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Posts Tagged ‘Japanese’

Have you heard?

Japanese-inspired and serving an array of colourful eclairs and gourmet yogurt parfaits, Karafuru (Japanese for colourful!) is the latest to-go cafe for instagram-worthy desserts!

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There was a period of time when I was cray cray over Windowsill Pies, so imagine how happy I am to find out that Chef Michael Liu (ex-Windowsill Pies creator) is the man behind the unique, one-of-a-kind menu!

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Priced between $6 to $7, each slightly savoury choux is carefully baked before being hand-piped with smooth velvety creams. Karafuru’s eclairs are lighter, fluffier, and more dainty than its French counterparts so expectations need to be managed as some may think the flavours are muted and the pastry too soft.

Ume Shiso ($7)
umeboshi creme, shiso

Black Forest ($7)
kirshwasser creme, candied wild cherries, raspberries, dark chocolate

Marc de Champagne ($7)
marc de champagne creme, marzipan, silver leaves

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Traditional Japanese flavours get a contemporary facelift in the form of an unusual ume shiso, complete with a real shiso leaf! If you like choya, try it! Otherwise, the other “boozy” eclairs include marc de champagne, irish cream and black forest.

Matcha Azuki ($6)
matcha crème, azuki beans, matcha sables

Cafe Au Lait ($6)
milk coffee creme, marzipan, dark chocolate sables

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My personal favourites are the matcha azuki and cafe au lait, as both have strong and distinct flavours. Plus, they go well with UCC coffee (for K) and Lupicia tea (I highly recommend peach momo)!

Irish Cream ($7)
coffee whiskey creme, mascarpone chantilly, toasted almonds

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A generous swirl of freshly made yogurt soft serve sits atop a plate surrounded by a spread of moist souffle cake, wobbly pudding, Japanese dango balls and thin buttery langue de chat… That’s Karafuru’s spin on the classic Japanese parfait!

Gianduja Parfait ($16)
hazelnut souffle, chocolate pudding, hazelnut and orange crisp, dark chocolate curd, candied orange, curaçao sauce

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My heart broke when I was told that the matchazuke parfait was sold out (go early, especially on weekends!) so I settled for gianduja (chocolate will never fail) and the more interesting daizu with white miso souffle, soybean pudding and kinako sauce. I didn’t fancy every element (like those chewy dango balls) but what won my heart were the creamy soft serve, dense “souffle” (quite a misnomer) cakes and the hazelnut orange crisp! Now I can’t wait to try the matcha parfait!

Daizu ($16)
white miso souffle, soymilk pudding, kuromitsu, sesame dango, ‘rice stalks’, kinako cream

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My thanks to Joseph for the sweet treats!

Karafuru Desserts
8 Jalan Klapa
62914430

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En Japanese Dining Bar

We were a rowdy table of 16 at En Japanese Dining Bar, there to take advantage of the ongoing good deal: 50% off all sushi and sashimi from 6 to 8pm everyday! Not surprisingly, we ordered a truckload of food, from platters of assorted sashimi, sushi and temaki hand rolls to cooked food like ramen, yakitori and okonomiyaki. My favourite is kawaebi, mini river shrimps fried perfectly to a crisp that’s oh-so-addictive! Decent food aside, service was quite a let-down. Orders were either mixed up or forgotten, and staff didn’t bother to inform us when the popular salmon sashimi was sold out—while the poor friends waited in vain for their food, sigh.

En Japanese Dining Bar
207 River Valley Road
6735 2212

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Japanese Dining Sun #2

I was lured back for desserts by the seasonal Hokkaido menu (ongoing till January). Because I love pumpkin, I like the idea of a homemade pumpkin tiramisu ($6.50++). But the real thing was far from what I imagined it to be and I didn’t like it at all. Texture was coarse, flavour was so weird that I don’t know how to describe it! And the sweetness of pumpkin was sorely missing.

This is one fusion dessert gone wrong. Very wrong.

Another item on the seasonal menu: Chocolate Mill Crepe ($6.80++) which was way better than that strange tiramisu. I liked the texture of the distinct layered crepes layered with smooth chocolate cream. This wasn’t rich at all, in fact it’s rather light and easy to finish. That said, it’s nothing spectacular. Just nice in an average way.

Luckily, I can always have my must-order homemade Goma Pudding ($5.50++) to keep me happy. Seriously, I’ll never get sick of this!

Black sesame + silky tofu-like pudding = 100% Bliss

Forget the seasonal menu. Just go for the regular desserts which are a safer bet! And more satisfying too.

Read about my previous visit here!

 

Japanese Dining Sun
#02-01, Chijmes
6336 3166

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Nogawa Japanese Restaurant

Read many good reviews on Nogawa and I wanted to see whether it’s as good as it appears to be. Apparently, Chef Nogawa is one of the most (if not the most) respected Japanese chefs in Singapore. He’s like THE godfather of the sushi chefs in our dining scene. Even my all time favourite idol (MM Lee!) has eaten at his restaurant! How cool is that.

You are probably thinking that a meal here will cost a bomb. That’s probably true for dinner or if you order the premium stuff but for lunch, there are many affordable set lunches and Shake-Don ($15++) is one of them.

The flakes of cooked salmon were very moist and went well with the savoury sauce. I’m so not a fan of fish roe because it reminds me of cod liver oil (which I was forced to eat when I was a kid!) and this hasn’t changed my mind.

Go all out and get the Chirashi Sushi with Chawanmushi ($35++) which is a feast for the eyes. The chef get to decide what goes into the bowl based on the day’s freshest ingredients. So what you see here may not be what you get!

Superbly fresh sake, maguro and hamachi sashimi.

Brimming with tamago, crabstick, anago (saltwater eel), fish roe, and assorted sashimi, I love how pretty this looked!

Food aside, I want to grumble about the service. We were the only diners on a Friday afternoon so there’s really no excuse for such bad service. Or is it because we are not regulars?

The menu has no description of the various items and being the fussy eater that I am, I wanted to know what’s shown on the pictures. When asked, the waitress just nonchalantly replied “some fried stuff”. Hello? I can tell it’s fried but what is it? Chicken? Veg? What? A little initiative on her part to clarify with the chef would be much appreciated.

And that’s not all. You know I mentioned how much I hate rushing? Another waitress rudely informed us “we closed at 3pm” before stalking off. Poor friend had to finish the rest of her meal in a hurry! Can’t they tell us politely earlier since we didn’t know?

Utterly unprofessional for a restaurant of Nogawa’s standing! Food was just a notch above average so I don’t see why I had to pay for such lousy attitude when many other good Japanese restaurants abound in Singapore.

 

Nogawa Japanese Restaurant
#03-25 Concorde Hotel
6732 2911

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Botan Japanese Restaurant

I was already eyeing Botan when I was at next door neighbour Mont Calzone the other day. The lame friend made fun of its name and joked that service must be very fast since it’s “bo-tan” (“no wait” in Hokkien). While the waitresses were indeed efficient, waiting was still a must since the restaurant was absolutely packed during lunch!

At 1st sight, the Umaki Tamago ($8++) looked dry and I was ready to condemn it. But oh boy, how deceiving looks can be because this was really juicy! The tiny pieces of unagi was secondary to the sweet moist omelette yum. This is off the menu so do ask the waitress for it.

My obsession with soba is far from over! Soba & Sushi Set ($18++) seems like the best choice since I get variety in a set. Anyway, I find it hard to differentiate between the really good and average soba. As long as it’s adequately cooked and al dente, I’m happy!

I’m not a fan of sushi so you are not going to hear me raving about this.

Also included is the ubiquitous Chawanmushi which I thought was a tad too salty.

A rather skinny ebi tempura completes the set. See, quite a good assortment of food right?

There are many other bento sets on the menu such as the Tonkatsu Bento ($16++)…

… and the Salmon Fry Bento ($16++). I always think it’s a shame waste to deep-fry fresh fish but this was quite good. It had that light, golden, crispy batter and the salmon wasn’t dry at all.

Generally, the bento sets are very value for money as a set comes with sashimi, chawanmushi, simmered tofu, miso soup, rice and fruit. Phew, that’s a long mouthful! Go for dinner (less noisy) if crowds are not your thing and budget is not a consideration.

For me,  I don’t care about the noise. I just want that Umaki Tamago!

 

Botan Japanese Restaurant
36 Pekin Street
#01-01 Far East Square
6536 4404

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Akashi

I’m missing Jap Japanese food. It’s been approximately 23 days since my last Jap meal. That’s a long hiatus for me! (Thanks to a reader, I just realised that “Jap” is an ethnic slur to some. Sorry!)

A bowl of edamame was served when the waitress handed the menu to us. Because I was so hungry, I didn’t bother asking whether it’s complimentary (like bread in european restaurants) or charged (think peanuts in chinese restaurants). Eat first, ask later. And no surprise, it turned out to be the latter. Not too expensive at $2++.

I’ve got a thing for soba lately. Especially chilled green tea soba, the star of my Nigiri Chasoba Set ($16++ for lunch/$20++ for dinner). I cracked the cute little raw quail egg into the dipping sauce and was slurping away before you can say “itadakimasu” (let’s eat in Japanese)!

Maguro, sake, ebi and tamago are the selected nigiri sushi which comes with the set. The tuna was so fishy that I had to heap lots of wasabi on it to mask its strong taste. Otherwise, the rest of the sushi was pretty good.

Nabeyaki Udon ($14++ for lunch/$18++ for dinner) has a very sweet broth that’s addictive.

I don’t understand why there’s a discrepancy between lunch and dinner prices since the food quality is essentially the same. It’s like blatantly taking advantage of the 9 to 5 office workers who can only afford the time for dinner. Lucky for me I haven’t fall into that category. Yet.

I’ll only go for lunch! Never dinner.


Akashi
#B2-07/08/09 VivoCity
6376 9972

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Rakuzen

Meeting fellow food bloggers for the 1st time was akin to going on a blind date. Will there be awkward silences? What if we don’t click? Well, butterflies in the stomach begone! Because with food as the universal icebreaker, we were laughing and chatting like newfound old friends. And it was such a cool sight as 2 DSLRs and 2 compacts (all Canon supporters!) started snapping away simultaneously once the food arrived!

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The meal started off on a nice note with the fresh Sake Sashimi ($10++). Hard not to like the firm texture of the fatty salmon.

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Rolled omelettes are indispensable at any self-respecting Japanese restaurant. This rendition of Atsuyaki Tamago ($6++) was juicy enough to please.

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I like natto and I like lotus. So you would have thought I’ll be partial to the Renkon Natto ($8++) but nope, it was too salty. Though the taste of the sticky and stringy fermented soybeans was not nearly as pungent as I would have liked, the mildness made it suitable for those who are trying it for the first time.

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Supposedly one of the more popular dishes, the Spider Roll ($8++) was found wanting. Too much rice and not enough fried soft shell crab made this forgettable.

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The Stamina Roll ($14++) fared so much better! Avocado added a creamy and velvety dimension while the roasted unagi was soft and moist.

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I always save the best for last! Maguro Yukke ($18++) is something I’d order again in a heartbeat. Lush and rich avocado formed a bed for freshly chopped tuna sashimi, topped with a cute raw quail egg and sprinkled with white sesame seeds. This one definitely had both looks and substance!

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I like Rakuzen with its nice decor, soothing ambience and prompt service. Of course, the company was even better! Lunching with like-minded food bloggers was such an enjoyable affair that I want to do it again soon! Shall we?

Meet my newfound foodie friends:

Angeline and Janelle from Sistafood;

Elaine from Divine Essentials;

and Justin from j2k3blogs.

 

Rakuzen
#01-14/19 Millenia Walk
6333 1171

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