Hello everyone! Today, it’s all about good – no, AMAZING, food.
I don’t usually do food reviews unless I’m travelling and trying out exceptional food, but I’m making an exception today, for a Japanese Izakaya right here in Singapore. People who know me know I love Japanese cuisine foodie – raw, grilled, deep fried, I love them all! So when Protegie invited me to a tasting at Shukuu Izakaya, I gladly accepted.
Disclaimer: The food and drinks were complimentary but the review’s completely my own. There was no request for a blog review, but I enjoyed it so much, I just wanted to write about it to showcase the food and do the restaurant justice. All comments and opinions are my own.
The two hours spent there transported me back to Japan (so that kinda counts as travel, right?) and looking at the pictures we took made me want to go back again, like RIGHT NOW. There are thousands of Japanese restaurants in Singapore, and I usually eat Japanese cuisine once a week, but Shukuu Izakaya ranks as one of the top places for me personally. Besides amazing food, we met two of the owners, Luis and Mario. Luis sat down with us and explained the concept of the food, the hard work that goes behind it, and it’s refreshing and inspiring just listening to someone so passionate about their job and what they do, and I have so much respect for them both.
Decked out not unlike an Izakaya bar you’ll find in the cities of Japan (but without the copious of cigarette smoke in your face), Shukuu Izakaya boasts a cozy, friendly atmosphere that’s perfect with your partner or friends- the more the merrier because that means you’ll be able to try out more dishes the first time! Fret not though, if it’s just the two of you, it’s still SO worth it, and I’ve listed my top 5 must-try dishes at the end this post.
This is predominately a sake and food joint. At any one time, there’s over 100 different sake labels here – you’ll be spoilt for choice! Unable to decide? The owners and staff are trained sake connoisseurs ready to help with any pairing. Constantly rated as one of the top sake bars in Singapore, they’ve even got their house-brand sake. Sake lovers, welcome to paradise.
Here’s the all-important part, FOOD PICTURES! I’ll keep it short and sweet as much as I possibly can.
Chicken skin with grated radish and citrus sauce ($7) – Our first dish; crispy and sinful, a great way to start for all you deep-fried skin lovers (me included!). You know how deep-fried foods are sometimes pretty fickle when it comes to maintaining the crispiness as it cools down? Even after “posing” for pictures, these remained crispy, though to be fair, you’ll probably finish them within 2 minutes anyway!
Hotate Mentaiyaki ($17 for 3 pieces) – Scallop, Mentai, Ebi Roe, Cheese. I love every one these individually so putting them together was a big YAY in my book. Scallops were fresh, large and tender – a bite of awesomeness in my mouth.
Whitebait with diced capsicum in ponzu sauce ($6) – did you know eating capsicum apparently attracts women to men? I didn’t either, but that’s what I was told! So… free tip for all you guys out there!
Pork Jowl Chashu ($18) – Slow-cooked premium iberico pork jowl; tender and irresistible when dipped into the poached egg. You’ll all be fighting over the remaining pieces.
Gyu Ponzu ($7) – Tender slices of slightly cold beef topped with mentaiko and soaked in ponzu sauce. I loved the twist of the dip.
Beef with potatoes stew ($7) – A hearty dish that’ll remind you of home and the type of wholesome meal your mom cooks.
Chef’s selection 7pc ($27) – Loved everything here, especially the chicken ball skewer(contains cartilage so it’s soft and chewy!) and the tender chicken wings!
Rosti Mentai ($8) – Their most famous dish, enough said. You’ll never regret picking this. I wanted seconds, and I’d go back just for this. It’s even better than the classic Rosti + sour cream combo!
Crab Tomalley, miso paste, served with crackers ($9) – you have no idea how excited I got when this dish was served. The only other time I’ve had it was in Japan, and a real sizeable chunk of it too! I pretty much ate over half of it myself between 4 people. #noshame
Parmesan Chizu Chips ($10) – Pure baked cheese in every bite. Cheese lovers – do not hesitate! The combination of the chips with a slight drizzle of honey and a bite to of tomato makes my heart go ooh la la! I wish I could have these as a snack each and everyday.
Inaniwa Udon ($14) – this is a surprise you’ll absolutely have to try! How special can udon be right? That’s exactly what i thought when they told me about this. They said it wasn’t like regular thick udon noodles (and it’s not, it looks like rice noodles!) and in the past, only Japanese royals were entitled to feast on these specially-made udon noodles from Akita prefecture. These noodles are hand-stretched, flattened and left to dry, so it’s a long process before it ends up in a bowl. Rest of us peasants had to live with regular udon noodles. I’m not a huge of noodles, so I wasn’t expecting much, but when it came, I was intrigued due to the look of it. Tasted it, and… SATISFACTION. Definitely the best ramen I’ve had in Singapore. It’s soft, silky, smooth, with a warm, delicious broth.
Raw Tochigi Wagyu & Tochigi Wagyu beef skewer – Shukuu Izakaya is one of the only two restaurants in Singapore to bring in wagyu beef from the Tochigi prefecture. This was our first time trying it, and it’s everything you expect wagyu to be – soft, melt-in-your-mouth happiness. If you’ve been craving authentic Japanese wagyu, you’ve got to try these. I’ve not heard of Tochigi wagyu previously; Kobe beef is the kind you’d hear frequently in international circles, but Tochigi is no rookie – it’s worn several top awards in Japan domestically. It just doesn’t have the same marketing prowess as that of Kobe which has been marketed for tens of years.
You know it’s excellent when my boyfriend, ever the beef connoiseur (is that a thing?), broke out in a smile and started laughing when he tasted it. I was like, “what’s wrong with you?” His response? “I thought you were exaggerating and wasn’t expecting the beef to taste so good!” I’m not kidding! He’s been skeptical of Japanese restaurants in Singapore ever since we started our yearly pilgrimage to Japan, but he’d readily come back here any day.
The next time we’re back in Japan, I’m definitely gonna look out for Tochigi wagyu. Tochigi prefecture is located north of Tokyo, and encompasses Nikko National Park, a gorgeous, wonderful park I highly recommend everyone going, especially during autumn. The foliage is gorgeous during that time of year. And after a day of sightseeing, what better way than to indulge in top-rated wagyu?
I haven’t been suprised in a long time in Singapore, and I’m totally impressed with Shukuu. My stomach and I wholeheartedly recommend this joint. But don’t just take my word for it; check out their Tripadvisor reviews if you need more social proof!
As promised, these are my top 5 (in no particular order).
- Rosti Mentai
- Inaniwa Udon
- Crab Tomalley
- Hotate Mentaiyaki
- Tochigi Wagyu Beef
It was a hard choice, but hey, life’s all about choices! What about you guys – anything that interests you? 🙂