Monday, February 23, 2015

Fabbrica at Bussorah Street

Its not often I feature pizza, but I recently went for a tasting at this interesting place in the Arab Street area, and I felt I needed to write about.

The restaurant is tucked in the middle of an area somewhat specializing in Middle Eastern cuisine...Lebanese, Arabian, Malay, et al. But this brilliant place, which serves a wonderful selection of craft beer is rather interesting. The chef is Matteo Boifava, with over 18 years in the kitchens of many restaurants in the world, including  Heston Blumenthal's 3 Michelin starred The Fat Duck.

We started on the table with a soup. The Tortellini in Bordo



The soup was a revelation. The tortellini was made with a mix of pork and beef, and was delectable. The skin of the tortellini was thin, light, and the meaty filling was very nice. The broth, which is made from house made chicken stock is magnificent. Very nice, shiok.

Next, the Primi Piatti of fregola with seafood, bottarga and zucchini. 



Fregola is not a common pasta in Singapore. It is a kind of cous cous, made from semolina dough rolled in small balls and toasted. Quite typical in Sardinia, I was told. The texture was nice and el dente, firm to the bite, with some springiness. The seafood broth was rather strong and nice. With prawns, squid, scallops. 

Next the pizzas...these were cooked in a wood fired oven, and made Sardinia style, with a thick, soft dough, which rose to be rather fluffy and crisp on the outside. 

The house pizza: Pizza Fabbrica is a vegetarian option which features pumpkin cream, fior de latte, broccoli, and sun dried tomatoes


The taste was very good. The pizza dough was nice, fluffy but with a consistency which is rather springy. The pumpkin cream was magnificent. And provided with excellent counterpoint by the tart sweetness of the sun dried tomatoes and smooth, cream. Very good. Two thumbs up for this pizza.

But the other two pizzas we tasted was not to be shamed. The Pancetta fungi caprino e scalogno was next


Same dough, so same excellence. The toppings were the fior de latte, and a rather magnificent pancetta. Savoury, and beautiful flavours which blend well with the mushroom, scallions and oh, so wonderful goat cheese. Another winning dish.

And finally black truffles on a pizza...somebody's gotta do it


And am I glad I found it here. The delicate and yet unmistakable flavour of black truffle wafted through the restaurant as this was being served. Again, same pizza base, magnificent as with the others, with fior de latte, porcinni mushrooms, scamorza cheese and freshly shaved truffle. Very good.

For desserts, a special dish. Instead of a traditional tiramisu, Fabbrica presented us with the Birramisu...


Made from Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout instead of coffee, the dessert was interesting. The stout was brewed using espresso beans so the flavours carried through as rather robust notes I must add. And the entire concoction was masterfully made, such that it was sweet but not too sweet, and very pleasant. 


Rather interesting...first time I have come across stout brewed from coffee beans.

Overall, a wonderful place to dine in. With great food, and a variety of craft beers to accompany. Recommended.

Pizza Fabbrica
69/70 Bussorah Street
S 199482
tel: 62910434




Monday, February 2, 2015

Onya Sayang: Peranakan food in Paya Lebar

I have written about Dulu Kala, a Peranakan restaurant started by the grandmother and parents of Zan Ho. And since then, Zan has become a chef of his own reckoning, and opened updated versions of Dulu Kala, which he calls O'nya Sayang.

I was invited for a tasting at their newest outlet in Paya Lebar Square.

We started off with the interesting dish, totally tradition based, but updated. The Ayam Buah Keluak Fried Rice


Interesting take. Stir fried rice, seen in the background with keluak filling, onions and chillis. Very fragrant fried rice.And a bowl of chicken with buah keluak. The rempah (spices) are made from scratch, and like most peranakan recipes are from secrets only known to family. 


Next up, we had a kind of seafood with rice, topped with a fried egg


I found the gravy, made from house made spices to be very nice, the dish was let down by slightly less than fresh fish and prawns which, though were sweet and rather tasty, was a bit mushy within the shell. 

Another innovative dish is their lorbak noodles


In our family, we would have called the braised pork Tauyu Bak, though Lor Bak is still a descriptive name. The pork belly is braised in a black sauce with house spices till tender. A boiled egg is added to the braise and absorbs the braising liquid, and the dish is poured over the noodles. Interesting, and perhaps totally untraditional. But I found it to be very savoury and nice. Good touch!

Bakwan Kepeting (pork balls in a soup with bamboo shoots) is a typical Peranakan dish


In this instance, the interpretation is truly traditional, and wonderfully so. The bakwan was superb. The texture - bouncy, springy, crunchy to the bite but still tender and juicy. The soup was nourishing, and very nice.

I have mixed feelings with Babi Pongteh, another classical Peranakan Dish



The pork was very tender, the spices quite interesting, but this was not my idea of a babi pongteh. Perhaps my family recipe is not similar...but the main elements - pork belly, potato, a thick mildly spicy braise. This version is still rather delicious, no doubt. And quite satisfying.


Their otak dish I truly loved. Served with a small portion of sambal kangkong, it was quite nice. Again, not in the traditional style I am accustomed to, as in our family, otak is steamed in banana leaf. This was, to me, perhaps a more Melakan styled dish. The otak was grilled. But I must say, it ramains very nice on the palate. Good chunks of fish with nice springy filler. Tasty.

But the desserts blew me away. One of my favourites, sago gula melaka:


Truly superb. Worth the trip just to eat this. The sago was cooked just right, with the a touch of very creamy coconut milk and a generous portion of gula melaka. A scoop of coconut ice cream crowned this magnificent dessert. The coconut ice cream was exactly as the name suggests. It tasted of a creamy iced santan. The gula melaka was special. Very fragrant, coying sweet, and luxurious mouthfeel. Fantastic! I enquired, and Zan told me that the gula melaka was sourced from Surabaya, where the quality is even higher than in Melaka. 

The same coconut ice cream, which is sourced from a manufacturer in Thailand, is used in the chendol, which is also a winner in my view


This reminded me of the version by Mei Heong Yuan, where shaved ice, made from coconut milk is dished out on top of chendol, attap steeds, red kidney beand, piled high. There, the gula melaka is served on the side, where one can drizzle to one's heart's content. Here the base of this dish is the same coconut ice cream as in the sago gula melaka, and the same superb gula melaka. With the traditional chendol ingredients. Quite superb.

I found the dishes in O'nya Sayang to be very homey feeling, with a somewhat traditional taste. One which does not totally agree with my family's Peranakan family's recipes. But the nature of Peranakan cuisine is such. Each family has its own secret recipes, and often times, these are not even shared with other members of the family, only to be handed down from mother to daughter and sometimes son.  

The packaging at O'nya Sayang into individual meals is very innovative. The traditional Peranakan meal is taken on a Tok Panjang (long table), where the dishes are shared by all. Very traditional families eat in shifts...the men in first shift, then the children, then the ladies and finally the servants. But the offering of individually sized, balanced meal portions is very nice. 

And as mentioned, the desserts, a twist to Peranakan tradition, are divine. Highly recommended.


O'nya Sayang @ Paya lebar square
60 Paya Lebar Rd, Paya Lebar Square, #B1-30/31,
Singapore, S409051
Tel: 67838140
Fax: 66848168

Monday, January 19, 2015

Forest Restaurant: Chinese New Year Menu at Resorts World Sentosa

Chef Sam Leong is one of the most celebrated local chefs around. Always known for innovative use of ingredients and beautiful plating of Chinese dishes, he set up his own restaurant in Equarius Hotel in Resorts World Sentosa.

I was invited for a tasting of the new Chinese New Year menu. And typical of Chef Sam's meals, it is themed...this tasting seemed to be around the coconut.

We started with the Four Treasures Soup


Zoom in, the soup looks coyingly sumptious. 



The superior chicken stock is used to braise the fish maw, sea cucumber, crab meat, Hokkaido dried scallop and served in a young coconut. The taste is mild, allowing the ingredients to shine, and shine they did. Very delicious tasting, thick, filling and satisfying soup, with a light hint of the young coconut.

Next Boston Lobster


Fresh Boston lobster, wok fried with green chive juice and fresh lily bulb. Magnificent. The lobster meat was tender, sweet, and the done-ness just right to be slightly crunchy. The lily bulbs provide a more hearty crunch, as did the vermicelli bed the concoction lies on. Delicious!

Next, a slightly western twist, Sakura chicken roll


Again, using the superior chicken stock as a base, the Sakura chicken is tolled up with dried oyster and black moss and served with yam puree. I found the chicken to be delectable, with a very light, mild chicken flavour...mind you, not the offensive type found in frozen chicken, but a delightfully beautiful aromatic chicken flavour which permeated and harmonized with the black moss and dried oyster. A sprig of asparagus provides an able counterpoint. 

And for desserts, chilled coconut jello


Home made coconut juice jello, served with aloe vera and sea coconut topped with popping candy. Magnificent. The jello was incredibly smooth and supple, and had a light taste of young coconut, and went superbly with the sea coconut and aloe vera. The popping candy providing some fireworks...wonderful way to end a meal.

Truly superb cuisine, And I have to take my hat off to Chef Sam Leong for creating such magnificent dishes.


Forest Restaurant
Resorts World Sentosa
Phone:6577 7788









Thursday, January 15, 2015

Feng Shui Inn: Chinese New Year menu at Resorts World Sentosa

Feng Shui Inn is one of interesting Cantonese restaurants in Singapore. Situated within Crockford's Tower in Resorts World Sentosa, it offers a nice escape for a delicious meal.

I was recently invited to taste the Chinese New Year menu.

Available form 4 Feb to 5 Mar, the special prosperity menu is rather interesting. First off, is the Lo Hei. A tradition these days in Chinese New Year festivities in Singapore, this is not usually a dish I am particularly fond of. But when the dish was served, it was extremely interesting. The chef has taken great pains in ingredient selection as well as in the presentation:


The plate is beautifully decorated with goat motifs, using the ingredients. Which are rather interesting as well. Wild morel mushrooms, I understand from Switzerland to provide an earthy, wild flavour, the texture of the morel is reminiscent of the goat's stomach. And the use of Japanese Flying Fish roe to provide the crunch. I found it also innovative and delicious to use deep fried, crispy fish skin as part of the crackling in addition to the traditional fritters and the chef's home made honey coated cornflakes. 

Tastewise, after the messy tossing which is de rigeur, it is rather light, allowing the ingredients to shine rather than being overpowered by the sauce. Rather nice. 

We next tasted the Double Boiled Pacific Pearl Clams with black fungus


The chef explained that though the Pacific Pearl Clams are not particularly expensive, it is rather rare, as these are from clams bearing pearls, and only one is found in each clam. I had imagined it to be tough, chewy, but I was mistaken. The clams are very tender, almost breaking when prodded with a pair of chopsticks. The flavour is light, clean, fresh, The soup is absolutely delicious. 

Next, Braised 6 head fresh abalone with dried oyster


A single magnificent 6 head abalone. Abalones are classified by the number of heads, and by this method, the number of heads that is required to weigh 1 catty (600g) classifies the abalone. In this case, 6 head, means that 6 of these abalones, in raw, weigh 1 catty. A 2 head abalone, one of the largest I have tasted, is about 300g each. And the mini baby abalones are 12 head or even 16 head.

Here the abalone is tender, succulent, and goes superbly with the dried oyster, which also rendered very tender. The stock is superior, and bursting with umami and flavour. 

And for dessert, a twist on the traditional nian gao, or New Year Cake


Presented as a layered cake, with custard topped golden flakes. Two layers of nian gao,a nd two layers of custard cream and coconut chunks. Topped with a 24k gold leaf. Rather interesting. And in tune with the modern interpretation, is not quite as sweet as traditional nian gao. 

The chef, Li Kwok Kwong, from Hong Kong. Bravo, chef.


The restaurant is rather large, with a huge dining hall, and several private rooms. Decor is very beautiful and elegant, as befitting a top level restaurant in the Resort.



Overall, lovely, lovely meal. Very light, beautiful play of ingredients making what I feel is a nutritious and healthy meal. Nicely played. Highly recommended for your Chinese New Year festivities.

Feng Shui Inn
Resorts World Sentosa






Friday, January 9, 2015

Katsukura Shinjuku Takashimaya Times Square: best katsu ever?

I have eaten at Katsukura's branch at Shiodome for many years, in fact almost every trip to Tokyo is not complete without a meal there.

This last trip, in November 2014 was no different. As I arrived in Tokyo, I heard from the grapevine that the quality of the food in Katsukura Shiodome has fallen, but that the outlet at Times Square is still very good. So we trodded over to Shinjuku to eat our fill.



And without further ado, we ordered. Almost immediately the side dishes arrived, together with the sesame seeds in a mortar and pestel and the requisite sauces.


And also some light appetizers of tofu and simmered vegetables.

The order of rosu katsu: from the loin of the pig


As in my earlier experiences in visits to Shiodome, it was marvellous. The breaded crust was very light, crispy, and no hint of oil at all. The pork within was juicy, tasty and very tender, with a small sliver of fat which provided some oomph to the taste.

As mentioned in my earlier review, the cabbage is hand cut, and unlimited servings are offered.

We also tried the smaller cut of katsu with a prawn


Indeed, superb as well. The smaller cut of pork cutlet was a little dryer...perhaps the smaller portion tend to cook faster. And the prawn was superb. Beautifully fresh, with a hint of the sea, very sweet and very tasty.

We also added a croquette


Deep fried with the same batter, the crust was as light, crispy and ungreasy as the pork and prawn. The insides were delightfully moist. The mashed potatoes were remarkably tasty, with chunks of crab within. Excellent.

Overall, still a very enjoyable meal. And again, very highly recommended. 

Katsukura
Takashimaya Times Square 14F, 5-24-2, Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, 151-0051
(〒151-0051 東京都渋谷区千駄ヶ谷5-24-2 タカシマヤ タイムズスクエア14F)





Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Burger Barn at ARC

The onslaught of new burger places never ceases. Some are rather good, but most are just pedestrian.


One of the better ones which arrived at our shores recently is Burger Barn. From what I understand, this is not a chain store. Artisan styled, perhaps. There was a Japanese chef in attendance when I dropped in on New Year's Day. 

The decor was simple, rather western. Service was fast, and polite...its the order and pay at the cashier, go sit, and wait for your food to be served.


I ordered the Classic Burger


There was a choice of bun, I chose brioche. The bun was very soft and fluffy. A nicely fried egg sits on top a cheese layer on top of a hand made beef patty which lay on a bed of lettuce. And on top of the egg sat some thick slices of bacon. The burger was rather large and came with a big paper box of thickly sliced fries, dusted with paprika.

The patty was absolutely delicious. Slightly smokey flavour, well grilled, tender, and with an oomph of a beefy taste. The texture was that of a hand chopped beef patty, and not ground beef. The bacon was very nice, if a bit fat, like most bacon. The fries were rather standard, I figured they sliced the potato and fried it. Not processed in any other way, I suspect.

Nice burger. I really enjoyed it.

Kin ordered the grilled cheese sandwich



Rather nice too, but we have had better at Revolution Coffee. The rye bread, or what seemed to be rye, nicely toasted with melted cheese within, sits on top of the crisps. 

The servings for both the burger and the sandwich is rather large. The atmosphere was relaxed, and quiet. I would recommend it, and will be back to try out other burgers...including a Philly Cheesesteak.


Burger Barn
460 Alexandra Road, Alexandra Retail Centre (ARC), S(119963)
Singapore, Singapore
Opening Hours:
Everyday, 9am-9pm
Tel: 6273 0012

Monday, December 22, 2014

Fat Cow at Camden: new reference for beef in Singapore?

Its time for a new reference for steaks in Singapore: The Fat Cow is it! But with a twist. This is not the standard fare of US styled steak, but with a strong Japanese accent...and I don't mean only in the wagyu, but also the style.


I have eaten at The Fat Cow several times, and each time, it is fabulous. I have stopped short of recommending it before because I feel it is rather expensive, and not good value for money. But my last visit just 10 days ago changed that. They offered for dinner a S$128+++ menu, when previously they only had S$168, S$188 and above sets for dinner. 

We began with the Momotaro Sashimi Salad


Superb. the tomatoes were very fresh, with the characteristic tangy sweetness. The sauce was a very light fresh herb and ginger ponzu, and very refreshing. 

Second course was sea bream with black truffle


Called the Tai no Kuro Toryufu, it comprised of slices of braised sea bream, superb freshness, and slices of black truffle on a bed of seasoned kelp. Very light, elegant. The fish was cooked only just so, and was almost raw, but it was sashimi grade of course. The fragrance of the black truffle, though precious little was enough to lift the experience.

Third course, onsen tamago


There was a choice of 3 third courses, I selected the Onsen Tamago no Furai. The lightly cooked egg, with deep fried crispy bone marrow and dashi. The chef scores again. Every element was well considered, matched each other perfectly and tasted delicious. 

And for my main course, I had the A3 Sirloin Wagyu



As is my custom, I asked for charred on the outside, medium on the inside. Perfect. The steak was grilled over a charcoal fire. The full smoky flavour from the coals were apparent. The steak cooked exactly what I had asked for, showing mastery of the grill by the grill master. And was accompanied by a small pot of roasted ginger sauce. The meat was absolutely divine. Smooth, creamy, with a wonderful nutty flavour, and truly melt in your mouth experience. Superbly tender. Excellent plus plus flavour. Very, very good. And compliments very well with the salted roasted ginger sauce...as the steak was totally "nude", no seasoning, not even salt and pepper.

Dessert was part of the meal, but I had a simple yuzu sorbet, which was home made, and quite good, and a wonderful way to cleanse the palate.

Very good place for a meal, and certainly a new reference for steaks, even though this is in its own class of wagyu steaks. It certainly equals the experience I had in Tokyo at Gyu-An. And at S$128+++ is certainly very reasonable for the quality of the food. Very highly recommended.

  1. Fat Cow

  2. Japanese Steakhouse
  3. Address: 1 Orchard Boulevard, 248649
    Phone:6735 0308








Monday, December 8, 2014

Food Glossary at JTC Summit

It is not often one finds great food, reasonable prices and good people serving it. It should be easy, but it is not. When Good Morning Nanyang Cafe closed in Hong Lim, I was saddened...for Byron Shoh, who runs the outlet is a friend and he serves great food at reasonable prices in a convenient location.


When he re-opened with some partners, I was overjoyed...but on discovering that the new location is at JTC Summit, my joy was tempered. Its way out there in the West, nowhere near my habitual route, and opening hours of Mon-Fri 7am-4pm is also not convenient. But I always enjoy a chat with Byron, and always enjoy his food and kopi, so trotted over one weekday to sample his offerings.

Initially he had partnered with a friend, also an aquaintence of mine Jimmy Cheang to offer smoked meats, which also quite pulled on my heart strings...I always longed to re-live the smoked meats at Schwartz's in Montreal or those in the Texas towns. But when I arrived last week, they had closed the Western kitchen. Perhaps the taste of the local clientele, in a HDB area, JTC offices were not atuned towards smoked meats. The Local Kitchen seemed to be doing well, though. I sampled the Char Kway Teow and the Rendang Chicken with blue rice.

First the visually interesting rendang chicken.


Fragrant blue rice, with chicken rendang. The rendang was very fragrant, with chunks of tender well marinaded chicken within, and potato chunks. Full flavour. I found the rendang a tad too salty, but the taste was excellent and very fragrant. The blue rice, other than being a beautiful spectacle was also very fragrant


Topped with a fried egg, it was very nice. 

I also tried the char kway teow


The kway teow used is very wide, more like hor fun than kway teow. And fried very well. Wok hei is apparent, and the prawns were fresh, juicy and very tasty. A small but very important detail - the taugeh (bean sprouts) were fried just right, a tinge of wok hei, and still very crunchy.

Of course I had Byron's famous kaya toast and kopi for dessert


Hand made kaya, done by Byron himself, generously spread with slices of butter on crisp toast. Very nice. The kopi was nice and fragrant, though ultimately loses out in flavour and fragrance to the Hylam Street in ABC, was better than the fare served up at the big chain kopi joints like Ya Kun, Killeney, Toast Box and the ilk.

Highly recommended. I wish the location was more convenient, but even as it is, I will make my way to eat here frequently, I suspect.

Food Glossary
#02-01, The JTC Summit
8 Jurong Town Hall Road, Singapore 609434




Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Black Sheep Cafe: Value meals in Thomson

Chef Ratha and his Black Sheep cafe is one of the favourite places I seek out when I need a comforting, nice French meal, without having to fuss with what one usually fusses about when one goes to eat at a French restaurant.


Fuss free, just stroll in...though a reservation is recommended for dinners on Fri, Sat and eves of holidays. The menu is straightforward, simple dishes, all cooked very well. The wine list does not require one to have a degree in oenology to decipher. Again, short, to the point, all wines are well chosen and work well. No pomp. No ceremony.

I often feel the chef is reflected in his food...and Ratha is certainly like the food he cooks. This lunch I had the baked brie as a starter


Premium brie, encrusted in a pistacio crust, and baked. Accompanied by a citrus fruit salad. Nice way to start. The crust was crispy, and very nicely browned, and the brie within, though not exactly oozing out as one cuts into the cheese, is just starting to melt.

Kin had the escargot in garlic sauce


Huge escargots, sans shell, in a lot of garlic, butter...hugely unhealthy, I guess from the copious amounts of butter...but oh, so delicious. The escargots were plump, juicy. Marvellous.

For mains, Kin had the time and tested confit canard



This is one of the favourites at Black sheep. The confit is made in-house, seared till lightly crisp on the outside on order. Sitting on a apple rosti, and accompanied by a mango relish. The skin was not as crisp as the ones in France, in particular our reference confit from Chez Dumonet. But Ratha's version is very good. Very good indeed, and perhaps the best in Singapore. The skin was delicious, and under just a small sliver of fat to give oomph, and tender, moist meat within. Perhaps a tad salty...only the slightest tad so, but the salt boosts flavour. The combination of the apple rosti helps cut the grease, and the salad was fresh and nice.

I had what the menu calls Cheeky Pork


The pork cheeks were probably braised, and then fried till crisp. And served on a bed of greens and pear and an orange glaze. The skin was very crispy, flavourful. The meat within was very tender, but I found the sinews to be very apparent, and it felt a bit like pulled pork having to cut with the grain of the muscles to make bite sized morsels. Tastewise it was excellent. A slight porky flavour, but all in the proper order and proportion. 

For desserts, we had the double chocholate boudini


Double chocolate refers to the chocolate bed which the strawberries, banana and the pistachio ice cream rests on. Within the outer cake like chocolate shell, is a molten chocolate interior. Superbly gorgeous chocolate, especially for the chocoholic.

And Chef Ratha's famous soufle


Wonderful. The Kalua soufle rises to the occasion, and within the slightly elastic skin, is a superbly light, airy interior, and was wonderful with the chocolate ice cream.

Superb meal, excellent cooking, with little fuss, and very affordable as well. Highly recommended.

p.s. This is an invited review. And in the interest of full disclosure, I have know Chef Ratha for many years. And I have always enjoyed his cooking.

The Black Sheep Cafe
11 Sin Ming Rd, Thomson V, B1-30, Singapore 575629
6459 5373 (11.30a.m-10.30p.m) or 92721842
Closed Mondays





Monday, December 1, 2014

Nodaiwa in Tokyo for the best grilled eel on the planet.

First, a confession...I love unagi (grilled eel, done Japanese style). It is definitely one of my favourite dishes, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find great unagi. The great unagi restaurants in Singapore, there was one standout, but they seem to have perished to the grasp of commercial realities.


The reason is the global supply of eel is becoming scarce. Especially the high quality anguila japonica prized in Japan for unagi. As a result, unagi have become more and more expensive. And today it is almost as rare and as expensive to have a unagi meal as it is to have a wagyu steak meal.

I tried one of the oldest eel houses in Japan, Nodaiwa, which was founded in 1850, and still family owned. The main store in Minato-ku, just across the road from the famous Tokyo Tower is a transplanted old storehouse, transplanted from Takayama in the Gifu Prefecture.



Downstairs house the kitchen, and a small dining room, and upstairs some private rooms. The room we had booked had chairs instead of the normal Japanese style tatami floor seating.


As my Japanese friend knows the current owner Kanemoto-san, we managed to score a visit to the kitchen.



And saw how the eel was prepared. We did not manage to see the slaughter of the live eels, but saw how the shirayaki was prepared. The shirayaki is grilled without any sauce. The style of Nodaiwa was the Kanto style, where the unagi is first steamed, then grilled. The other major style is the Kansai style, where the unagi is not steamed but grilled directly. The skin is a bit more chewy, and the unagi is more fatty to the palate.


The eel is first pierced with thin bambo sticks as shown above. Then steamed in a large bamboo basket as seen in the photograph below:


As each order is prepared a la minute, the large steamer only had one order of eel. 

The steaming melts some of the fat, and softens the skin, and the eel is then passed to the master to grill



The hot coals quickly cook the eel, and in the shirayaki style, no sauce is added. In the kabayaki style, the eel is repeatedly dipped into a vat of kabayaki sauce, resulting in a sweetish, sometimes thick coat of sauce. Nodaiwa's unagi kabayaki, however, the sauce is never overpowering. 

Back to the dining room, the first course we were served a grilled unagi in a egg roll


The tamago dashimaki with unagi is painstaking prepared by an unagi specialist. This style of Japanese omelette is made by rolling layers of egg as it is being cooked. The taste was rather fluffy, a nice rounded egg flavour with the mild taste of the grilled unagi within. 

We tried various types of unagi.

First the shirayaki


As mentioned, this was grilled without any sauce. The texture was very tender, soft, but still a bit springy. The eel was not flaky that it fell apart with the probing of the chopsticks, but remained rather elastic. It melted totally in the mouth. On the palate, it was mild, with flavours very subtle, and was a bit dry.

We also had 3 different types of unagi on rice. First unadon, on a bowl of rice


The aromatic sauce provided a sweet, salty punch to the unagi. The sauce, grilled till almost caramalised on the unagi was still quite subtle. Unlike many other lower end unagi stalls that dot the country where the powerful kabayaki sauce tend to overpower the taste of the eel. Here it was light, providing essential support but never taking over the prima donna role left for the unagi to shine. 

The same unagi, but served on a lacquered box is known as unaju. Here is the large portion...it was quite big, with approximately 400g of eel on one single layer with hot steaming rice below:



And shine it did. The taste was really tender, soft, with a mild flavour. A slight oily mouthfeel, only the slightest hint of grease, and never too intrusive was prevalent. The meat itself was so soft and tender, but still moist was wonderful. 




The unaju above was served as a double layer. Below the first layer of unagi and rice was another layer of unagi. This provides a slightly different experience as the eel continues to subtly cooked under the rice, flavouring it as one eats. 

Certainly one of the best unagi meals I have had. The flavour and incredible texture of the eel takes center stage. Truly memorable and excellent. And very highly recommended.

Awarded a Michelin star for this outlet in Tokyo, the restaurant also have several other branches in Tokyo and one in Paris.

Many thanks to my friend M. Kondo for booking the dinner and taking us there.

Nodaiwa AZABU

1-5-4, Higashiazabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo 106, Japan
Tél : 03 3583 7852 - Fax : 03 3589 4227
http://www.nodaiwa.co.jp Japanese