Dinner @ Nobu-ya

April 17, 2015 in Japanese

One can say I needed a change from (dining at) sushi-ya. Haha. And with that, my Jap-foodie-GF and I headed off to Nobu-ya, an izakaya. Yes, if you noticed, I have given this particular girlfriend of mine a special title of Jap-foodie-GF. Haha.

Reservation was made for 2 for a weekday dinner. And my tele-conversation took a little longer than normal cause I had trouble understanding Chef Nobukawa Yoshiyuki’s accent. When he repeated the details of my reservation, I kept hearing his “Thursday” as “Saturday”. We finally understood each other only after he spelled out Thursday for me. Haha. And yes, one of the questions asked was “Are you drinking?” Having read that chef Nobukawa turns away customers who’re not drinking, I answered “Yes”. Not that I was lying. My Jap-foodie-GF and I came with the intention to drink! I mean, what’s eating at an izakaya without drinking!

One piece of information which I did not tell my Jap-foodie-GF was that I forgot to request for counter seats. But luckily we were assigned counter seats upon arrival. Phew! And personally, the best seat in the house was the counter seats! We had full view of the kitchen with bowls of cooked items placed in front of us on the counter top. Thus, besides choosing what to order from the menu, one can also pick what one fancy from the bowls of food placed on the counter top. Although these can also be found under ‘Display Food Items’ section of the menu. But I am more of a visual person lah!

And from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3), we ordered:-

1) Hijiki, $3 (above) – Soy braised hijiki seaweed. And I always enjoy kick-starting my meal at an izakaya with these seaweed. And I liked that pieces of fishcake were also mixed with the soy braised seaweed. Nice.

2) Shutou, $4 (above) – Salt preserved fish guts. I would say it’s an acquired taste to enjoy this dish. I only had 1 small piece because it was way too salty (to be consumed on its own) while my Jap-foodie-GF finished everything! To better enjoy this, one should have the preserved guts with rice and beer!

3) Tako wasabi, $4 (above) – Wasabi marinated octopus.

4) Nakaochi, $12 (above) – Fatty tuna refuse. Minced Roughly chopped tuna was a little on the dry side. But one shouldn’t expect premium sashimi at an izakaya since sashimi wouldn’t be their forte. But I liked that crispy seaweed was given to wrap the tuna with! I had mine with lots of the chopped spring onion too. Keke

5) Sashimi mori, $38 (above) – Market sashimi mix. And we were given a variety which included tuna, yellow tail and different parts of snapper. And the yellow tail was unexpectedly superb! It had a good amount of fats with a rich and sweet aftertaste. So good. The next time I am back, I would order just the yellow tail sashimi. It’s that good.

6) Dashimaki tamago, $4 (4 pcs) (above) – Japanese omelette.

7) Anago, $12 (above) – Light grilled sea eel with soy broth.

8) Buri gobou, $6 (above) – Soy braised yellowtail and burdock. And what looked dry on the exterior was in fact moist and juicy on the inside. A must order.

9) Kabocha-ni, $5 (above) – Soy braised pumpkin and chicken.

10) Kodai shio-yaki, $18 (above) – Salt grilled young snapper. I always appreciate how a dish could be simple yet delicious. Meat of fish was sweet and juicy. A must order.

11) Tai kabuto-ni, $14 (above) – Soy braised snapper cheek. And this was ordered by pointing to one of the many dishes placed on the counter top. I would say being able to order this would be akin to a game of ‘fastest finger wins’ as there’s limited portion for the day. We were lucky and managed to order the first of the 2 pieces. Haha. And this was really good. And we saw the friendlier side to stern-looking chef Nobukawa when he rotated our plate to show us the correct side-up to take picture of the fish head. Ha! A must order.

12) Oden mori, $12 (above) – Assorted oden stew. And this was what we ended our dinner with. A warm bowl of soup consisting of several ingredients. I enjoyed the light soy-flavoured dashi broth, although it got a little spicy when we neared the bottom as the mustard which was placed at the side of the bowl had slipped into the soup. The chicken wing was a little dry.

For me, izakaya is not just about the food. It’s also of the ambience. And frankly, with our backs facing the corridor, we did feel as though we were in Japan as snippets of conversation carried out in Japanese drifted within our hearing range. Ha. And it was interesting as we watched the staff within the kitchen get busy with the food orders and Chef Nobukawa (only getting) busy with drink orders. Ha. One can tell the cooked dishes were prepared way before opening hours as the staff scooped out components of the dishes from big containers. Nice.

I definitely recommend Nobu-ya! And it definitely helps that the prices were very wallet-friendly. Even if one isn’t sure what the item is, one can just go ahead and order without worrying about breaking the bank.

190 Middle Road, Fortune Centre, #01-05, Singapore
6338 3450
Overall: 7.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Tues – Sun : 18:00 – 23:00
Ambience: 7
Value: 8
* Closed on Mon
Service: 7