The minute you step into a Japanese restaurant, you are most likely be greeted with or get startled by a chorus of “irrashaimase” which loosely translates to “welcome” by the staff.
Japanese cuisine is one of my favourite food in the world. The exacting standard that goes into the preparation and presentation of Japanese food, especially if you had seen Jiro Dreams of Sushi, is undeniably an art that literally takes years to master. While the meal I had was not prepared by a shokunin (a skilled craftsman, someone who does the same exact thing every day to the highest possible level in the never-ending pursuit of perfection), they were good value for money.
The last time I had my meal here was on Mother’s Day 2012. En Japanese Dining Bar, specialises in Okinawa cuisine. Their menu is, therefore, composed of authentic ingredients from Okinawa itself. En Japanese Dining Bar builds upon the concept of modern Japanese dining bars known affectionately to the locals as ‘Izakaya’, which is extremely popular among the cosmopolitan crowd in Japan. The one I visited is located in Bukit Timah Road, Singapore. Its sushi counter, a long bar table that seats 7 guests comfortably, also doubles up as a sake bar. There are three private tatami rooms tucked away in a quiet corner for utmost privacy. Fitted with sliding ‘Fusuma’ styled doors, it opens up to an intimate space equipped with audio and visual facilities. This time round, I chose to sit outside so I could take photos of my food without disturbing the other diners.
I went there with Jerry, my friend of a quarter century, lol… now you know I’m a dinosaur, too! We ordered the Beef Shabu Shabu & Ala Carte Buffet, requesting that the steamboat be served last.
After about 10 months, I am eager to dig in and rate the food! There’s the appetizers, salads, deep-fried dishes, grilled dishes, sahimi, sushi, maki, temaki, rice, noodle, dessert and of course the Okinawa cuisine and soba! Their menu is so extensive I wish I had an extra stomach. On hindsight, I deeply regretted forgetting to order their wafu steak!
|En Japanese Dining Bar at Bukit Timah Road.|
|This time round I chose to sit outside, al fresco style, instead of the sushi bar, which is my usual and favourite seating at a Japanese restaurant.|
|I can’t really make up my mind if this is sencha, matcha or just another form of Japanese ryokucha.|
|Jerry requested Edamame – a preparation of immature soybean pods boiled or steamed with salt. Here, the edamame is ever so slightly salted, if any, and slightly undercooked for my liking.|
|Next came the seafood salad which had some assorted fresh sashimi fish. I would be very pleased if there were some octopus bits in it to create more texture on the palate.|
|Since there were only two of us, we’ve ordered more appetizers than mains.|
|Pitan Tofu was served cold with some minced century egg white or egg black? What do you call the cooked albumen of a century egg?|
|Assorted Sashimi - Hamachi (yellowtail tuna), Mekajiki (swordfish), Sake (salmon), Maguro (tuna) and one more fish which I do not know the name.|
|Besides acting as a flavour, the reputed motivation for serving wasabi, Japanese horseradish root, with sashimi or sushi is the killing of harmful bacteria and parasites that could be present in the raw seafood.|
|Japanese Gyōza - I would gladly trade this for wafu steak. Remind next time but Jerry wanted this, so…|
|Shiitake mushrooms – tasted woody and a tad dry since they were grilled.|
|Kaki furai – as you may have guessed is oyster fry! With furai being the phonetical sound of fry in Japanese.|
|Yakitori or Robatayaki?|
|Tsukune pork meatballs.|
|We ate like there's no tomorrow!|
|Not a chance, Jerry!|
|Vegetables that goes well with shabu shabu.|
|Tada... beef and vegetables shabu shabu.|
|Do not over cook the beef.|
|Just a few swishes are all it takes.|
|There you go to the dipping sauce.|
|With their version of mui choy, this Japanese garlic fried rice is uniquely fragrant!|
|Matcha ice cream to sweeten the deal.|
We were full but we were not giving up. We just had to try their garlic fried rice. Everywhere else, all you get is garlic and egg fried with the Japanese short grains but here, the rice has more details. There were some bits of preserved vegetables not unlike the Chinese mui choy. I find it rather unique. The rice is definitely worth the struggle to stay on our gastronomic endeavour, the other dishes that we have not ordered today will have to wait. It would be very bad if my jeans’ button popped out and sent Jerry a blackeye :p
Jerry’s rating (out of 10)
food 6.5 to 7
value for money 8
I thought his rating for the food was a bit low but then again he may have more sophisticated tastebuds. As for me, this won’t be the last trip here.
En Japanese Dining Bar
River Valley Outlet
+65 6735 2212
Daily from 6pm to 8pm Enjoy 50% off Sushi and Sashimi.
Enjoy 30% off selected drinks.
SUPER SUPPER DEAL
@ RIVER VALLEY OUTLET
Fri, Sat & Eve of PH 12am to 2.20am
Enjoy 50% off rice and noodles dishes and 30% off selected drinks
En Japanese Dining Bar
Bukit Timah Outlet
+65 6468 5710
$48++ /pax (Mon to Thu)
$52++ / pax (Fri, Sat, Sun, PH,PH Eve)
Lunch $48++ /pax (Sat, Sun, PH only)
$18++ /pax (6 years old to 12 years old)
Ala Carte Buffet featuring Sushi, Sashimi, Okinawa Cuisine, Hot Pot & MORE!
*Top up $35 per person to enjoy a 2 hour free flow (Selected Alcohol, soft drinks & juices)
Infomation of the operating hours and promotions subject to change without notice. Please do your due deligence.
Wishing all a meaningful Good Friday & Happy Easter in advance!