Dinner @ Sushi Sabu-Roku

August 19, 2017 in Japanese

Months back, I learnt that the sushi chef at Tamaya Dining left to open his own sushi restaurant. And I immediately shared the news with my IGGF (InstaGram GirlFriend) so that we could check out the place together. However, she got a little too anxious and went ahead without me as she couldn’t wait for me to be back from my holidays. Sob.

So when my IGGF raved about Sushi Sabu-Roku, I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed because she and I share the same taste. So yes, my IGGF said she could return and have dinner with me. However, that didn’t materialize because 1 week before our scheduled dinner, the restaurant called my IGGF (who assisted with the reservation) and asked us to change our timing from 7pm to 6pm as they received reservation for a big group for 8pm. And do note that the restaurant asked us to change and not if we could change. Like what!?!

And since my IGGF was very disappointed with the way they handled the booking, I decided to check them out with another friend as I was still very much curious about their food.


So 4 months later, I called to make reservation for a weekday dinner as I was interested to have baby gizzard shad (shinko) which I knew was in the season from their instagram.

Reaching at 7.30pm, we were the last pair of customers to arrive at the restaurant for dinner. And for that, we were seated at the end of the counter, furthest away from owner-chef Koji Koike.

And from the dinner menu (pages 1, 2, 3), my friend and I ordered:-

1) Omakase, $250 comprised of:-

(A) Appetiser (above) – Flat greenling, egg plant and seaweed.


(B) Dish #1 (above) – Threeline grunt (isaki). And it being grilled on skewer, the fish was oily with a nice smokey aroma.

(C) Dish #2 (above) – Mackerel.


(D) Dish #3 (above) – Shellfish (ishigakigai) from Hokkaido, served with raw eggplant.

(E) Dish #4 (above) – Corn from Hokkaido.

(F) Dish #5 (above) – Big eye snapper (kinmedai). The skin was unfortunately grilled till burnt.


(G) Dish #6 (above) – Tempura assortment of shrimp (ebi) and onion, and green chili.

(H) Dish #7 (above) – Grilled white asparagus.


  

(I) Dish #8 (above) – Soup with tuna belly and fish cake.

  
  
  

(J) Dish #9 (above) – Sushi assortment of striped jack (shima-aji), squid, medium fatty tuna (chutoro), big eye snapper (kinmedai), marinated tuna (maguro zuke), sea eel (anago) and sea urchin. Somehow, from the fourth piece, the rice in our sushi became smaller. Not sure if it was because we enquired how many more pieces there was. And the only reason we asked that was because dinner was painfully draggy. Definitely not because we were full.


(K) Dish #10 (above) – Honeydew and grapes.

Unfortunately, dinner was a huge let down. Ingredients weren’t worth the price tag and the interval between the dishes were painfully long. My friend and I got pretty impatient towards the end of our dinner because we would be waiting for our dish but head chef Koji san was deeply engrossed talking to his regulars; Waiting for 5 minutes is understandable if he needs to go one round when making everyone’s sushi. But we were waiting for more than 10 minutes with head chef Koji San not doing anything related to food preparation. It seemed that they have not adapted to what’s needed with the increased capacity. Was talking to the staff, and she happened to mention they recently added more chairs to increase capacity from 8 to 10.

And it was a great disappointment that I specially came for baby gizzard shad (shinko) after seeing many post pictures of theirs on Instagram and we were served none.

Why I recommend Sushi Sabu-Roku? I won’t totally cross them out yet. I am still trying to believe that it was an one-off incident that my friend and I had a bad dining experience. Instead of coming for their dinner menu, I would encourage one to try their lunch menu instead. Which I would return to try. Not anytime soon though. Maybe next year, same time. And I’ll be sure to state clearly in my reservation that I want to try the baby gizzard shad. Yes, by hook or crook.

SUSHI SABU-ROKU
36 Circular Road, Singapore
6532 0050
Overall: 6.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Tue – Fri : 12:00 – 14:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Mon – Sat : 18:00 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 5
* Closed on Sun
Service: 7

High tea @ Axis Bar and Lounge

August 16, 2017 in European (cafe)

It has been a while since I had high tea. So when my girlfriend suggested catching up over high tea, I thought it was a good idea. However, as one would know, high tea usually starts at mid-afternoon. But I was glad Axis Bar offered theirs from 12.30pm cause my girlfriend and I had commitments in late afternoon. Keke. And with that, reservation was made via Chope.

With only 1 menu offered that’s rotates every month, we started our afternoon tea ($42 for 1, $40 each for 2) with:-


1) Dish #1 (above) – Pandan ice jelly with coconut emulsion.

2) Dish #2 (above) – From right to left, we were served i) nasi lemak cornet, anchovies and sambal jam, ii) Singapore chilli crab and mantou bits, and iii) ayam satay with peanut gravy. We didn’t like the chilli crab dish. Because the mantou bits were like crouton instead (really small pieces too), we felt like we were a big shot of spicy chilli crab gravy. .

3) Dish #3 (above) – From right to left, we had i) baker’s red beans pita bao, ii) tomato, sardine and lettuce wrap, iii) mini sub with spicy chicken floss, and iv) pandan kaya and butter toast.


4) Dish #4 (above) – Because I don’t take beef, my kampong style beef rendang pie was replaced with a second piece of nonya potato curry puff. So yes, I had 2 nonya potato curry puff, 1 tahitian vanilla scone and 1 banana scone. Didn’t enjoy the puff as the filling was pretty salty.

5) Dish #5 (above) comprised of:-

(A) 1st tier (above) – Purple yam chiffon cream chantilly (left) and palm sugar masala layer cake (right).


  

(B) 2nd tier (above) – Bandung rosella bavarious (left) and lychee strawberry choux puff (right). I really liked the bandung dessert. It was light on the palate, and not too sweet.


  

(C) 3rd tier (above) – Pineapple coconut sable (left) and chocolate almond kueh pai tee (right).

6) Tea (above) – TWG tea company’s tea was included in menu, and I went with ‘eternal summer’.

What I really like about Axis Bar & Lounge is the space and ambience. It offers a sweeping views over Marina Bay. But what I really liked was that they did not cram the space with many furniture. Oh wait. Axis is a lounge, and not a restaurant. Haha. And mothers would be delighted to know the place is family friendly. The place is equipped with high chairs and children’s plastic plate-ware. Most importantly, because the space was big and spacious, kids could have a ball of time roaming around freely. Just like my girlfriend’s 15-months child!

Would I recommend Axis Bar & Lounge for high tea? Definitely. Afternoon tea is available from 3pm to 5pm on weekdays, and 12.30 to 2.30pm (first seating) and 3pm to 5pm (second seating) on weekends. But do read up their menu before coming. I didn’t really like the August 2017′s menu.

And if one plan to drive and park at The Mandarin Oriental, do note that they do not offer complimentary parking coupon. But because we enquired with the manager who happened to be the one passing us our bill, he gave us a $18 discount instead. Nice. Keke.

AXIS BAR & LOUNGE
5 Raffles Avenue, The Mandarin Oriental, Level 4, Singapore
6885 3500, Website
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Thur, Sun : 11:00 – 00:00
Ambience: 8
Fri – Sat : 11:00 – 01:00
Value: 7
Service: 7

Lunch @ Kogane Yama

August 13, 2017 in Japanese

Was craving for deep fried food, and thus suggested to my friend to have tempura on rice (tendon) for lunch. Keke. And after doing a search on internet, we decided on heading to Bugis.

And it seemed that the selling point of Kogane Yama was their customizatiom; One could choose the type of tempura (mixed, prawn, chicken or vegetable) to the base (rice, udon, soba) and spicy level of sauce.

It was unfortunate that there was no counter seats. Only table seats were offered in the long unit. I would have preferred to see some cooking in action.

And from the menu, my friend and I ordered:-

1) Set meal (+ $2) comprised of:-


(A) Mixed bowl, $15.80 (above) – My friend decided to paired her tempura with udon.


(B) Chawanmushi, miso soup (above) – And by topping up $2, one’s meal would be upgraded into a set meal which included a steamed egg (chawanmushi) and soup. And it made sense to get the set if one is interested to get the steamed egg since it cost $2 on the a-la carte menu. The miso soup cost $1.50 if ordered separately.

2) Mixed bowl, $15.80 (above) – I stuck to the original which was tempura on rice. And for $15.80, it was a generous portion of overflowing ingredients. To the extent I thought the rice amount was too little. But of course, I realised at the end of our lunch that I was given the normal serving of 1 bowl of rice. And tempura included 2 prawns, 1 chicken, 2 long beans, 1 shiitake mushroom, 1 golden mushroom, 1 sweet potato, 1 carrot, 1 green capsicum, 1 seaweed, 1 shiso leaf and a spoonful of flying fish roe. It was also only because I was dining with my friend that halfway through my lunch, I realised they missed out my shiso leaf tempura.

I didn’t enjoy the tempura. While I finished my food, it was only because I was hungry and needed to fill up my stomach.

Yes, the batter was crispy. But that’s because it was really thick. And greasy too. My friend couldn’t finish hers and requested to pack the remaining tempura, which the staff put the leftover into a plastic bag lined with paper. And barely 30 minutes later, we noticed the paper was soaked through! With oil of course.

Do I recommend Kogane Yama? Sorry, please give this a miss at all cost.

KOGANE YAMA
200 Victoria Street, Bugis Junction, #02-50, Singapore
Overall: 6
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 5
Sun – Thur : 11:00 – 22:00
Ambience: 7
Fri – Sat : 11:00 – 23:00
Value: 7
Service: 6