Value and Valued

For some strange reason, I started coming here quite regularly, to the point that I was asked to be a member. That was when I found out how well they treat their members. One had to pay to join membership but double that amount of money is returned in the form of vouchers. This is fairly standard practice for Japanese restaurants. But Watami has one dish which is free for members and herein lies the value. Also, depending on the credit card promotion that is going on at the time, members get a higher discount even when vouchers are used. Talk about value and being valued. Their service is also good as this is a proper restaurant. 

Being excited to use my voucher, I ordered food that I would not normally order and when the bill came, I found out that I had been given the member’s discount for the current credit card promotion and the final amount was less than $5! I’ve not paid that little for a feast before.

This is also the only restaurant I know where their staff would actually come down to your level by going on one knee so they could clarify or explain things eye-to-eye to their customers. They don’t do this all the time and certainly not for quick passing orders but when they felt they needed to explain something or hear a customer better when taking down orders, their staff would go down on one knee – small gestures that speak volumes! 

Fisherman’s sushi that is eaten wrapped in seaweed, which is served on the side.

 

Wafu pizza

  

Cold milk tea with black pearls.

  

This was complimentary for members.

 This place is definitely a keeper.

Watami Japanese Casual Restaurant, 9 Bishan Place, #01-33, Junction 8 Shopping Centre, Singapore 579837. Tel: (65) 6258 3577.

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Kitchen terms?

Perhaps this place was a kitchen wannabe that became a cafe instead? At first sight, it actually sounded painful, like someone being whacked. But fortunately, the experience was not. 

The old place, Pit Stop, was one of the few restaurants to have a parking bay for bicycles. This restaurant is smaller and has used the space for seating. Also at one glance, one could see who needed attention – gone were the walls and blind spots where customers had trouble getting the attention of the wait staff. Alcoholic drinks are also served now, making it more of a hangout place after a meal perhaps, and helping them meet the rent.

I’d say the draw of the place is the location first, food second. I come here so I can pretend that I’m not really that close to civilisation for about 2 hours anyway.

This is along the Punggol Park Connector so one can enjoy a ride and fresh air before having something to eat, which was what we did. Or alternatively, one could chill over an evening meal, some drinks and enjoy the lovely view and cool evening breeze. I’m putting this on my keeper’s list.

  

Why did the lizard cross the footpath?

   

Seats have filled up the old parking space. The high tables are a great idea!

  

Part of the decor.

  

French toast that mistakenly turned out as waffles with sunny side up eggs and bacon. I didn’t mind the mistake as the wait that Saturday was a little long as the place was rather busy.

  

Eggs Benedict

  

Whisk & Paddle, 10 Tebing Lane, #01-01, Singapore 828836. Phone: +65 6242 4617.

Na na na na na

It must be time to go down memory lane again. For my birthday. I could not decide where I wanted to go. So I went a little earlier to Plaza Singapura and walked around, trying to see where was a good place to go. I chanced upon the specials at this place, even on weekends. Bargain! So we came here.

The title is a play on words. As children we used to say that to show off, that we had something others did not. Indeed, their specials were something. 

The place opened to roaring reviews about a year ago. There used to be Japanese staff around when it was newly opened. But when the staff left, the quality was affected though not enough to dampen the enthusiasm for the place. A friend of mine used to buy the houji latte on a weekly basis until one day, she noticed the quality was different. Then she realised the Japanese staff who was making the drinks was no longer there. Gone too were the other Japanese wait staff. She stopped buying the drinks. The place was known as Japanese Starbucks because of a vision that the founder had of popularising green tea so that not all is lost to coffee. I did not come here as consistently as my friend and even after not coming here for months, the quality is still good enough for me to return to. Herein lies the truth of many Japanese and perhaps non-local restaurants in Singapore who first open to very high standards of quality of their countries of origin but whose quality eventually evolves to the local standards. The opposite is true too. Food in Singapore always tastes better in Singapore, compared to food in other countries where Singapore food is sold. I guess for Japanese quality, well, go to Japan for it. 

The weekend specials were a real bonus as most restaurants do not have such specials on weekends. The service too was fast and efficient. I used to come here for their chicken salad in goma sauce which was really good as well. I will definitely keep this place in mind for more specials in the future.

Matcha latte on the left, karigane cha, minus a tea cup that I forgot to include in the pic

Gyu shabu goma dare udon. Yum!

Salmon and tuna don

Hamburger with rice

Matcha anmitsu

This was a really wonderful meal at wonderful prices, with wonderful people. I felt really blessed that day. Thanks, guys! 

Nana’s Green Tea, Plaza Singapura, #03-80/82 The Atrium@Orchard, Plaza Singapura, 68 Orchard Road, Singapore 238839. Tel: 6684 4312.

Rendezvous at Ikeikemaru

I was treated to a birthday dinner and we decided to come here. I have been here several times before and one of the posts can be found here. But today, I will only list what I liked about the meal in order of preference. I think when we have the uncommon too often, it becomes, well, common. Things always taste better when it is not had too often.

Aburi engawa (fluke fin)

This was an oily fish and the waiter suggested that we did it as an aburi, which was an excellent idea as the oil gave it a nice fragrance. Aburi means flame-grilled.

Sweet prawns and really fresh. Still good.

Next were the prawns which were really fresh and sweet.

Sardine sashimi

Sardines were on special and we decided to have it as sashimi. This was really fresh. It had bones in it which were edible but still, one had to make sure to chew properly or a bone may be lodged in the throat. This was not expensive for a whole fish sashimi.

Raw oysters in ponzu sauce

This was a case of having something once too often. I remember the first time I had it and how delicious it tasted. This time, even though they still tasted good, the novelty was a little lost. We should have tried something which we had not tried before.

Aburi shimeaji (front), negitoro (left), crab (far left), kohada(back). The crab sushi were naturally sweet.

This is one of the better places to come to for good sushi and sashimi as they tend to do it like they would in Japan. We will definitely be a little more adventurous and ask for food that we have not tried before. This is one place where you can even tell the chefs that you would like a certain amount of sushi and ask them to just serve you what they would recommend for the day, a kind of omakase if you like. My friends and I have tried that before. Unfortunately, the chef that I am familiar with, is no longer there. I’ll have to befriend another chef.

Ryoshi Sushi Ikeikemaru, 177 River Valley Road, Basement 1 Liang Court. Tel: 63371022.