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6 new unique Japanese restaurants to look out for in Singapore

From wagyu and unagi to tempura and white curry, the variety of Japanese specialities continues to satisfy diners in Singapore.

Tengawa 

Tengawa, which opened a couple of weeks ago, is the first eatery in Singapore that specialises in Hokkaido white curry. This pale, creamy curry looks very much like a cream stew, and contains a good amount of fresh milk, sans turmeric or other seasonings. The version at Tengawa is cooked using Hokkaido fresh milk and has a mild peppery flavour, a welcome change from the usual Japanese curries that lean towards the sweet side.  There are currently three main items on the menu: ebi fry, pork burger and chicken katsu. For the ebi fry, whole prawns (with heads still attached) are breaded and deep-fried till golden. The pork burger patty, with a good ratio of fat and lean meat, is juicy and the deep-fried chicken katsu is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The mains are all served with white curry, and rice from Akita, Japan. The plump, fragrant grains are cooked in small batches using Japanese rice cookers, which yields evenly cooked rice every time. They also have a truffle oil chawanmushi on the menu – the truffle scent is not overpowering, and the steamed egg is smooth and just set .

#02-16 Millenia Walk, 9 Raffles Blvd. Tel: 6265 1314. 

 

 

Black Cow 

This chic Japanese shabu shabu and sukiyaki restaurant is out to pamper Japanese wagyu lovers. Currently, Kagoshima A4 or A5 wagyu and Omi A5 wagyu are served. Matsusaka A5 and Saga A5 are available from time to time. Only prime cuts of ribeye and striploin are used for maximum deliciousness. There are two stocks available for the shabu shabu: traditional (plain water with konbu) and dashi konbu (homemade dashi with konbu), which enhances the flavours of the luscious slices of wagyu. For sukiyaki, Black Cow focuses on the Kanto (Tokyo area) style – the sukiyaki sauce (called warishita) is prepared beforehand and all ingredients are cooked at the same time. This differs from the Kansai (Osaka area) style, where meat is seared and seasoned before the sukiyaki sauce and other ingredients are added. Other signature dishes include minced wagyu beef tsukune and the truffle sukiyaki rice topped with fresh Italian shaved truffles.

#B1-20, 26 Beach Road South Beach Avenue. Tel: 6386 6720. www.facebook.com/blackcowsg

 

 

Ippoh Tempura 

Ippoh Tempura Bar by Ginza Ippoh is a casual dining concept by Osaka’s oldest premium tempura restaurant, Ippoh (established in 1850). Located at COMO Dempsey, the restaurant is designed by world-renowned Italian architect and designer, Paola Navone. There is a 12-seat tempura bar where you can watch the chef in action. Fifth-generation member of the founding family, chef Masaru Seki shares that their lightly battered Osaka-styled tempura is cooked in prime safflower oil so that the integrity of the flavours is maintained, without the greasiness that is usually associated with tempura. Besides the typical selection of prawn tempura, squid tempura and so on, creations such as fried nori topped with the richly decadent uni, caviar and wasabi are also served.

Block 17B Dempsey Road. Tel: 1800 304 3388 (local calls only). www.facebook.com/ippohsg 

 

 

Sushi Kimura

Chef Tomoo Kimura, who previously worked at well-known sushi restaurants Hashida and Sushi Ichi, makes his debut as master chef of his eponymous restaurant at Palais Renaissance. Traditional Edomae-style sushi is the main draw at this elegant 22-seater. Much effort has gone into ensuring the best seasonal ingredients and organic produce is used. Seafood is sourced from Tsukiji Market (preferably wild caught) and a special A-grade Tsuya-hime organic rice imported from a family farm in Yamagata prefecture is used for the sushi rice, which is cooked with Hokkaido spring water seasoned with organic vinegar from a boutique brewery in Kyoto. Apart from sushi, Kimura’s bakudan don (rice bowl topped with uni, ikura, and onsen egg) is another dish that has won the hearts of his regulars. Omakase is served for lunch and dinner. Sake pairings (including organic sakes) are also available upon request.

#01-07, Palais Renaissance. Tel: 6734 3520. http://www.sushikimura.com.sg/  

(RELATED: Best Dinner Experience (Non-Western): Hashida Sushi)

 

 

Kuro Maguro 

Kuro Maguro at the new Tanjong Pagar Centre is the second dining concept by Misaki Megumi Suisan, a wholesaler of maguro and sashimi in Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. The company also runs Maguro-Donya Miura-Misaki-Kou Sushi & Dining (Maguro-Donya) at Eat At Seven, Suntec City, as well as 20 restaurants in Japan. Misaki Megumi Suisan is one of the most renowned tuna and fish wholesalers in Japan. As such, they are able to ship the maguro from the trawler directly to their restaurants, keeping a high level of quality while maintaining competitive pricing. Only meat from blue-fin tuna is used here; each tuna weighs a minimum of 280kg. They have 18 varieties of donburi (rice bowls) on the menu as well as some a la carte items, such as sashimi. Highly recommended are the otoro meshi, which uses slices of wonderfully marbled fatty tuna belly, toro aburi meshi, which features flame-seared sliced tuna belly and minced tuna belly, and toro uni meshi, a classic and absolutely delicious combination of sliced fatty tuna belly, and creamy sea urchin. However, if fatty otoro is not to your liking, lean maguro and barachirashi (assorted seafood) rice bowls are also available.

#01-04, Tanjong Pagar Centre, 7 Wallich Street. Tel: 6386 8561. www.facebook.com/KUROMAGUROMD  

 

 

Man Man Japanese Unagi Restaurant 

This latest dining concept by chef Teppei Yamashita takes grilled unagi to an entirely different level. At Man Man, live eel is prepared every day and grilled over charcoal fire. If you are there early, and seated at the counter, you can see head chef Nakagawa at work, deboning and skewering the eel right in front of you. Nakagawa who is from Mikawa Isshiki in the Aichi prefecture of Japan (an area famous for unagi), has been farming and processing unagi for over 20 years, and gets the eel from wriggling to sizzling in easily under 30 seconds (the actual filleting takes him about 12 seconds). The Hitsumabushi with unagi don, stock, soup and pickles is recommended if you would like to try different ways of eating the unagi – first unagi with rice, then with sauces and freshly grated wasabi, and lastly with stock poured over. The eel, coated with a sweet-savoury sauce, is melt-in-the-mouth, and slightly charred from the charcoal fire. There is also the shirayaki version of the eel, grilled without the classic unagi sauce, and simply served with salt and freshly grated wasabi. Do note that there is almost always a queue, and it can get pretty smokey in there.

#01-01, 1 Keong Siak Road. Tel: 6222 0678

 

(RELATED: Restaurant of the Week: Yen Yakiniku on Ann Siang brings smoke-free Japanese BBQ to Singapore)

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