Sunday, August 10, 2008

Singapore - Izakaya Nijumaru

Eating in Japan very often is about squeezing into their Izakayas and having "little eats" with your sake, beer or shochu. These places are rarely posh and squeaky clean but full of character simply because of the characters that populate these places.. from different walks of life, usually the working class, coming in to de-stress after a hard days' work. The food therefore is more hearty than refined cuisine.

Tucked into a corner on the 2nd storey of Cuppage Plaza, the Izakaya Nijumaru attempts to bring this slice of Japan to the Japanese workabees of Singapore. Even the Chinese and Hokkien speaking wait-staff have expanded their language repertoire to include Japanese to cater to them and somewhat adding to the atmosphere.

The menu is not hugely extensive but does what it does competently - and to increase the alcohol intake of its guests.

Although it's not known for its raw cuisine (and does not serve sushi since the don't make the rice), we start off with the Sanma (Pacific Saury) sashimi, which is the "catch (or flown in) of the day". Roughly chopped up but a good size to enjoy the moist and fat fish, it was pretty good even if not the best. The choice of wasabi or minced ginger/ chopped spring onions to go with your shoyu was also available without request.

The butter grilled squid was a succulent combination of garlic butter and squid juices although the squid was a tad overcooked and bordered on rubbery in some parts but the sauce accompanied by more Japanese mayo was a nice sinful combo which would help you down more sake than you can say sake.

To round off, we had the katsu curry rice and stir fried mixed vegetables. Although the pork cutlet was not the best cut (it's not black pork) I've had, the curry tasted every bit home-cooked and rich in the stock it had been stewing in all day. Coupled with the red pickles, very very good.

Almost like being transported back into a back street in Tokyo and enjoying as the locals do..

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