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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

Meat Heaven is Close

imageThe evening of the actual farewell party had arrived and to kick off the night we had a guys dinner before meeting up with the girls for some drinking games in Wan Chai. My mate chose the ‘Blue Butcher’ which was just a 2 minute walk away from the apartment that I had rented for the weekend.

For starters we had besides others the ‘Truffle Fries‘ that were actually made with real truffles rather than truffle oil and tasted great and crisp.

imageAnother one was the ‘Bone Marrow‘ that came together with delicious crusty toasted bread, some arugula with caper berries and sea salt. Putting all ingredients together this became a delicious combination of flavors.

imageThen we had the ‘Compressed Organic Tomato with Burrata‘ which consisted of green and red tomatos that were skinned and glazed with a light tasteless oil as well as a knot of burrata cheese. The cheese was light with only a very little creamy center which I liked but real burrata fanatics might feel let down by. The tomatoes on the other side were refreshingly cool and had a clean tomato-y taste with a nice texture. This was pretty okay but still kinda just tomatoes.

As mains we ordered the ‘Australian Wagyu Bone in Ribeye‘ 32 ounces rare and the ‘Free Range Charred French Chicken‘. The steak was absolutely amazing in quality and taste. It had a strong char on the outside so the fat had melted and the inside was wonderful red and moist with a lovely marbling and a good fatty flavor mixing with the beef aroma. Brilliant. The chicken came accompanied by some crunchy caramelized carrots and was wonderful moist and glazed with slightly sweetish sauce. Tasty stuff.

The ‘Blue Butcher’ is a stylish and modern place that sure comes with a price tag but therefore you’ll get a great ambience and some amazing food. Nothing for every day dining but definitely a place for a special night. Pretty good.

The Blue Butcher
108 Hollywood Road
Central
Hong Kong
Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China
Tel: +852 2613 9286
http://www.bluebutcher.com/

Homecook Style Omakase!

imageAfter returning from our short trip I had planned a treat for my visitors by booking a table at one of my favorite special occasions Japanese restaurant, ‘Nagomi’ at Cuppage Plaza. It’s difficult to tell if you’re at the right place until you stick your head through the noren at the entrance and realize you just found a little piece of Japan in the middle of Singapore. ‘Nagomi’ is very small with only four tables and a bar and had a traditional yet modern Japanese interior. Light is dimmed and urn like pottery filled with aging ‘Shochu‘ of regular customers is covering the shelves. They import their ingredients directly from Japan and change their a la carte menu very regularly depending on what’s in season and currently available. Since this is only available in Japanese we decided for the eight course ‘Omakase‘ (chef’s menu).

My friends started up with some massive oysters which they said to be fresh and tasty. I can’t eat them cause first I don’t really like them and second the consistency grosses me out. Chef Nada Satoru always asks what you don’t eat before he starts preparing the first course and so my oyster substitute today was a Japanese tomato. I know, just a tomato, but always having these red tasteless water balls you get in the supermarket, this one was pure and intense tomato taste. And yet again “Simplicity.”

The second course was a fabulous sashimi platter with ‘Uni‘ (sea urchin), ‘Hotate‘ (scallop), ‘Maguro‘ or ‘Toro‘ (tuna/tuna belly) – I didn’t ask but it was definitely a fattier piece – as well as three other fishes I forgot the names but each one of them was super fresh and had a soft texture which I prefer so much to tough bites.

imageI asked at the beginning if they had their amazing ‘Slow Braised Pork Belly‘ and was rather disappointed when I heard it was not on the menu but only until I found out what took it’s place: ‘King Crab‘. This portion was humongous and the flesh was so sweet and needed nothing more to it to make it truly amazing.

imageNext up were two whole ‘Kinki‘ fish in a light and superior broth. The fillets fell off the bones and were nice and soft. There weren’t too many bones in it but the few were tiny dangerous and difficult to separate from the fish once in your mouth. We continued with big fried ‘Deepwater Fish‘ (similar to sardines) which, except the heads, were still completely intact and covered in a nice Japanese batter   with dipping salt aside. Once I got over the thought that the first bite included the tiny innards of the fish, it tasted delicious and was  nicely juicy.

imageFollowing the fish we did get ‘Grilled Wagyu Beef‘ together with a sweet dipping sauce and wrapping lettuce drizzled with a wafu vinaigrette. It tasted great but the meat had some thin tough parts which made it difficult to bite pieces off. The seventh course was ‘Japanese Porridge‘ which tasted nicely simple but delicate and was nearly a bit too much after all the other dishes. We took a bit of a break before closing our menu with some lovely sweet ‘Japanese Strawberries’. 

Of course this is not a place for everyday dining, mainly because of the over one hundred dollars per head (not including drinks), but for special occasions or if you just want to take your time (around 2 hours++) and celebrate great quality food, this is the place. Domo Arigato Gozaimas.

Nagomi Restaurant
5 Koek Road
#02-22 Cuppage Plaza
Singapore 228796
Tel: +65 6732 4300
http://www.nagomirestaurant.com.sg/