Weekends are not the time to come to Millenia Walk. Too little traffic, not enough opportunities for watching what other people are eating. But coming for lunch at the weekend does have some benefits; your choice of seat, attentive service (if it’s even half as good when the crowds are here, they have nothing to worry about—though they might want to fix the dripping aircon), and best of all, an uninterrupted view of the fantastic open kitchen, with a chance to chat to the chefs about what they’re most proud of. No surprises there though; this three-month-old spot proudly boasts of its expertise at gyutan (ox tongue) and oden (a wintery miso and daikon radish soup); and the chefs saw no reason for us to deviate from that particular path. We like to mix things up though, so we opted for the wafu gyutan hamburger steak ($19.80) which came with a clean, cold, palate-cleansing block of tofu, a flavorless ox tongue soup, and some nutty barley rice. The burger itself had the texture of steak tartare, crumbling under the (human) tongue rather nicely. As for the sides—broccoli and carrots—an underdone “meh.” Meanwhile, we were also attacking the uh-men and gyutan set ($26.80). Uh-men are those wire-thin Japanese wheat noodles; mixed with spicy pickles they were at least the equal of the signature gyutan. Though the grilled ox tongue was tough and particularly gristly, the rich, liverish flavor kept us picking at it. For what it’s worth, it went down a treat with a cold beer. We couldn’t not have the oden, and thank god for that. To ours we added a sunburst of Japanese egg, a delicate hunk of daikon, a sliver of racing green koribu (seaweed), and some fishcakes (with half a dozen types to choose from). Together, each of these $2.90 ingredients was rather special; best of all toward the end, by when the egg had broken up in the broth. It’s not your regular Japanese this, and is by no means flawless, but it’s never less than interesting and we left with every intention of coming back.
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