Lunch @ Ishi 石

December 31, 2017 in Japanese

It feels like it has been a while since I found a promising new sushi restaurant. So when I chanced upon ISHI, I got really excited. Keke. And thankfully, my IGGF (InstaGram GirlFriend) was equally interested to check out ISHI which is apparently opened by the same group who launched Izy Dining and Bar. With that, reservation was made for a weekend lunch. =)

But please be mindful that they are located in InterContinental Robertson Quay and not InterContinental Bugis. Imagine my horror when I reached the latter and couldn’t locate the restaurant. Blur me. Thankfully, I was early. So I managed to cabbed down to ISHI within 10 minutes. But yeah, I was late for our lunch reservation by 5 minutes. Oops.

After alighting from my taxi, the hotel staff showed me the (external) escalator which I was to take to level 2. Upon entering, I immediately noticed that ISHI’s kitchen was completely open. Interesting. And from the lunch menu, I ordered:-

1) Lunch omakase, $180 comprised of:-

(A) Dish #1 (above) – Botan-ebi, kelp and salmon roe paired with vinegar jelly and topped with gold flakes. It honestly couldn’t get any better. My girlfriend and I were in love. Haha.


(B) Dish #2 (above) – Chawanmushi. And it being December (winter), it’s the best season for shirako. So yes! Tara shirako (cod’s milt) was served in my egg custard. So nice.

(C) Dish #3 (above) – Sashimi. Assortment of chutoro (medium fatty tuna), kinmedai (big eye snapper), ishigakigai (giant clam) and shima aji (striped jack). And just in case I didn’t know what a shell fish was, head chef Masaaki Sakashita very friendly cutely took out the shell for me to see.

(D) Dish #4 (above) – And instead of wagyu beef, head chef Masaaki san replace mine with braised abalone. And I seriously, seriously love the bowl.


(E) Dish #5 (above) – Sushi (7 pieces). Flounder, kamasu (barracuda) with Okinawa salt, maguro zuke (marinated tuna), hokkigai (arctic surf clam), sawada (Spanish mackerel), shiro-ebi (baby white shrimp), and otoro (premium fatty tuna). And for the Spanish mackerel, head chef Masaaki san added a twist by swapping wasabi with Tasmania mustard. So yes, it was very interesting cause the mustard beads would go ‘pop pop’ in the mouth. And it’s crazily brilliant how the combination of Spanish mackerel and mustard actually worked.

(F) Dish #6 (above) – Rice bowl.

(G) Dish #7 (above) – Miso soup.

(H) Dish #8 (above) – And we got a Santa-looking strawberry since we dined during the Christmas (long) weekend. Too cute. And besides the cake, we were also told the whipped cream is handmade.

2) Tempura mori, $35 (above) – Upon hearing anago was one of the ingredients included in the assortment, I immediately went “One tempura mori please.” Keke. Besides anago, there were prawns (2 pieces), mushroom, pumpkin and onion.

My IGGF and I really loved our dining experience at ISHI. The ambience, the food and the service. Head chef Masaaki san was really friendly. I like how he knew when to join in our conversation and when to give us our space. In fact, my IGGF and I found head chef Masaaki san really familiar. And upon asking, we learnt he was previously at Hashida Sushi. Thus, the subtle similarity in terms of the executing and plating.

I strongly recommend ISHI. And what’s best is that one can enjoy dining without burning a hole in one’s purse. Will definitely return to ISHI for more meals.

1 Nanson Road, Intercontinental Singapore Robertson Quay, #02-06, Singapore
9829 8239, Facebook
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Tue – Sun : 12:00 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Tue – Sun : 18:30 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 8
Service: 8
* Closed on Mon

Dinner @ Mikoto Singapore

April 27, 2017 in Japanese

It has been a while since I last met up with my buddy. Also known as my yakitori-buddy on my food blog. Keke. And this time round, we were off to explore a new izakaya instead of yakitori joint.

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

1) Otoshi, $5 (above) – It’s mentioned on the menu that otoshi (appetiser) was charged to every head. So it’s like a compulsory appetiser. And for this, we were served celery with tuna.

2) Cod roe & cheese, $14 (above) – When this was served, we didn’t have much expectation. But don’t be fooled by its simple presentation. This was absolutely delightful. It’s crazy how the 3 salty ingredients (cod roe, brie cheese and cracker) complemented one another without being too salty. And the cracker, which I suspected is Ritz, was warmed too. Talk about details! A must try.

3) Assorted appetizer (6 kinds), $15 (above)

4) Assorted sashimi (6 kinds), $20 (above) – I was impressed by the quality of the sashimi with the exception of tuna. Its quality was pretty good for an izakaya.

5) Buta tama, $10 (above) – Stir-fried pork and egg omelette on a bed of shredded cabbage, drizzled with lots of too much mayonnaise.

6) Chicken nannban, $6 (above) – Fried chicken with tartar sauce. We were shocked at its visual. Pink tartar sauce? What. We figured the colour was from the pickled pink radish used in the tartar sauce. And I didn’t like the batter. The colour was non-appetising. I was expecting it to be fried to a shade of golden brown. But beneath the thick batter was tender and juicy meat. I enjoyed the fried chicken better without the batter.


7) Champon, $18 (above) – Nagasaki ramen. We agreed it wasn’t the typical ramen because of the noodle. And my yakitori-buddy said this was the perfect dish for hangover. Ha. Now, that wouldn’t be surprising since we were dining at an izakaya after all.

8) Suntory premium molt’s, $32 (jug) (above) – We decided to get a jug instead of going by the glass because it was more economical that way. I texted my yakitori-buddy before dinner that I needed a drink cause of work stress, and he took my words very literally. Ha.

If one asks me for recommendation, Mikoto is not an eatery that’s on the top of my list since I know of other restaurants in Robertson Quay where I had more memorable dining experiences. But I won’t discourage one to dine at Mikoto since my yakitori-buddy and I enjoyed ourselves nonetheless.

In fact, for diners who want to drink more than eat, Mikoto has a pretty good deal. On the menu, 2-hours and 3-hours free flow drink are offered. Price for 2 hours ranging from $55 to $58 and 3 hours’ ranging from $65 to $68. And for both packages, diners would also be served 6 dishes to go with the drinks.

60 Robertson Quay, The Quayside, #01-12, Singapore
6235 5277, Website, Facebook
Overall: 6.5
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 6
Mon – Thu : 17:30 – 23:00
Ambience: 6
Fri – Sun : 17:00 – 04:00
Value: 7
Service: 7

Dinner @ Chikuyotei (UE Square)

October 26, 2016 in Japanese

I have been to Chikuyotei before, but at their flagship outlet at Intercontinental Singapore. I didn’t follow up with my review then because I wanted to make a return trip. On a Monday to be specific as I was told by the staff that the other ways of grilling / cooking sea eel were only available on Mondays.

But I must have taken too long in returning as they opened a second outlet at UE Square since. Oops! So when the opportunity finally came for me to check out Chikuyotei, I was in a dilemma. To go back to Intercontinental Singapore, or to check out UE Square’s.

In the end, I went with the latter. Curiosity got the better of me lah. Ha. I wanted to see how different the outlet at UE Square was. And reservation was made just a few days in advance for a weekday dinner at 8.30pm.

But when my friend and I were running late cause I went for a crossfit class prior (and it ended late), I was worried. We would only arrive at Chikuyotei at 8.50pm and their website stated that they close at 10pm. I knew we needed at least 1.5 hours to have a comfortable omakase dinner. However, I was surprised and relieved to see most of the patrons just starting (on) their dinner.

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

1) Grilled eel liver, $16 (above) – With 5 pieces on the stick, we were told by chef Akihiro Maetomo that the eel liver is very good for the eyes. I definitely need more of it then! However not everyone would enjoy the eel liver grilled as it left a bitter aftertaste. And cause my friend didn’t like it, I had 4 pieces all to myself. Keke.

2) Broiled eel (aichi) wrapped in Japanese omelette, $42 (above) – This was pretty good. Omelette was fluffy and light, although I wished there was more eel. Keke.

3) Omakase course (Take), $198 comprised of:-

(A) Item #1 (above) – Pre-appetizer of Japanese vegetables topped with freshly shaved bonito flakes. Yes, we witnessed Chef Maetomo shaving the dried bonito with a meat slicing machine.

(B) Item #2 (above) – Appetizer of lotus root, edamame, sweet potato and yam.

(C) Item #3 (above) – Salmon milt and egg tofu served in clear soup.

(D) Item #4 (above) – Assorted sashimi of medium fatty tuna (chutoro), sea urchin, mackerel and squid. So, so good. Reminded me of my love for the combination of sea urchin and squid. =p

(E) Item #5 (above) – While presenting this plate of plain broiled eel, chef Maetomo mentioned that the eel was freshly sliced in the morning. And having it plain was definitely the proper way to appreciate the sea eel; With no sauce to overpower its original natural taste.

(F) Item #6 (above) – Spanish mackerel with mushroom stew.

(G) Item #7 (above) – With a few options to choose for the main course, I went with the Japanese eel on rice since sea eel is their specialty. Although I was very tempted to order the blue fin tuna on sushi rice (with a top up of $28). However, with only a quarter portion served for the omakase course and (greedy) me wanting more sea eel, I topped up $18 to be given half portion (as pictured).

(H) Item #8 (above) – Dessert of red bean jelly, persimmon and pear.

4) Unagi course (Fuku), $158 comprised of:-

(A) Item #1 – Similar to mine; Pre-appetizer of Japanese vegetables topped with bonito flakes.

(B) Item #2 – Appetizer of lotus root, edamame, sweet potato and yam.

(C) Item #3 – Again, similar to mine; Salmon milt and egg tofu served in clear soup.

(D) Item #4 – Assorted sashimi of medium fatty tuna (chutoro), sea urchin, mackerel and squid.

(E) Item #5 (above) – Chestnut with sticky rice.

(F) Item #6 – Same as mine; Spanish mackerel with mushroom stew.

(G) Item #7 (above) – Assorted tempura of tiger prawn (kuruma-ebi), mushroom and sea urchin (uni). The sea urchin tempeura was so good. So glad it was served in halves for my friend to easily share it with me. Keke.

(H) Item #8 (above) – We forgot to mention our dietary restriction when we had our orders taken. So when chef Maetomo came with beef on a potable clay grill, we were very apologetic. However, what really touched us was that chef Maetomo immediately took the beef back and returned to say he will prepare flounder instead. All with a smile.


(I) Item #9 (above) – Between broiled eel on rice, broiled eel with sauce and rice, and chopped eel on rice served with soup, my friend went with chopped eel for main course cause the chopped eel was only available for the unagi course. We were further told by the staff that the difference between the 3 prices of the unagi course was the eel portion. Fuku ($158), Gin ($188) and Take ($218) entitled one to half, full, and one and a half portion of eel respectively. And yes, I liked that we were given instruction on how to appreciate this dish which is also known as hitsumabushi. My favourite way was with the soup!

(J) Item #10 – Dessert of red bean jelly, persimmon and pear.

I was very impressed with my dining experience at Chikuyotei’s UE Square outlet. The ambience was very different from Intercontinental Singapore’s. UE Square’s was more upscale while Intercontinental Singapore’s was cosier and less formal. I preferred the former of course. Haha.

Got to learn from Gourmet Japan that chef Akihiro Maetomo previously worked at Michelin-starred Chikuyotei, the flagship store in Tokyo, too.

Besides the good ambience and wonderful food, their service was commendable too. There was a slight miscommunication between their service staff and kitchen staff cause my friend was served eel on rice (una don) instead of chopped eel on rice (hitsumabushi). We were a little embarrassed as we told chef Maetomo about the error in main course, especially after our error of not informing them of our dietry restriction. But chef Maetomo apologised for the staff’s error and immediately took it back to the kitchen to change. Thank you for making us feel at ease and not guilty for causing so much inconvenience.

So while it was stated that they close at 10pm, we stayed till 11.15pm! It was also while we were having our dessert that we got to interact with one of their senior management who introduced himself as the person responsible for (bringing in) the supply. He hinted that a third outlet may be in the pipeline!

207 River Valley Road, UE Square, #01-61, Singapore
6235 2795, Facebook
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Mon – Sat : 12:00 – 14:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 8
Mon – Sat : 18:00 – 22:00 (Dinner)
Value: 8
Service: 8
* Closed on Sun