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Yakiniku

Premium Wagyu cuts at Boat Quay.

imageI was very happy to receive the invitation to a food tasting from the people behind new ‘Arashi Yakiniku’ 嵐 down at Boat Quay and so made my way down there today directly after work. It is nestled in between the shophouse pubs and restaurants along the riverside, offering in- as well as outdoor seating for a more scenic setting. We were greeted warmly by the staff and shortly after food started flowing to our table.

The menu started up with their ‘Wakame Miso Soup‘ (わかめ味噌汁) which had a light delicate broth with some soft tofu bits and seaweed floating around in it. This proofed to be a great palette cleanser throughout the whole meal as well which was perfect to slurp on between the different meats. We also had the ‘Namuru‘, a selection of small vegetable starters like pickled crunchy bean sprouts, squeaky spinach and shimeji mushrooms.

imageNow it was time for the main act and the starting round was a selection of Australian Wagyu cuts (オーストラリア和牛). First we had the ‘Beef Tongue‘ (中落ちカルビ) and I didn’t really know what to expect as I had never tried this before and to be honest tongue also never sounded too appealing to me. To my surprise it was actually super nice to eat and pretty delicious. It tasted much more delicate than I had expected, with a solid and strong beef flavour, fire kissed crisp on the edges but still lovely chewy and firm. Together with the dipping salt and freshly squeezed lemon this was a lot of fun to eat and one of my favourite and most surprising dishes of the entire dinner.

imageAfter this promising start we continued with more premium cuts – ‘Sirloin‘ (サーロイン) and ‘Ribeye‘ (リブアイ). The sirloin was nicely marbled causing the meat to be wonderfully soft and just melting away in my mouth. The ribeye on the other side had a great charr and a much more robust texture and flavour to it, while still being perfectly tender. Alongside these meats they served their special ‘Arashi Sauce‘ which was refreshingly sweetish and spicy. I couldn’t figure out where the heat was coming from and the chef keeps the recipe very close to his chest so I had to enjoy it unknowingly the ingredients. Normally I wouldn’t touch sauce with these kind of special meats but this was just too good to ignore so I gave it a fifty-fifty dipping ratio. We also had some veggies to go with it all – shitake, leek, pumpkin and asparagus – which  even though nothing overly exciting worked nicely together with the other, sesame vinegar sauce and added some nice texture and taste diversion to the meal.

imageLast of the “aussis” was the ‘Harami/Outskirt‘ (牛ヒレ) that had hardly any marbling and therefore was of much darker colour. The flavour had a more solid taste, down to earth, genuine beef, more rustic and familiar, which was a great alternative in between the other more posh cuts.

imageThis all has been pretty great already but then the chef did send us some platters of their A4 grade Japanese Ohmi Wagyu (日本のウ牛(和牛)) which gave us a second upwind and excitement. The ‘Karubi/Short Rib‘ (カルビ) had a light taste with a certain nuttiness to it. It was delicious, just the thick streak of fat could have been a bit thinner for my liking but gave it all an interesting chunky texture.

imageNext we got to make the direct comparison between the Australian and the Japanese version as the  A4 ‘Sirloin‘ (サーロイン) and ‘Ribeye‘ (リブアイ) came out to our table. The sirloin was the peak of indulgence, so rich and marbly that I reckoned it was best to be consumed in small portions, not to be too overwhelming. Crazy good.

imageEven though I didn’t think it could have gotten much better the ribeye surely proofed me wrong and became my unrivalled winner of the evening. Still madly rich like meaty butter this cut was perfectly separated into three different sections of goodness – from a darker, meatier and deeply beefy tasting piece, over the thick middle section of a pure melt-in-your-mouth streak of fat onto the thickly marbled end piece. Outstanding.

imageAll those premium cuts of beef were accompanied by their simple but delicious ‘Garlic Fried Rice/ Ninniku Chahan‘ (にんにくチャーハン). Unfortunately not using the typical Japanese sticky and roundish grains, the rice still had a great bite to it, fragrant and loaded with heaps of fried garlic without being overly oily. Simple and savory comfort food.

‘Arashi’ is a casual place with a minimalistic interior that offers high quality food to moderate prices. We really enjoyed the Australian as well as the A4 Japanese beef cuts a lot and if wished they also can hook you up with highest grade A5 Wagyu, subject to availability and pre-order. A special thanks goes to Roysten for the kind invitation and hospitality and Nikki who helped us grilling our meats so perfectly. Best of success and thanks for a great night of indulgence. I’ll come back.

Arashi Yakiniku Charcoal Grill Restaurant 嵐
No.48 Boat Quay
Singapore 049837
Tel: +65 6535 2841

I love Meaty-Thursdays.

imageMy good friend was about to move to Hong Kong and so I met her for some last minute yakiniku dinner at ‘Ito-Kacho’ at the Mandarin Gallery, a place is setup minimalistic somewhere between casual and elegant.

We felt a bit fancy so we ordered the large version of their premium cuts ‘Matsu Set‘ consisting of several different Wagyu and US breed cuts. Pretty much all of the meat was fantastic but my absolute favourite was the wonderfully marbled, buttery ‘Wagyu Toku-Jo-Bara‘. It had a light rose color and melted like ice cream, no teeth needed. The second best, even though slightly tougher than the rest but therefore with a strong beef and wine marinade flavour was the ‘Tsubo-Zuke Karubi‘ (US) short rib. Sideways we had the ‘Dashimaki Tamago‘ (Japanese omelette) which was also good and the ‘Kimchi-Moriawase‘ which I loved aside the otherwise mainly carnivory dinner.

This wasn’t too cheap at S$249 for the beef set only but then, we had a massive 780g of beautiful meats which was a very nice treat for a special occasion like this. I have more yakiniku places lined up to try out but this one is surely one to return to.

Ito-Kacho Yakiniku
333A Orchard Road
#04-08/09/10 Mandarin Gallery
Singapore 238897
Tel: +65 6836 0111
http://www.itokacho.com.sg/

Truffle Shuffle!

imageMy two new friends’ that I got to know through my family had there final night in Singapore tonight so I went down to their hotel at Robertson Quay to have one last dinner with them. We walked around for a bit screening for something tempting to sit down. So we passed the Japanese BBQ branch of ‘Aburiya’ and quickly agreed that this was the one.

We started up our meal with the ‘Horenso Salad‘ which is put together from spinach leaves, Japanese cucumber, roasted garlic, lemon juice and crispy bacon bits. How great was that, nice and sour with crunchy textures in between from the bacon and garlic. The first meat that arrived together with the ‘Stuffed Shitake Mushrooms‘ was ‘Jo Rosu T.Shio‘, beef loin to be dipped in truffle salt. This was amazing. The meat was super tender, very lean but therefore less strong in taste but powdered with crazy salt it won another couple of notches in taste.

imageWe continued with ‘Wagyu Jo Karubi Tare‘ – short rib marinated in a special soya sauce mix. This was my absolute favorite of the evening as the marinade was delicious and due to the nicely marbled fat in this cut the beef just melted in my mouth. We ordered another round of this as well as an extra portion of the truffle salt from before which made it even more delicious. The final dish was ‘Tigerprawns in Hot Miso‘ marinade. The prawns were big and obviously watered properly as they were completely clean without cutting them up. They stayed nicely juicy on the fire and the marinade was mildly tangy, not hot though which was a bit of a bummer.

‘Aburiya’ is another proof that simplicity paired with high quality ingredient is a fantastic combination looking for perfection. Of course these kinda places are not for everyday dining but here you have the choice between many different meats, cuts and prices and so we ended up paying roughly 50$ per head excluding drinks which I regard reasonable for great stuff.

For more pictures check out my twitter (#aburiya).

Aburiya                                                                                                                                                                    60 Robertson Quay                                                                                                                                             #01-03 The Quayside                                                                                                                             Singapore 238252