Japan Rail Café (JR Café)
Opened by East Japan Railway Company, the biggest railway operator in Japan, JR Café is a one-stop-shop for food, retail therapy and JR train passes. Food products and knick-knacks are brought in from Japan and experienced Japanese communicators are on hand to assist you with your train passes. On the menu are offerings such as watashino curry rice (deep-fried breaded chicken katsu with flavoursome Japanese curry) and kuromitsu kinako latté (smooth creamy latté with black sugar syrup and roasted soybean flour). Do keep a lookout for their events: a different Japanese region is featured every month. There are also workshops (e.g. sushi making) held at the café.
#01-19/20, Tanjong Pagar Centre, 5 Wallich Street. www.japanrailcafe.com.sg
These delightful Hattendo cream buns (read: not cream puffs) hail from Hiroshima, Japan, and are the result of repeated trials of thousands of recipes. Freshly baked in-house every day, the soft and pillowy bread buns are filled with smooth, luscious cream. There are five flavours: custard, nama cream, chocolate (dark chocolate is used), Matcha and akuzi beans (Hokkaido-grown akuzi red beans) – and they are best served cold. The classic custard bun, with its silky custard of milk and eggs, is the best seller so far, but we reckon the matcha, flavoured with green tea powder from Fukuoka, which lends a light fragrance and mild bitterness of green tea to the cream, may soon catch up. The shop has a small seating area and also serves soup and salad. The coffee here is an exclusive blend created by Itsuki Coffee, a specialty coffee shop on Miyajima island, Hiroshima Prefecture, and pairs well with the buns. 01-05, Tanjong Pagar Centre, 7 Wallich Street. hattendo.jp/en
The sister restaurant to Maguro-Donya Miura-Misaki-Kou Sushi & Dining (Maguro-Donya) at Eat At Seven, Suntec City, this place has 18 varieties of donburi (rice bowls) on the menu as well as some a la carte items, such as sashimi. Run by Misaki Megumi Suisan, a wholesaler of maguro and sashimi in Japan, the restaurant is able to gain access to swimmingly fresh fish while maintaining competitive pricing. Only meat from blue-fin tuna is used here; each tuna weighs a minimum of 280kg. 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.
#01-04, Tanjong Pagar Centre, 7 Wallich Street. Tel: 6386 8561. www.facebook.com/KUROMAGUROMD
Blue Lotus Chinese Grill House & Bar
The new Blue Lotus will be opening in July. The restaurant will roll out its signature chilli pomelo crab – but in the form of crab claw la mian. Look out too for the DIY hot stone pork lard truffle rice. “To me, it’s simple food interpreted in a refined way,” says owner Ricky Ng, adding that this is his philosophy of new age Chinese cuisine. Unit 01-13. www.bluelotus.com.sg
This patisserie from Japan most well-known for its crepe suzette opened up a new café in Tanjong Pagar Centre – at the same level as the MRT station. Tuck into the fluffy strawberry short cake or luscious mille crepes aux fruits with a cup of tea, or buy pretty boxes of financiers and madeleines as gifts. Unit B2-15