Izakaya

All posts tagged Izakaya

Himonoya ひもの屋

Published June 25, 2018 by piggie

One famous local food blogger whom I hold with high regards who favours Japanese cuisine once commented, “if you spot real Japanese at a Japanese restaurant in Singapore, just go for it. You can’t fool around with the Japanese in terms of food.” I saw plenty of Japanese diners at Himonoya, I suppose these words apply for them too! And if you have seen the range of Japanese liquor they carry, you will lose any remaining doubts of their genuineness.

Hidden in a quiet spot (formerly of Hummerstons) on level 2 of Robertson Walk, Himonoya is more than your usual Japanese restaurant. I’m saying that because apart from the conventional Japanese food you probably already heard of, Himonoya have something rather unique here in Singapore… dried fish, or what “Himono” means in Japanese. Now, don’t get confused with salted fish which our older generations here crave about back in the olden days, it’s totally different and certainly much healthier, chewy, and in my opinion, tastier too. So if you didn’t try Himono while dining at Himonoya, you probably ain’t been there. That said, Himonoya also serves common items such as sashimi, sushi, as well as a wide range of Japanese cuisines which you can normally associate with an izakaya.

I’d call the exterior of the restaurant deceiving. Despite looking like a high class restaurant from the outside, its interior is anything but. I thought I walked into a maze of Japanese Edo era eateries upon entering, before been led to my reserved table with a curtain that instilled some privacy, not that I specifically requested for it. Not all tables come with a curtain though.

Seriously, after going Japan four times in the last 12 months, I am getting numb over sushi and sashimi here already, the fact being, you can’t get any fresher than having them there, so I practically skipped most thing raw during my visit. As such, I was expecting my meal to be on the saltier side, and had ordered Japanese steamed rice to go along. But allow me to elaborate a little bit, Himonoya serves different variety of rice too, such as serving with raw egg, with salmon roes, and even grilled rice ball as well as Ochazuke! I stuck to the plain steamed rice.

Hotaru Ika (Firefly Squid with Wasabi), $5.90++

Our first order, Hotaru Ika came promptly. One look, and it was obvious it’s on the salty side, it’s great that it came with wasabi too, nullifying some of the saltiness and made it rather appetising with the rice that we ordered.

Daikon Salad (with Shirasu & Wakame Seaweed), $10.90++

Strictly speaking, the portion of this salad is good enough for one simple meal. The flavour has been enriched somewhat with the inclusion of Shirasu (whitebait).

Himono Hokke (half), $22.90++

This is the signature dish of Himonoya, Himono Hokke (half), served with lemon and grind radish. Himonoya indicated that this fish is the “Shims-Hokke” type of Mackerel which has a muscular and chewy texture that comes with an excellent umami flavour. We only ordered half of it, and it came grilled with a crisp skin, its flesh still retaining a chewy but certainly not over dried texture, hard to imagine it was actually dried fish.

It’s worth noting that while Japan is known for fresh catch, they are a country with very distinct seasons, hence at times, it is necessary to preserve their catch for various reasons. But I am rather surprise dried fish can still retain such chewy texture. Although it wasn’t stated, but the Hokke used was believed to be from the sea of Okhotsk, just North-East of Hokkaido. How this name came about is quite interesting too! It was said that this fish was first discovered by a Japanese monk named Nichiji, who named it after the Lotus Sutra (法华,Hokke).

Grilled Enoki, $5.90++

I was expecting this Grilled Enoki Mushroom with Butter to be more flavourful, but in truth, it’s simply mushroom with butter, rather mediocre.

Potato Salad, $7.90++

The Potato Salad came with crab miso, crab meat, and salmon roes. Although cheaper than the Daikon Salad, the portion is much smaller too. But the potato salad is itself very filling, and the combination with crab miso and crab meat makes a wonderful integration, not to mention that citrus zest which spices it up significantly!

Himono Sandfish (Hatahata), $9.80++

Hatahata Sandfish is a signature in Shimane prefecture (Although it’s also widely available in Akita prefecture, both prefectures siding the Sea of Japan). I have long heard of it, but think never had the chance to try it. And since I have also not visited Shimane before, with no tentative visit in sight, I was very tempted to order this. In Japan, it’s usually lightly salted before grilling, Himonoya also included mayonnaise here. What I’m trying to say is, it’s already good enough without the latter!

Crab Croquette, $7.80++

To be honest, dessert aside, this is actually my favourite from Himonoya. Their Crab Croquette is creamy in the inside, and crispy on the outside, with a dash of crab miso and crab meat on top, it’s absolutely delicious! I can go many rounds with this.

Kinako Ice, $4.90++

Kinako Ice is actually ice cream with black honey. The texture is rich and creamy, not excessively sweet, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Daifuku, $8.90++

The other dessert I ordered is Daifuku, it’s actually mochi stuffed with green tea ice cream inside, and toppled with red beans. This really impressed me, although I had a hard time slicing the mochi, but the green tea ice cream was so fragrant and have an impressive balance of sweet and bitterness, it compliments the red beans very well.

All in all, I find that food wise, Himonoya is as authentic as one can find in Japan, so are their beverages. Genuine sake (and shochu) lovers will find this a heaven with their $35++ free flow drinks. Of course, diners can also order drinks by the cup. Having mentioned that, I find that most diners are actually ladies when I visited over the weekend, that means they went there for the food, not drink.

Apart from Singapore, Himonoya also has outlets in Japan, Vietnam, and Cambodia.

Himonoya ひもの屋
11 Unity Street
#02-14, Robertson Walk
Singapore 237995
Tel: +65 62359110
Website: http://www.singaporehimonoya.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/singaporehimonoya/

Opening hours ~
Daily: 18:00 hr – 24:00 hr

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Enbu 炎舞

Published April 24, 2017 by piggie

It seems like I’m pretty addicted to Eat at Seven of late. Enbu is yet another of Eat at Seven’s element, but probably the most neglected one because of its secluded spot. In fact, it was the very first Eat at Seven restaurant when it opened although its location on roof top almost gives the impression it doesn’t belong to them. Enbu is an izakaya styled restaurant presumably partially related to Tomo Izakaya in Clarke Quay. As such, other than the food, they also carry a wide range of Japanese sake.

What makes Enbu special is their use of charcoal for grilling, or more impressively, straw-grill (warayaki). They claim to be the first (and probably only) restaurant in Singapore doing so.

Enbu Grilled Original Chicken Pattie with Ponzu Sauce, $15++

I must have left my spectacle at home when I read their menu but missing out on the straw-grilled items, anyway, I ordered Enbu Grill Original Chicken Pattie with Ponzu Sauce. The meal came with refillable tea, miso soup, a salad (if I remember correctly, I believe it’s avocado salad), and the main course. In my opinion, the Ponzu sauce definitely makes the meal more appetising. In fact, I have to credit them for the seamless effort in their presentation, which truly makes the main course such a fine piece of art!

Enbu Grilled Original Chicken Pattie with Half Boiled Egg, $15++

Their Enbu Grilled Original Chicken Pattie with Half Boiled Egg is just as impressive. Japanese love to stir egg yolk onto their rice, which gives a sweeter taste overall.

The above items are only available during lunch hours, but come during the night, I assure you the restaurant ambiance will be simply exceptional!

During my visit, JCB card holders are entitled to 1-for-1 promotion (until Jun 2017) on selected items. It’s actually quite worth it!

2nd Visit

Well, now that I learned Enbu is actually well-known for their straw-grill cuisines, what I intend to order for my return visit is pretty straightforward, one of the straw-grilled items on their menu!

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Straw frame Grilled Chicken with Teriyaki Sauce, $14++

I ordered Straw frame Grilled chicken with Teriyaki Sauce. I must confess I have never tasted anything straw-grilled before, as such, I have totally zero idea how it would taste like, but full of anticipation. To be honest, I found straw-grill pretty much a gimmick, it’s quite unlike charcoal-grill where one can virtually smell the difference, though I do find the chicken delicious. And as before, Enbu’s presentation is awesome! In fact, take away the somewhat distracting term ‘straw-grill’, and this meal excel on its own right, with Teriyaki sauce of adequate sweetness that doesn’t take away any spotlight from the chicken.

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Spicy Straw-Fire Grilled Chicken, $14++

On appearance, there seems to be no significant difference between this order and that I elaborated previously. It was suppose to be spicy, somehow I don’t find it so. Again, I couldn’t tell of any straw-grill aroma.

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Mixed Diced Sashimi on Rice, with Yuzu Pepper Sauce, $17.50++

This is basically Kaisen-don (seafood rice), and the seafood sashimi are fresh and flavourful, and the Yuzu Pepper Sauce is delightful!

Enbu 炎舞
3 Temasek Boulevard #03-307
Suntec City Mall
Singapore 038983
Tel: +65 62688043

Opening Hours:
11:30hr – 15:00hr,
17:30hr – 23:00hr