Dinner @ Yakitori UMA 焼鳥馬

November 28, 2016 in Japanese

Continuing our quest to uncover all yakitori joints in Singapore, my ‘yakitori buddy’ and I were off to check out Yakitori UMA located in Somerset. Keke.

It was a wet Tuesday evening that I arrived to an empty restaurant at 8pm. And I’ll be honest. Having reached before my friend, I did consider texting to ask for a change in our venue. But one thing that I learnt from years of checking out new eateries was that one shouldn’t make assumption of one’s upcoming meal based on first impression. While first impression is important, it can be deceiving. So, I pressed on… Haha.

I immediately noticed the interior decor of Yakitori UMA is pretty old school. Or should I better describe it as straight forward. It’s plainly done up with the counter taking centre stage. And that could be a good sign to show that their focus is on their food.

Upon seated, I was given the menu and difference sauces. And yes, I decided to go with booth seat instead of counter seat. The different sauces included mustard (karashi) and dipping sauces for breaded, deep-fried (katsu) and grilled (yaki) items. And from the menu (pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9), we ordered:-

1) Tomato, $.40 (above, left)

2) Shishito, $5.60 (above, right)

3) Waka, $4.90 (above, left) – Tender chicken.

4) Negima, $4.90 (above, right) – Chicken & spring onion.

5) Tebayaki, $5.40 (above, left) – Chicken wing.

6) Tsukune, $5.40 (above, right)

7) P-toro, $5.80 (above, left) – Pork neck.

8) Tako-yaki, $6 (above, center) – Octopus.

9) Sasami, $4.90 (above, right) – Chicken white meat.

10) Uzura, $4.90 (above, left) – Quail egg.

11) Waka-kara, $5.50 (above, right) – Chicken.

12) Fillet Cutlet, $5.80 (above)

13) Isobe-age, $5.20 (above)

14) Koonyaku, $5.20 (above) – 2 sticks of konnyaku can be too many especially since it’s an acquired taste; My friend didn’t like it. So for the same price, one may want to get the dengoku set which entitles one to 1 stick of konnyaku and 1 stick of tofu. You know… More variety too! =)

15) Udon, $6.20 (above)

Did the food match up to our expectations? A definite yes. Besides grilled items (kushiyaki), Yakitori UMA also offered deep fried items (kushikatsu / kushiage) on their menu. So when we were placing our orders, we were often in a dilemma. To order as grilled, or to order as deep fried. And we were fortunate that all our bets were right. =)

But if one is looking for a stylish restaurant, then one would be disappointed. Instead, if one is alone in town and is craving for skewered food, I would recommend coming to Yakitori UMA. As my friend and I were dining, I noticed a few number of (Japanese) businessman came in solo for a quick (dinner) fix.

Yakitori UMA 焼鳥馬
150 Orchard Road, Orchard Plaza, #01-26/27/28, Singapore
6734 8368, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Sat : 18:00 – 00:00
Ambience: 6
Value: 8
Service: 7
* Closed on Sun

Dinner @ Shunjuu Izakaya

September 13, 2016 in Japanese

It has been a while since my ‘yakitori buddy’ and I met for yakitori. The last session being in June 2015. How can! And I figured we were destined to check out yakitori joints only because we tried a non-yakitori place on our last meet up and it was my first ‘miss’. Yeps!

And with that, reservation was made at Shunjuu for a weekday evening at 7.30pm. Reservation is a must if one wishes to sit indoors as the unit could only house up to 8 groups. Else, alfresco seats were plentiful.

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

1) Otoshi, $6 (above) – My friend was almost 30 minutes late. So for this instance, the appetisers which were served once I was seated were warmly welcomed by me because it allowed the hungry me to munch on something as I triedy my best to wait patiently for my friend. Ha.

2) Pitan doufu, $4 (above) – Tofu with century egg sauce.

3) Tori kawa ninniku, $6 (2 sticks) (above) – Garlic rolled with chicken skin. My buddy refused to have more than 1 piece because he felt the garlic was too overwhelming. However, I enjoyed this very much. I liked the contrast between the crispy chicken skin and garlic which had become soft from grilling.

4) Mochi buta maki, $7 (2 sticks) (above) – Rice cake rolled with pork.

5) Enoki maki, $7 (2 sticks) (above) – Golden mushroom rolled with pork.

6) Tsukune, $6 (2 sticks) (above) – Chicken meatball.

7) Lamb yaki, $19 (2 pieces) (above) – Lamb chop.

8) Mongo ika karaage, $13 (above) – Squid. This was good! Please try. A must order.

9) Kaki omuretsu, $17 (above) – Oyster omelette. I don’t usually eat oyster cause I developed a phobia after having too much of it at an oyster buffet years back. But I was curious to try a Japanese-styled oyster omelette. And it was indeed different with it served wet. It was in fact too wet for our liking.

10) Hamachi kama, $55 (above) – Yellowtail cheek. And at 7.30pm when I was placing my order with the staff, I was told that they were left with the last piece of yellowtail cheek. Wow. And after having tried the dish, it came as no surprise why this was so popular. Meat was fresh and juicy. Totally yum.


11) Tako shio konbu cha-han, $13 (above) – Octopus and seaweed fried rice. I seriously liked this. It was very fragrant. Every grain was evenly (and sinfully) coated with… Lard? Haha. I was trying my best not to finish the entire bowl. And of course, the sight of the excess oil / lard at the bottom of the bowl deterred me from cleaning up the bowl. Ha.

And I am glad this turned out to be a ‘hit’! My buddy claimed this was better than our last yakitori session. o_O I say both are good.

Will I recommend Shunjuu? For sure! It’s a pity the skewers had to be ordered in pairs. Cause the menu was very extensive, and I wanted to try more.

So while it was difficult to get the staff’s attention as they were very busy, I was touched when a staff brought me a magazine to read when she saw I was still waiting for my friend after 10 minutes!

30 Robertson Quay, Riverside View, #01-15, Singapore
6887 3577, Website, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Sun : 12:00 – 14:30 (Lunch)
Ambience: 7
Mon – Thur : 18:00 – 23:00 (Dinner)
Value: 7
Fri – Sat : 18:00 – 23:30 (Dinner)
Service: 7
Sun : 17:30 – 22:30 (Dinner)

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