I have been to Japan Rail Cafe many times, although mostly for their exclusive events rather than having a proper dining there. And actually, I have recently done a post on them for Jpassport but for some unscrupulous blogger to plagiarise for her own benefits that I had to take it down before more people are taking advantage. Hence, this time round, I ain’t gonna elaborate into details and only giving a brief introduction on the cafe.
Japan Rail Cafe is the brainchild of East Japan Railway. It is probably the first of its kind in the world where a cafe integrates with retail, travel desk, and most significantly, to promote interest in visiting Japan, hence the reason in hosting many events to introduce different regions of Japan each month, not just the regions where their rail network plies. And this month, it’s Kagoshima.
Japan Rail Cafe does not have a ‘proper’ menu, instead they publish their menu on a monthly tabloid which also serves as their magazine. It’s practical in a sense, because in doing so, they can conveniently include seasonal and regional food they serve only for one particular month, in conjunction with special festive or the featured region of the month.
This month being ‘Kagoshima month’, they have 4 seasonal orders in their menu, including this Buri-don Amberjack Fish Rice Bowl, Satsuma-age Fried Fish Cake (which you see it inside the bowl in the picture above), Yakushima Log Cake, and Kokuto Matcha Latte.
I ordered their Buri-don Amberjack Fish Rice Bowl, which came with Amberjack fish, omelette, and cucumber dice, two halves of Satsuma-age fish cake. The accompanied condiments are sesame, wasabi, and the soy sauce for the Satsuma-age. This yellow tail donburi can be consumed as it is, or upon pouring the pot of dashi broth over it as an ochazuke. Truth be told, the taste, I found, was just moderate. Perhaps it was just me, but somehow I just found the taste of the Satsuma-age couldn’t blend well with the sashimi. The Satsuma-age Fried Fish Cake was also available on its own for $6 (two pieces), a bit pricey if you ask me, but this is a restaurant after all, and the product is Japan made, air flown I presume.
I was actually more impressed by their Kaisen Avocado Don, which is a permanent feature on their menu with salmon sashimi, Aomori scallops and avocado, and likewise, can be eaten as it is, or as an ochazuke with a choice of dashi broth or original broth, the former is a chicken base, the latter a fish, if I remember correctly. The look is more appealing and I do find the taste blend well as a donburi.
Their Avocado B.L.T. Sandwich is also another regular feature in their menu and came with a choice of any two side order, choosing from french fries, seasoned wedges (mild spicy), mini salad, and original pork soup. I selected wedges and salad here. You may be wondering what does B.L.T. stands for? It literally means Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato as the main ingredients of the sandwich. They have the standard version for $15 (without avocado), right here, it’s an additional dollar for added avocado.
This is obviously a Japanese touch of western food, and for the price I paid, it definitely tasted far better than what we normally expected from fast food restaurants, you can already tell by the look of the bun that it has better fluffiness and was actually rather appetising.
This is their Yakushima Log Cake, I don’t know the price because I didn’t pay for it. It was actually served in slices on a separate event hosted by H.I.S. Travel at Japan Rail Cafe the following week, and available only until 27 Oct. It took the design of Yakushima island (the word ‘shima’ actually means island in Japanese), the very first of Japan’s Natural World Heritage Site back in 1993, and believe to be the inspiration behind Hayao MIYAZAKI’s anime Princess Mononoke.
Since I wasn’t given the opportunity to select my own slice, I believe the green moss is matcha powder, whereas the white coating is sugar powder. This is basically a chocolate log cake, and I do find the taste and texture delightful, not overly sweet nor heavy. Pity though, Japan Rail Cafe does not carry as many dessert as I anticipated, and this is likely to be one-off.
In addition, their Kokuto Matcha Latte ($6.20), a brown sugar matcha Latte, was absolutely wonderful, very unlike other matcha latte you can find elsewhere. Again, for the time being, it’s unlikely to be featured again.
On paper, it seems though Japan Rail Cafe’s pricing is slightly higher than other similar restaurant. However it’s worth noting that their prices are inclusive of taxes and service charge. I do feel this is the correct approach, I still cannot understand Singapore government’s double standard between retail purchases and restaurant dining after all these years.
11:00 hr – 21:00 hr