Dinner @ Inakaya West 田舎家 西店 (Tokyo, Japan)

September 9, 2017 in Japanese

It being my second trip to Tokyo, I thought it would be fun to include a robatayaki meal. One can also say I wanted to have the authentic experience so that I could have a proper benchmark to compare against my Singapore’s robatayaki experience. Hee!

Using keywords ‘robatayaki’ and ‘Tokyo’, I managed to google up Inakaya. With 2 outlets in Roppongi, I decided to visit the West shop as it was nearer to the metro station. And I took the gamble of walking in. Luckily I wasn’t turned away at the door. Haha.

Taken from Wikipedia, robatayaki literally translates to fireside cooking. And indeed, the chefs grilled our selected ingredients in front of us before passing us our dishes on long wooden paddle.

And from the display, I ordered:-

1) Appetiser, Complimentary (above)

2) Gingko nut (above)

3) Asparagus (above)

4) Chicken (above) – With flavours of sea salt or teriyaki sauce, I went for latter!

5) Mochi, Complimentary (above) – Halfway through dinner, we were informed there was going to be a (mini) mochi-pounding ceremony. Customers were invite up to join the staff in pounding steamed glutinous rice with wooden mallets (kine) in a traditional mortar (usu)! I didn’t join though. Too shy lah. Solo diner leh. Keke. After which, we were treated to mochi. Yeah! Had mine with soy bean powder.

6) Scallop (above)

7) Kinki fish (above) – Kinki fish is always a must for me. Do order this early as it took almost 30 minutes for the chef to grill it.

8) Dessert, Complimentary (above)

9) Roasted tea, Complimentary (above)

And at 8.30pm, there’s a ‘change shift’ for the chef behind the grills. And that was accompanied with a (mini) ceremony with lots of clapping. So I reckon it be interesting for one to reach before 8.30pm to add more fun into one’s robatayaki experience. Keke.

But Inakaya West was patronised by more tourists than locals. Throughout my dinner, the restaurant was 80% filled. Of which, more than half were tourists. Westerns to be exact. I wondered if the place became famous because a number of celebrity visited Inakaya. At the end of my meal, the staff took out a thick album and proudly showed me photographs of celebrities who have dined at their restaurant. Big names include Tom Cruise, Cameron Diaz, Tony Leung, Christine Aguilera. And I’m not sure if it was intentional but non-Japaneses were all seated on one side of the U-shaped counter.

Including tax and service charge, my meal came up to ¥19,100. I honestly wasn’t expecting it to be that expensive. But hey, I was dining solo but eating for 2. So I guess it would help if there’s more than 1 person in the group. You know, to spilt the bill with. Haha.

Would I recommend Inakaya West? Well… It being the only robatayaki restaurant that I managed to search up on internet, Inakaya West provided a pretty neat experience with great noisy atmosphere. The staff shouts with every orders placed or when customers enter and leave. But let’s say I am still on the hunt for a less-touristy robatayaki restaurant. Wink.

4-10-11 Roppongi, Minato, Tokyo, Japan (六本木4丁目10-11 八巻ビル 1F)
+81 3 5775 1012, Website
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Sun : 17:00 – 23:00
Ambience: 7
Value: 6
Service: 7

Dinner @ Kurama Robatayaki

October 21, 2016 in Japanese

My friend and I met for an impromptu dinner. And while thinking of a place to go to, we suddenly remembered our previous dinner at Sushi Murasaki. With that, we decided to return. But to check out their other (new) concept; Kurama Robatayaki.

With not much marketing and publicity done for their new concept yet, we were able to secure 2 seats easily. Yes, just 30 minutes before our arrival! And when we arrived at the restaurant, there was only another group of 2 before us.

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

1) Asparagus, $9 (above)

2) Kabocha, $8 (above)

3) Kinoko butter yaki, $15 (above)

4) Truffle onsen salad, $12 (above) – So while it introduced greens into our dinner, it’s really just salad with a half boiled an onsen egg. I would order more grilled vegetables instead.

5) Fugu mirin, $15 (above)

6) Buta bara (pork belly), $9 (above)

7) Tsukune, $8 (above) – This was pretty good!

8) Tebasaki, $6 (above) – A must order. This was grilled to perfection. Crispy skin, juicy meat.

9) Hotate (scallop), $20 (above)

10) Taraba king crab, $38/100g (above) – Our dish of grilled crab came up to $76.

11) Kinki, $120 (above) – And this was ordered by pointing to what’s on the display shelf. Yes, I love my kinki fish! Unfortunately, it’s pretty steep at $120. So while the fish was definitely fresh, I felt a better job could be done with the grilling. Where did the skin of my fish go!

12) Kani seiro mushi, $38 (above) – Wanting to try something different, we ordered this. Glutinous rice topped with crab. My friend felt the rice was a little wet, but the staff told us it was intentional that the rice was steamed longer. It was to allow the rice to absorb the essence of the crab. I enjoyed this dish.

Having gone to 2 other robataya restaurants, Kurama Robatayaki wasn’t too bad. However, it was difficult to order as the menu was mainly in Japanese (words). There should be some English words for the ease of our ordering. Else, we may have missed out on some wonderful dishes just because we couldn’t read decipher the menu.

9 Raffles Boulevard, Millenia Walk, Nihon Food Street, #02-07, Singapore
6341 9668, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Sat : 12:00 – 14:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Mon – Sat : 18:00 – 23:45 (Dinner)
Value: 7
Service: 7
* Closed on Sun

Dinner @ Tamashii Robatayaki

November 13, 2013 in Japanese

Having opened in April ’13, there sure has been a lot of buzz around Tamashii Robatayaki. But sometimes I like to give new eateries around 6 months to ‘settle down’ (you get what I mean, right?). Which explains why my friend and I only headed down in November! And this is not my first robataya experience. I had my first at Akanoya Robatayaki, so it’s inevitable that I compared the two.

Extracting from wikipedia, robataya refers to a method of cooking, similar to barbecue, in which items of food on skewers are slow-grilled over hot charcoal.

Free valet is provided for diners at Tamashii Robatayaki, which was great for my friend who drove as parking is limited to the lots along the road. And upon taking the lift to level 2, the entrance to Tamashii Robatayaki will be the glass door on the right. I got a little confused and nearly wanted to enter the other which will have led me to ‘The Mad Men‘ instead. Keke.

My friend and I were led through a waiting area, past a small dining area of tables (for those who prefer not to sit at the counter) and into the main area where it’s a large U-shape counter. We decided not to go for the omasake set as we heard mixed reviews.

And from the menu, we ordered:-

1) Sashimi moriawase, $88 (above) – Assorted raw fish. Very fresh. Sashimi slices were neither too thin nor too thick.

2) Uni, $45 (above) – Seaa urchin. There’re 2 types. One priced at $38 comes with caviar, while the other at $45 is recommended (by the staff) for being better quality. I opted for the latter and the sea urchin was indeed sweet and smooth. Goes well, wrapped with the seaweed!

3) Shiromi truffle, $58 (above) – Thinly sliced white fish with summer truffles. Nice, though I felt the white fish was sliced a little too thin. I had better elsewhere.

4) Becon enoki, $12 (above) – Bacon with golden mushroom.

5) Buta kashira, $25 (above) – Grilled black pork jowl. “Pork cheek”, replied the staff when we asked, “What’s jowl?” And we’re glad we ordered as it was so good. Meat was tender and juicy! We almost wanted to order seconds. A must try!

6) Inaniwa udon, $18 (above) – Hot thin flat noodles. Did not fancy this. There’s that noodle-ly taste in the soup.

7) Ice cream: Maccha, $6 (above) – Green tea. Ice cream came with the option of ‘red bean’ which my friend opted for. Ice cream was creamy and thick. Good news, there’s no surcharge for the red bean toppings.

8) Ice cream: Goma, $6 (above) – Black sesame.

Overall, I felt that going a-la carte was a good choice. Our dinner worked out to be $258 (not including GST and service charge) for 2. To make up a 8-courses meal to compare with the 8-courses omasake set priced at $160, one can order a fish and still work out to the same budget of around $320 for 2. Of course, for the dishes we ordered, my friend and I shared everything. And it’s more than enough cause the portion is bigger. Ambience wise, it’s a great place to catch up with friend over food as it’s quiet, if compared to Akanoya Robatayaki which is lively (or some may term as noisy).

To experience robatayaki for the first time, I say Tamashii Robatayaki is a great place to start (though not the most authentic). But do note that not all dishes are served to diners on the long wooden paddle. Only our grilled items were served that way.

12 North Canal Road, #02-01, Singapore
6222 0316, Website
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Sat : 12:00 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Mon – Sat : 18:30 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 7
* Closed on Sun
Service: 7