36hrs in Food Paradise – Hour 18, Izakaya
About halftime in food paradise and I was far from being finished yet. Today the plan was to meet my host and his colleague for some Tekka Don at Big Tuna just around the corner. We had missed the sign at the door last night though stating that the shop was gonna be closed for the holidays and so we found ourselves before closed doors and sadly also without any tuna rice bowls. His colleague, a passionate foodie himself, quickly came up with an alternative not far away from Big Tuna and this is how I ended up at Kushi-Tei of Tokyo unintentionally.
Entering the shop, a cloud of fragrant steam hit me right in the face with scents that instantly triggered memories of past trips to Japan mainly spent at random izakayas and ramen shops. The kitchen and service crew greeted us in a loud and familiar chorus and the many Japanese customers made me feel confident that this was gonna be a good choice.
Out of curiosity and for research reasons I grabbed one of their regular menus off the bar. I hadn’t even opened it yet when our waitress swiftly took it away signaling that they don’t serve food from this menu before dinner time. Being surprised but hungry I started scanning their small lunch menu with mostly little set meals and a few noodle dishes.
My choice fell on the udon with wakame, scallions and tempura crumbs. I don’t know what it is with the dashi broth that’s so particular to udon but I could soak it up by the gallon, light and defined. By the time I was finished taking my pictures the tempura had already softened but the udon still had their signature bounciness and chew, and even though I’m not huge on wakame I really liked theirs here. This dish always seems so simple and easy but it’s so much more than just a soup and hardly ever disappoints.
I truly liked it here and would have loved to experience its full smokey izakaya potential and spirit in the evening but I guess this just has to wait until next time.
Get Your Grub On!
Kushi-Tei of Tokyo
p: +49 211 360 935
We didn’t really know what to do for lunch and so when passing by the newly opened Zaffron Kitchen at Westgate we thought let’s just give it a try.
Yet another shop where you have to order your food via iPads which is still pretty alien to me, especially at places where you partially eat with your hands. I still managed to place our order only using my pinkie and soon after the first plates were coming in. The start made the Fish Tikka, which to my surprise was made of thick and juicy salmon chunks. It tasted great, less flaky than usual but also richer because of the fattier fish. I thought this was a brilliant twist to an old favorite.
We also ordered the Tandoori Malay Chicken Tikka, which was marinated in yogurt and coriander. The coriander didn’t come across very strong but it was still a darn tasty piece of chicken, rustic charred and tender.
Last but not least was a first timer for me, some Tandoori Gobi. The cauliflower was super nice, slightly spicy with a bite and together with the fresh and crunchy onions and some drizzled lemon juice a great change up to the meaty dishes.
I undoubtedly enjoyed this place a lot, so much actually that I got on my colleagues nerves, raving about it all day long. It’s setup like a modern gastro bar with simple and elegant interior in a bright and light room. Food was great too, meat, vegetables and bread, everything on spot and service was kind and fast. You’ll see me back here again soon.
3 Gateway Drive
Tel: +65 6465 9880
It’s grey at the bottom of the rainbow.
Lunchtime again and we still didn’t feel like a salad or anything else remotely light and so went back to Paradise Dynasty which I like so much nowadays. We continued sampling new Xiao Long Bao flavors from their rainbow palette and today’s choice fell on the garlic type. It didn’t look very pretty to be honest, all grey, somehow nearly metallic and also the taste wasn’t my favourite of all times. I’m generally a garlic lover and at first it even tasted interesting enough to catch my curiosity but at the second bao I was already over it. It was just too overwhelming with too many raw-ish garlic chunks in the meat mix.
As I had their awesome Spicy Dumpling Noodles already a couple of times I finally brought myself to ordering the Dan Dan Mian, that caught my attention during an earlier visit. At first it seemed a little thin and soupy but when I gave it a proper mix it got nicely thick. Noodles were, as often, too soft for my preference but the other flavors worked fairly nice together, all sesame and creamy. Overall the aroma of this thing was rather light and lacked a bit of depth but probably some fresh leafs of coriander and a couple of drops of fiery chili oil could change that for the better. Well, not an eye opener this time but still on my list of very solid lunch options.
Paradise Dynasty 乐天皇朝
3 Gateway Drive
Tel: +65 6465 9271
Se Mighty Schnitzel Lunch.
Once in a while it is time for a big ass lunch with my colleagues and having a humongous Wiener Schnitzel at the new Brotzeit at Westgate just seemed the right thing to do.
It was a truly gigantic slap of veal and even though pounded ’til super flat the meat was still juicy and with the crispy paper thin crumbs around, this thing just ruled and tasted like a bit of home. The potato salad on the side was not your commonly found weird mayonnaisy version but more the one I miss from back home, made with stock, chives and all. It was great, I wish every lunch could be like this but unfortunately that would make my waistline much fuller and my wallet way emptier so I’ll probably need to wait until it’s my next birthday or something. Schnitzel for life.
Brotzeit – German Bier Bar & Restaurant
3 Gateway Drive
Tel: +65 6465 9874
I ❤ Kassler Tuesdays.
My buddy from work ventured the internet for lunch options and found out it was “Kassler Day” at Marché today and so we didn’t have to look any further no more. I hadn’t been here for a long time as my last salad experience was both disappointing and expensive but the Kassler, being a lunch item, sounded like a good deal.
It was actually pretty great, a big fat slice of pork, with a nice smokey crust around the thick and juicy meat that was ultimately salty. Simple flavours like from home, kicked in the butt by some sharp dijon mustard that went all up in my nose. The mashed potatoes were creamy and fluffy delicious and the salad wasn’t too bad at all either but we just missed the Sauerkraut they usually offer aside of this.
Marché is nicely setup, while nothing extraordinary, it’s a bright and casual lunch bistro and other than last time the food was actually freaking delightful today. I really hope it’ll be “Kassler Day” again soon.
Marché Mövenpick Jem
50 Jurong Gateway Road
#01-03 Jem® (Jurong East Mall)
Tel: +65 6694 0884
“Light & Cheesy”.
Back here during lunch break I felt light and cheesy and hence ordered their ‘Croque Monsieur‘ for a change. Presentation was nice, two large slices of bread, baked over with loads of cheese and creatively finished with scribblings of balsamic reduction on top. The bread was a bit flappy and the ham could have been thinner sliced but the hearty saltiness of the cheese and the touch of sourness from the balsamic made this a great new lunch option to turn to.
3A International Business Park
Tel: +65 6686 3368
‘Ippudo’ 一風堂 had opened up another shop at Westgate mall and even that this was at least triple my usual lunch calorie intake I made an exception to have a taste of that new ‘Spicy Black Ramen‘ that went from seasonal to resident bowl on their menu.
This thing was simply amazing, the thick dark and rich tonkotsu broth was great by itself, spicy peppery and after mixing in what they call their special nikumiso it just got another crazy punch of heat, much more chili like this time coming from the shinzo pepper, not overbearing and still very much enjoyable. Owning up to my expectations the two extra tamago I ordered were absolutely “perfeggt”, the chashu buttery tender and the thin noodles at extra hard just as I like them. My absolute by far favorite thing in this though were the fresh leaves of cilantro, never had that before in ramen and don’t want to do without it anymore. Wow, what a great bowl? I may have found my new no#1.
Ippudio SG 一風堂
3 Gateway Drive
Tel: +65 6465 9308
Fast Food Katsu.
It was lunchtime yet again and since we liked those ‘Katsu Loins‘ from Hong Kong so much we talked a couple of colleagues into having some ‘Tonkatsu‘ at ‘Ginza Bairin’. The JCube branch was much more a fast food lunch joint than a restaurant with a cut down menu compared to the one I new from before.
I chose the ‘Rosu Katsu Don‘ which came with the leaner pork loin, not looking to appealing but I somewhat didn’t care. The fried loin was juicy and glued in between this tasty savoury mix of egg, glazed onions and sweet tonkatsu sauce. The big boo was the rice not being proper Japanese style which not only made it considerably more difficult to eat but also stole the dish it’s signature texture and taste.
I still liked this comforting stuff but maybe go checkout ‘Tonkichi’ next time instead to see if they use all the right ingredients and to get my free flow cabbage on.
Ginza Bairin 銀座梅林
2 Jurong East Central 1
Tel: +65 6684 3378