2 years ago, Rakuzen at Millenia Walk was where I met other fellow food bloggers for the first time. I remember liking the food but somehow, I didn’t go back again. Fast forward 2 years, if not for an invitation to lunch at the new branch in the heart of Tampines, I wouldn’t have “rekindled” my relationship with Rakuzen!
As you can see from the photos, the restaurant is very bright and spacious, suitable for both corporate and family dining. Browsing through the menu, I spotted some familiar items and best of all, the prices are still as wallet-friendly as before!
My first starter, grilled corn with butter ($5++), arrived sizzling at the table. This may be a simple dish, but watching the butter melt, caramelise and coat each kernel of corn heightens the anticipation before eating! The corn is imported from Japan so you can be assured that it’s gonna be sweet.
The himatsubishi ($5++) or fried burdock makes a really addictive snack. My mom cooks burdock regularly at home so I know how difficult it is to cut the woody and hard root into smaller pieces. Kudos to the chef who’s able to slice it so thinly! The julienned root vegetables are coated with potato floor, then deep-fried until golden and crispy.
Fugu mirin boshi (dried puffer fish) I’ve had plenty before, but ehire or grilled stingray fin ($8++) is a first for me! Love the cuttlefish-like texture and how sweet and savoury this is. Another great appetiser before the mains arrive!
Most people I know are not a fan of mackerel because of its distinctive strong fishy flavour. Give mame aji tsumami ($8++) a try if you fall into that category too! Served with a wedge of lemon, these deep-fried small horse mackerels are well-seasoned and wonderfully meaty. Just pop the whole mini fish in, bones included!
The sushiya salad ($8++ small, $15++ large) with generous chunks of fresh scallop, salmon and tuna sashimi can be a meal in itself for the ladies who diet. There’s 3 types of sauces to choose from: Rakuzen special (I honestly don’t know what’s that), sesame and wafu. The biased me will tell you to go for the sesame dressing! Absolutely delish.
A key highlight of Rakuzen’s new menu is the special broiled section which features a selection of items that are blow-torched at the table to give the dish a distinctive charred flavour.
And it’s such an awesome visual gimmick! I love it.
A must-try is the fire mackerel ($16++), the signature item! The saba fish is marinated for at least 2 hours with rice wine vinegar and wrapped in konbu before being torched at the table. It’s so tangy and appetising, I can finish the whole thing by myself!
My favourite dish of the day? Hands down, the moeyo unagi roll ($18++)! So fatty and soft, this is one dish I’ll keep going back for.
After tasting so many fantastic okonomiyaki in Osaka, I have to say that Rakuzen’s homemade rendition ($10++) didn’t impress me. The whole pancake came across as too soft without a crisp exterior.
Out of the 4 sushi I tried, only the aburi toro was love. It melted in my mouth! Thin cut with a lot of rice as fillers, the rest (i.e. salmon, roe and sea bass) was pretty forgettable. I’m still missing the sushi I had in Tokyo earlier this month, ahhh.
Like most Japanese restaurants in Singapore, the dessert section is secondary and rather limited. Ice cream seems to be the best bet as Rakuzen brings them in from Japan.
Black sesame and yuzu ice cream.. Always a pleasure!
Many thanks to Noelle from Sixth Sense Consultancy for the kind invitation, and Shauna for hosting lunch!
300 Tampines Avenue 5
#01-01 NTUC Income Building
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