Saturday, July 23, 2011

Singapore - Inaho's Kitchen Bar

It's technically not a hole in the wall, and it wasn't all that difficult to find, although if you Google it cold, you would find the number on the address changes.  But I'm pretty sure it's "60" since it was on the even side of the street.  Walk up the stairs but stop short of the top and look for a door on your right.  Push it open and "voila!".  Step into a cosy, dark wood interior, with a lovely bar counter helmed by a smiley Japanese lady.  And believe me when I say this is where Japanese salary men come to seek solace and the comfort of the home-style dishes the lovely lady brings out.  And from time to time, she obliges with a return toast of Sake or Shochu, whichever it is the weary customer orders..

The dishes here are not your fancy gourmet stuff of high end Japanese restaurants.  It's a simple down-to-earth place where every dish is simply executed well.  It's stuff that you would enjoy with a bit of alcohol while winding down after the 12 hours you put in at the office.  Sodium levels are higher for balance but not uncomfortably so that even if you have something less potent, you won't wind up with your tongue hanging out for dear life at the end of the meal.

We ordered a variety of dishes from the different sections of the menu and were pleasantly surprised at how well each turned out.  Wholesome simple goodness.

Stir fry of Pork and Kimchi
We put in the order for this only after she reassured us that this wasn't heat of the Korean variety.  She was right.  And what it turned out to be was a lovely dish combining the natural sweetness of the cabbage and thin slices of pork, then given a subtle kick from the Kimchi paste.  No heat required.

Squid in Garlic Butter
Garlic and butter are simply meant to be together till the end of time.  Even if you throw in rubber, it will also taste good.  Fortunately for us, the fresh and bouncy squids lent its natural Umami into the combination making this really quite addictive.  A must-do for lovers of the sole weapon against vampires.

Konnyaku with Sweet Miso
This was an interesting combo and surprisingly good with Sake.  Konnyaku is tasteless but has supreme texture that is a crunchy gelatin.  Oddly good since it takes on the flavor of anything it is infused or slathered with.  Japanese eat it quite a bit for its supposedly nutritional qualities, and is high in fiber.  Chewing on it allows you to savor the sweet Miso paste although you cannot have too much at a go since it is sweetly salty or saltily sweet, whichever way it falls on your taste buds.  So have your Sake ready...

Grilled squid with Ponzu
Another tried and tested combination of squid and Ponzu (citrusy marinade) in this case carried by finely grated radish.  Drizzled liberally with Japanese mayonaise, which is more eggy than the Western variety, it is a guilt-ridden trip to heaven...

Finishing with a satisfying Japanese classic of Oden.  The variety of fish cakes and Konnyaku slice soaked up the sweetly rich fish broth, and made for a comforting finish.  Even if you don't care for Oden much, you should try this one and see if you change your mind.  You just might, since I did.

Thanks to D for introducing us to this little secret, even if the Japanese salary men may hate us for publicising their last spot of solace..

60A Duxton Road
Tel: +65-9090 6948

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