Saturday, January 8, 2011

Singapore - Japanese Restaurant Suju (Mandarin Gallery)

With the other F&B tenants at the Mandarin Gallery, Suju seems to have escaped under the radar screen.  A little odd, and it was a stroke of fortune on Christmas Eve, that we found ourselves there for lunch.  Well OK, there wasn't much choice since it was the only place without a queue.  Thankfully, the oddity ended there.  It is a high quality joint.  It's hard to tell from the outside given the usual nondescript entrances typical of many Japanese joints.  It's not cheap although lunch sets are fairly priced. 

Tempura lunch set
The tempura on rice bowl is deserving of special mention.  Suju prides itself on the quality of rice they use, and it comes through - more so in the rice bowl than the sushi.  The consistency is fluff yet with bite, and with just enough stickiness to create texture but not in a mushy way.  Suffice to say, it's easy to finish the entire decent sized rice bowl.  The tempura used quality ingredients, even if they were the ordinary assortment of shrimps, mushrooms and pumpkin.  The batter was fragrant from the oil used to deep-fry the pieces in, and was light and crisp with just a hint of a bite, akin to Agedashi Tofu, but yet not quite.  The drizzle of a slightly sweet tempura sauce added flavor, and that was it.  Hooked.  I would go back just for the tempura rice bowl, although the lady at the next table seemed to be really enjoying her Deep-fried breaded Kurobuta pork cutlet rice bowl.

The Chawanmushi (steamed egg custard) that accompanies the rice bowl set is bigger than most other places, and very smooth, with a discernible aroma of good eggs.

Perhaps the sushi set might have been a little less expensive, since I get the same standards at my regular Sushi Hiro joint in HK for about half the price.

While the catches were fresh, my one complaint was the sushi served in seaweed.  It wasn't crisp by the time it ended up at our table, and was embarrassingly difficult to bite off.  You should only try it at home - it ain't cool to play tug-of-war with your handroll in public.

Overall, the rice bowls are probably where it's at for lunch.  If I get happy a second time for lunch, I just might head back for dinner.

333A Orchard Road
Mandarin Gallery
Tel: +65-67377764

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