town at Wisma Atria brings together some of Japan’s most lauded restaurants, some with histories going back over 100 years, to bring Singapore the best udon, ramen, soba, mackerel, nabe and other specialties. But without a good guide, it’s easy to feel bewildered. Use this, and we’re sure you will keep coming back for more.
A famous authentic tonkatsu restaurant in Ginza, Tokyo, Anzu makes its first foray to Southeast Asia with fresh Kyushu produce and, for their signature light and crispy breaded pork cutlet, high quality oil at temperatures of 180-200°C.
Get this: The Anzu Set comes with three types of katsu: a daily changing pork cut, shrimp ball, and a vegetable variety—and chawanmushi and dessert.
Bar Nippon is Singapore’s first bar that specializes in fruit cocktails. The menu is thought up by Japanese mixologist Mizusawa Yasuhiko, who is renowned for concocting fruit-based cocktails at Bar Tiare in Tokyo. Here, the drinks are churned out by Hirofumi Yamamoto, who trained under Mr Yasuhiko for four years. As the bar only works with fresh, quality seasonal fruits like pineapples from Okinawa, red melons from Hokkaido, and Kyoho grapes, the menu changes every three to four months.
Get this: Featuring the sweet and juicy red melon from Furano Hokkaido, the melon cocktail also gets a dash of unfiltered Nigori sake, Advocaat, plus a house-made dashi syrup derived from seaweed, bonito and wasanbon Japanese brown sugar.
Rice takes center stage here. There is a dedicated rice sommelier, and only top quality kinmemai rice is used in the dishes here, including their signature onigiri that can be ordered for takeaway. The restaurant even uses bamboo charcoal to purify the water that they use to cook the rice.
Get this: What’s not to love about grilled freshwater eel with a special sweet-savory tare in the unagi kabayaki don? The unagi is served atop a bowl of rice and then topped with shichimi and white pepper, giving the dish a spicy kick.
Serving up delicious dishes prepared with this plethora of fresh seafood, quality beef, vegetables and dairy, Hokkaido Izakaya is the best place to sample a taste of the island without flying there physically. The Japan Food Town outlet is the second in Singapore, attesting to the popularity of Hokkaido fare.
Get this: The kakiage tempura soba arrives with a massive piece of kakiage studded with vegetables and prawns, covering up half of the already huge bowl of fresh soba noodles.
With a 150-year history, this Japanese udon specialist does special, handmade, thin udon noodles that take four days to prepare. Try them in their purest form, cold, with little more than two types of tare: soy sauce and goma. Udon aside, there is also a selection of sake to go with, and standard izakaya fare.
Get this: Bring a big appetite for this ultumate udon tasting: Tempura and Ajikurabe. You’ll get some cold udon, some hot udon in soup, served alongside two types of tare.
A local outpost of the well-known teppanyaki chain in Japan. Osaka Kitchen specializes in the cuisine of the Kansai region. Expect a variety of okonomiyaki and yakisoba, and there is even a seasonal eight-course chef’s menu The bar counter takes centerstage, where you can watch the chefs work their magic on the teppan.
Get this: This straightforward Japanese omelet with pork belly might feature rather simple ingredients but it showcases the teppan skills of chef Hideshi, cooking the egg that envelops the springy meat until suitably soft.
First opened in Ebisu, Tokyo in 1998, Rang Mang Shokudo has taken karaage to an art form. The fried chicken specialists use only carefully sourced free-range chickens and marinate them in a buttermilk bath for at least six hours to lock in the flavors in the meat. After coating the mean with batter made from top quality flour, Rang Mang Shokudo uses a signature double-frying, low-heat method for perfect crispiness.
Get this: Fried chicken overs should get the All-You-Can-Eat set, which lasts for 60 minutes, at just $48, and includes free-flow alcohol. Diners can choose five dipping flavors—out of a selection of 13—to accompany their heap of chicken.
Japan Food Town’s casual and bustling ramen specialist from Kanagawa prefecture does “home-style” ramen made to your specifications—choose how well-done you like your noodles, though note they make them nice and thick, fresh. Broth-wise, they run the gamut: shoyu, tonkotsu, shio, spicy miso and even a tonkotsu-shoyu mix.
Get this: The rich, Yokohama-style tonkotsu sio cha-shu ramen also comes with spinash, nori and quail egg.
Tokyo’s two Michelin-starred Seizan restaurant as a little modest omakase restaurant in Japan Food Town, specializing in nabe, or Japanese hotpot. Young chef Haruhiko Yamamoto worked at the Tokyo restaurant for five years before coming to Singapore and serves just one set for lunch and one for dinner.
Get this: Choose from three mains, such as the wagyu mabushi, the sea bream rice set and the start of the place, the wagyu nabe dashi. It comes with appetizers and dessert.
Decked in inviting shades of blue, the restaurant in Wisma Atria’s Japan Food Town is designed to resemble an English fish and chips shop, complete with informative murals detailing facts about saba fish, or mackerel, the place’s specialty. Sabar sources its premium fish from Aomori, Tohoku and offers them as sushi, sashimi, grilled, fried and even a la fish and chips.
Get this: The assorted toro saba sushi platter comes with three different types of sushi: shimesaba, where the mackerel is cured with salt and vinegar to give it a slight tang; torched aburi-style and with kombu seaweed for added umami; and grilled with a special marinade.
This restaurant has its roots in Hyogo prefecture, and the semi-buffet meals come with quality meats from Japan and Australia, as well as free-flow vegetables and home-made ice cream. Enjoy two Japanese hot pot styles—shabu shabu and sukiyaki. The restaurant also offers six different kinds of soup stock for their shabu shabu.
Get this: The deluxe Gyujin Course Shabu Shabu comes with Hokkaido wagyu beef chuck cut, pork ribs, pork loin, and chicken thigh meat. The restaurant also provides three different sauces to pair with the meats: ponzu, gomadare (sesame), and spicy gomadare.
This tempura specialist is small and warmly lit, with many little Japanese accents and an open kitchen. The menu here might be compact, with only four rice bowl options, but diners can choose to add on individual tempuras to their sets. To wash down your meal, the concise drinks menu features a selection of sake, Suntory whiskey highball and $8 half-pint Kirin draught beer.
Get this: The Tenka Special Tendon comprises three prawn tempuras, two regular vegetables, two seasonal seafood items—featured here are squid and yellowtail, and two seasonal vegetable items—zucchini and myoga (young ginger). The accompanying sauce is deliberately kept only moderately sweet.
The dining outfit is headed by executive chef Kawashima Eisaku, who trained under master chef Nanmoku Shinichi for 16 years at the flagship outlet of the same name located at Tsukiji. In the three decades that Takewaka has been at what is arguably the world’s most famous fish market, the team has forged a tight network with the local fishermen, suppliers, and wholesalers, affording the chefs access to some of the finest quality seafood.
Get this: Using wild caught saury directly shipped in from Hokkaido to preserve its freshness, Takewaka delicately grills the fish and prepares it in the form of traditional Edo-style sushi.
With 45 years of experience in authentic yakiniku, Heijoen prides itself on being beef connoisseurs. The highlight of the menu has to be the deluxe cuts of A5 Wagyu Beef directly imported from Kagoshima, but don’t be surprised to also find some Korean staples like kimchi, namul, or bibimbap on the menu.
Get this: The Housen assortment of premium beef in the Housen platter includes salted tongue, deluxe Heijoen lean beef, the premium cut of the day, chef’s choice steak cut, sirloin and premium Sankaku marbled meat.
This Tokyo soba eatery uses a mix of buckwheat flour from Yamanashi, Tochigi and Hokkaido for its made-fresh-daily noodles. To cater to local tastes, the soba noodles are rolled out thinner than in Japan, so that it becomes slightly softer when cooked. Yomoda Soba believes in healthy eating and uses no MSG in their food preparation. All dashi broths are made with natural ingredients.
Get this: The hot ebi tempura soba comes with five pieces of crispy and rich prawn tempura together with soba noodles and a simple dashi broth.