Dinner @ Shirokane Tori-Tama

March 10, 2016 in Japanese

My friend and I meant to meet only 2 weeks later. But a sudden change in his schedule had us meeting earlier on a Friday evening. However, one should know better that it’s impossible to find a decent place to dine at on Fridays with no prior reservation.

My friend and I were to meet for yakitori at Shirokane Tori-Tama. So we decided to try our luck at walking in. And true enough, they were full house. =( We ended up eating at another place where I would have preferred not to. Every calories count lah. I rather use my calories for good food if I am to have my cheat meal. Keke.

And the thing about me is that I am pretty stubborn. When I set my mind onto something, it’s ‘all the way’. And that’s the same with me and my food. I had to have my yakitori at Shirokane Tori-Tama. o_O Haha. So a dinner was arranged with my girlfriend instead.

Upon arrival, a lady (whom we think is the manager) checked our reservation before directing us to our seats. We had a good up-front view of the chefs, but the worse seats in terms of ventilation. The heat from the grill was escaping through the gap between the 2 pieces of glass panels and hitting us in our faces.

Since we made an early reservation at 6.30pm, the counter was not fully seated yet. Thus, we requested if we could change to another spot. However, the manager said it was impossible as the other seats were reserved. We later got to realise that those seats were reserved for their regulars.

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

1) Tsukune, $5 (above) – Chicken ball. A must try. These were so good! Tender and juicy. My girlfriend and I ordered seconds for this.

2) Kanmuri, $4 (above) – Cockscomb.

3) Hatsu, $3.50 (above) – Heart.

4) Otafuku, $4 (above) – Along the neck meat.

5) Sasami no mitsubamaki, $3.50 (above) – Chicken fillet roll with mitsuba.

6) Sori-resu, $5 (above) – Special thigh.

7) Raclettecheese no inariyaki, $5 (above) – Skintofu with cheese.

8) Tebamoto, $5 (above) – Drum stick.

9) Ginkawa, $4 (above) – Edge of the gizzard.

10) Engawa, $3.50 (above) – Midriff.

11) Emon, $5 (above) – Breast meat.

12) Gatsu, $3.50 (above) – Stomach.

13) Azuki, $3.50 (above) – Spleen.

14) Aotou, $5 (above) – Small sweet green pepper.

15) Shiitake mushroom, $6.50 (above)

16) Chamame no sobatsuyuni, $8 (above) – Chamame dipped in sobatsuyu. This was recommended by the staff when we couldn’t decide on which salad to try. And this was surprisingly good. A must try.

17) Mizuna salad, $12 (above) – Another salad which was recommended by the staff. This looked pretty plain when served, but was surprisingly addictive.

18) Tofu salad, $11 (above)

We were really happy with the food. I can be pretty forgetful (oh yes, I sometimes say I have ‘goldfish memory’), but I don’t think I’ve seen a menu where one can have almost every part of the chicken.

However, service wise, we were put off by the manager. There was a big difference in her attitude to non-regulars and regulars. I am not sure what’s the normal ordering style for yakitori, but I like to break up my order. No, not to the extent of ordering only 2 sticks at every one time. If I come with a friend, we can typically eat around 15 sticks, with 2 to 3 side dishes like salads, etc. And instead of ordering all 15 sticks at one shot, I would order say, 7 sticks first, followed by our next 5, and then the last few sticks according to how hungry, full or greedy we were. When we were giving our orders for the 3rd time, the manager hostilely said, “Next time, give your orders all at one shot.” And that baffled me cause the Japanese on our right and her regulars on our left were doing what we were too; Splitting up their orders. And the thing about yakitori, one wouldn’t want to order too many sticks at one shot and have them go cold on the plate. These skewered meats are meant to be eaten when they are hot, off the grill!

Will I recommend Shirokane Tori-Tama? Frankly, I am on the fence on this. Nice ambience, good albeit expensive food, but horrible service. Though to be very fair, it was just that particular manager. The rest were pretty okie.

11 Unity Street, Robertson Walk, #01-02, Singapore
6836 5680, Website
Overall: 6
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Sun : 18:00 – 23:00
Ambience: 7
Value: 6
Service: 5

Dinner @ Gosso Omotenashi Dining

June 16, 2015 in Japanese

I realised I haven’t had yakitori recently. And so, dinner was organised with my buddy to check out Gosso Omotenashi. I got to know of Gosso through another friend. And I must say, it’s a great recommendation. =)

For me, besides the food, my ideal yakitori joint has to have the following:-

  (A) Counter seats: Where one can watch the ‘grilling’ actions
  (B) Dimly lit: Yakitori joint normally doubles up as an izakaya. So I prefer it be dim to set the mood. Haha.
  (C) Japanese clientele: Not a must, but it certainly adds to the ambience. No? =)

And from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10), we ordered:-

1) Special yakitori set, $28 comprised of:-

(A) Gosso dama (2 sticks) (above) – White chicken liver wrapped in crepine and baked with bincho-tan charcoal. $7 if ordered a-la carte. And this was so good! Crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. Because Gosso believes this is best consumed when it’s hot, they even have a timer set to 40 seconds to tell us to consume the chicken liver before 40 seconds is up. And yes, it’s possible to take picture and consume 1 stick of 2 pieces within 40 seconds. I managed to! A must order.

(B) Hatsu (2 sticks) (above) – Chicken heart. With grated garlic sauce. My buddy was grumbling when he learnt I had ordered the ‘special set’ cause he wasn’t interested to try the non-normal items like chicken heart. But when he tried this, he knew better to trust my instinct when it comes to ordering. Haha. These were grilled to perfection; Chewy without being too chewy. Hmm… Haha. $3 if ordered a-la carte.

(C) Sunagimo (2 sticks) (above) – Chicken gizzard. With yuzu pepper. $3 if ordered a-la carte.

(D) Umesiso-yaki (2 sticks) (above) – Sasami fillet wrapped with shiso leaf. With plum pulp sauce. And it was a interesting combination of chicken fillet and shiso leaf. $5 if ordered a-la carte.

(E) Negima (2 sticks) (above) – Chicken thigh with leek. $6 if ordered a-la carte.

(F) Tsukune (2 sticks) (above) – Chicken minced ball. This was really good. With chopped vegetables mixed into the patty, the meat ball was juicy and flavourful. $6 if ordered a-la carte. A must order!

2) Butamaki shimeji, $6 (2 sticks) (above) – Shimeji mushroom wrapped with pork belly and grilled with miso sauce.

3) Butamaki omochi, $6 (2 sticks) (above) – Rice cake wrapped with pork belly and grilled with soya sauce. I love how the rice cake stretched with every bites. Ha. A musty try.

4) Isobe-yaki, $5 (2 sticks) (above) – Sasami fillet wrapped with seaweed and grilled with yakitori sauce.

5) Cheese-tsukune, $7 (2 sticks) (above) – Chicken minced ball with cheese. I preferred the original flavour over this. With a generous portion of meat, the amount of cheese seemed to be on the low side. I was hoping for the cheese to ‘burst’ out.

6) Omotenashi fried chicken, $5.80 (2 pieces) (above) – Deep fried drum stick marinated in special sauce.

7) Gyo-za, $6.80 (above) – Deep fried home made dumpling. With chili sauce. The dumplings were really oily but so good! The skin was crisp while the meat filling within was tender and juicy.

8) Tsukune gohan, $9.80 (above) – Chicken minced ball rice.I purposely enquired with the staff if this was ‘grilled rice ball with chicken within’ or ‘chicken placed on top of rice’. However, I must have somehow misinterpreted her “giant version” as ‘giant grilled rice ball’ when she really meant ‘giant version of chicken meat ball (placed on steamed rice)’. I say skip this and order more yakitori sticks. If one really needs carbohydrate, try the chicken porridge (item 10) instead! But if you must order this, add $1 for an additional raw egg.

9) Torisuki, $14.80 (above) – Chicken sukiyaki. Soup made from yakitori sauce. My buddy found the soup a little salty, but I thought it was okie. And when this was first served, all we could see was tang oh. Leave it alone (to boil) for almost 10 minutes before tucking in.

10) Rice porridge, $4.80 (Add on) (above) – Optional add-on to chicken sukiyaki (item 9). And when we were almost done with our torisuki (with some soup left), the staff brought our pot back to the kitchen to prepare our porridge where rice, egg, chicken and spring onion were added. And this was so gooey-ly good! I really liked it.

11) Chocolate daifuku, $7.80 (above) – We had wanted to order the mango daifuku, but the staff told us chocolate was also available. And since chocolate daifuku was not always available, we decided to go with it. Mochi stuffed with chocolate ice cream and berry sauce. I might by slightly bias since I like mochi. Generous portion of rich chocolate ice cream wrapped with a thin yet chewy skin. Yum.

I highly recommend Gosso Omotenashi. Firstly, the prices are wallet friendly. I know of other yakitori joints which charge more. And the ambience was great. Although my buddy and I were engrossed in our conversation and not paying much attention to our surroundings, please go for the counter seats. I would sometimes look up and watch the staff grill the chicken sticks. But if one is coming in a group, there’re indoor booth seats or alfresco seats.

Service was great too. From my observation, a Japanese lady seemed to be the lead waiting staff. When I reached at 7.30pm, the staff were really busy as 2 other groups had arrived at the same time as me. And while I was waiting quietly (since I made no prior reservation), the lady saw me and asked me to wait. I was a little afraid I would be forgotten since they were really busy directing the customers and checking their other reservations for the night. But she came up to me nontheless and arranged (my favourite) counter seats! =) Of course, there was another young female staff who was quick and attentive. Our empty plates were cleared promptly.

The fire of our portable stove (for our torisuki) was blown in our direction due to the air conditioner. It’s not the staff’s fault yet the staff came up to us and apologised.

So yes, I highly recommend Gosso Omotenashi. I guess I just found a new favourite yakitori joint.

64 Boat Quay, Singapore
6533 5152, Website, Facebook
Overall: 8
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 8
Mon – Fri : 11:30 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Mon – Sat : 17:30 – 00:00 (Dinner)
Value: 8
* Closed on Sun
Service: 8

Dinner @ Sumiya Charcoal Grill [Revisit] // CLOSED

May 29, 2015 in Japanese

My previous visit to Sumiya with my family had been a good one. We enjoyed the food and ambience. So when I got to know that Sumiya had since updated their menu, I thought to myself “Why not head back!”

We came on a Sunday evening at 7.30pm. Reservation is definitely recommended as we witnessed people (with no reservation) being turned away that night. Although they could have been busier the night we came as it was a public holiday. Mother’s day to be exact.

However, while looking at their new menu, we found ourselves having a difficult time finding something to order. Their set menus were not as attractive as previous. Most of the set courses included salmon avocado monaka (salmon sashimi and avocado with Japanese monaka wafers). I am definitely one who’s against the combination of wafers with sashimi. I mean, wafer is for dessert where it should be paired with ice cream, etc. So we ended up ordering from the a-la carte menu.

One of the bigger changes on their menu was that they offered many tuna dishes. But we were not too interested in the tuna. Call me rigid, but I prefer to get mine from sushi-ya.

And from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12), we ordered:-

1) J03: Fried semi-dried stingray, $7.80 (above)

2) I22: Asparagus bacon skewer, $6 per stick (above) – Bacon-wrapped asparagus on a skewer.

3) H04: Steamed omlette in fresh laver sauce, $6.80 (above) – Fluffy omletette and seaweed sauce.

4) K03: Live hotate (3 pcs), $45 (above) – And this was ordered under the section of ‘Sumiya’s special can can mushi’ where seafood was steamed with sake and dashi broth in a can. However, as they were not able to replace the oyster from the ‘mixed seafood value can’, we ended up ordering just the scallop.

5) I01: Buri kama shioyaki, $28 (above) – Grilled Japanese yellowtail cheek with salt.

6) F07: Today’s 5 kinds of sashimi, $108 (above)

7) L03: Fish bone miso soup, $8.80 (above) – Served in a hot stone pot.

8) M01: Char-grilled salmon rice ball (miso flavour), $6.80 (above)

9) M06: Double-steamed rice in bamboo (grilled salmon flakes & salmon roe), $12.80 (above)

10) O03: Grilled butter mochi, $3.80 (above)

11) O01: Cream daifuku mochi of the day, $3.80 (above) – Japanese cake with black sesame filling. Other flavours included matcha and strawberry.

12) O02: Karinto manju, $3.80 (above) – Freshly deep-fried Japanese cake. Crispy skin and moist pumpkin filling.

13) X23: Sake in bamboo (180ml), $11 (above) – And it’s written on the menu that sake stored in a bamboo may bring one good fortune and the fragrance of the bamboo makes the sake taste better.

Unfortunately, with the change in the menu with most of the items being pretty pricey, I won’t recommend coming to Sumiya.

181 Orchard Road, Orchard Central, #12-02, Singapore
6509 9618, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Sun : 12:00 – 15:00 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Mon – Sun : 18:30 – 22:30 (Dinner)
Value: 6
Service: 7