- Rating: 16.5/20
- Address: 48 Boat Quay, Singapore 049837
- Phone:6223 4129
- Price: ~SGD 140 = $100 USD
- Value: 4/5
- Chef: Masuki Akutsu
There’s no getting around the fact that Japanese food in Singapore is going to be expensive. Within a couple of weeks, I had 3 friends who asked about good value Japanese food below $100. I remain without an answer to this question – if anyone knows, please tell me.
I think I know one answer to the broader question of “value Japanese food in Singapore”. I recently visited Yakiniquest, a Japanese yakiniku restaurant set up in Boat Quay, by a founding member of the Yakiniquest group, a Mr Suguru Ishida. The Yakiniquest group is an interesting beast, according to the restaurant’s website, it is a grouping of 5 yakiniku enthusiasts who got together in 1998, and went around Japan eating at >100 yakiniku restaurants yearly, posting their reviews on Yakinuqest.com, as well as authoring books and publishing magazines. As far as I can tell, this Singapore outpost is their only affiliated restaurant.
The restaurant is helmed by Chef Masaki Akutsu, who used to helm Yakiniku Shibaura. He is watchful presence at the front counter, steadily working through his cuts. The clientele of the restaurant is mostly Japanese expats – Japanese is the first language spoken around the restaurant
My first dinner consisted of A4 beef from Iwate prefecture, with a single piece of Australian tongue. (due to Singapore import restrictions on Japanese beef organs). Three commendable points about the restaurant: First the grilling is done expertly, and secondly different delicious sauces are aptly paired with the meats. Thirdly, with a yakiniku restaurant you have perhaps less to innovate upon, but there were some surprising touches: A Niku soumen dish was an interesting twist on noodles, and the roasted green tea ice cream had a sophisticated taste unlike your run-of-the-mill matcha green tea powder based ice creams.
Good value for money? For beef connoisseurs, yes.
- Japanese salad/pickles (braised daikon turnip with beef essence)
- Wagyu beef sashimi – more a curiosity than anything of great succulence. The issue is that it was dry, and this limited the fatty texture (3/5)
- Niku soumen – a novelty dish consisting of shredded wagyu in soy sauce. This was based on a clever visual joke
- Shio tan (tongue) – This was the only piece taken from an Australian cow, as Japanese wagyu offal is not allowed to be imported into Singapore at the moment. It was highly succulent, one of the best pieces of the night (4.25/5)
- Hire (tenderloin)
- Shinshin (eye of knuckle)
- Yakisuki (wagyu “sukiyaki” style) – a delicious sweet and umami sauce, mix of soy sauce, sugar and sake. I believe this cut is chateaubriand (a part of the tenderloin)
- Gazpacho – a shot of chilled tomato soup – a palate cleanser, that was also heavy from use of olive oil.
- Misuji (top-blade)
- Sirloin (striploin) with ponzu sauce (5/5) An exquisitely marbled cut that served as the piece-de-resistance, a burst of fatty flavor like a sponge. The spongey-fatty texture is found in two of Japanese fine-dining’s great obsessions – otoro and sirloin. Our eyes were riveted as the meat dripped fat onto the coals. There is something engrossing about a delicate piece of meat getting cooked
- Wagyu curry rice
- Inaniwa noodle with ice
- Red Bean Monaka (4.25/5)
- Black sesame ice cream
- Roasted green tea ice cream
- You can read about the Yakiniquest group here: http://www.yakiniquest.sg/about_en