Dinner @ Donpachi Sake Bar 本家呑八

April 11, 2017 in Japanese by thywhaleliciousfay

I was on instagram when pictures of an izakaya piqued my interest. However, the pictures were geo-tagged to Cuppage Plaza and not to the eatery. Determined to hunt down the place, I put on my ‘Sherlock Holmes’ hat. Haha. Thankfully, I managed to find the name to this low-profile izakaya. Yes, Donpachi Sake Bar. And what came next was like a reflex action; I immediately shared with my IGGF (InstaGram GirlFriend) news of my newly-found eatery and asked if she was keen in checking out Donpachi with me. And she was keen! Yeah.

Donpachi’s operating hours starting at 8pm was a real blessing for me because I don’t get to leave office early these days. And I would feel guilty if it had to come from me to suggest eating late cause I know my IGGF prefers starting early. Keke.

And with that, reservation was made for a Friday night. And yes, for 8pm.

On the day of our dinner, my IGGF and I met at Somerset MRT station before making our way over to Cuppage Plaza. However, even though we were armed with the address of Donpachi, we stood outside of the unit unsure if we were at the correct place. I mean, I knew Donpachi was a low profile izakaya. But it can’t be to the extent of having no signage… Erm, right?

In the midst of our uncertainty, I decided to peek through the door gap. To which, we confirmed we were at the correct place when I saw chef inside. Ha!

And from the dinner menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6), we ordered:-

1) Oyster pickled in olive oil, $4.50 (above) – When my IGGF wanted to order this, I told her to order just 1. I was pretty sure I haven’t gotten over my phobia for oysters. But a (brave) bite of this dish under much coaxing by my IGGF showed that I should always ‘give it a try’. The oyster was seasoned very well. No fishy taste, and its texture was very smooth. Nice.

2) Maguro yamakake, $8 (above) – This confirmed my theory that one should stick to ordering sashimi in restaurants (ie, sushi-ya) and not at bars.

3) Smoked daikon marinated in cream cheese, $8 (above) – There were pickled pieces of radish too which introduced crunch to the dish. I really like this.

4) Geso age, $8 (above)

5) Jakonegi tofu, $8 (above) – I am not one to order tofu salad, but this was surprisingly good. Paired with leek sauce, I liked the addition of fried baby fish which added savouriness to an otherwise bland dish.

6) Chicken liver paste, $12 (above)

7) Raisin marinated in sake lees, $8 (above) – Sake lees (sakekasu) is the byproduct of sake-making process. And it was fascinating this tasted like rum and raisin flavoured cream cheese. And because it tasted like rum and raisin, this felt like a dessert dish to me.

8) Tenpura teishoku, $24 (above) – Not too bad. Pretty impressive considering it’s food served in a bar. The batter didn’t turned soggy even though my IGGF and I took a while to finish.

9) Saba, $9 (above) – This was good. Grilled to perfection, this was meaty and juicy.

10) Sake (warm), $21 (above) – Warm sake seemed to be Donpachi’s speciality. We ordered twice and were given 2 types of sake to try. Have a specific sake to try? Just point to one of the bottles on the shelves or let chef decide!

11) Beer, $13 – Wished I had a better picture for posting on my blog. I was busy chatting with my IGGF and took a little too long to shift attention to my beer. By the time I wanted to take picture of my beer, the beautiful layer white foam had subsided much. And by ordering a glass of beer (without referring to the menu), one was served Premium Malt’s by default.

I definitely recommend Donpachi for their wide range of purse-friendly (warm) sake and yummy finger food to go with the drinks.

But don’t expect much of the interior decor. It’s done up very simply. But it’s that which I liked about the place. It was cozy and warm. Take the counter seats to watch chef, with his signature straw fedora hat, prepare the drinks. Seated directly in front of the hot bath machine, I noticed how careful he was in ensuring the sake was served at the optimal temperature.

And oh, I was surprised when chef walked us to the door when we left the place. I wasn’t expecting that, but was glad as it reminded me much of the great hospitality of Japanese. Especially since it has only been slightly over a month since I returned from Japan.

5 Koek Road, Cuppage Plaza, #B1-23, Singapore
9667 3659, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Sat : 20:00 – 04:00
Ambience: 6
Value: 7
Service: 7
* Closed on Sun