More deliciousness from the land of the rising sun.
Tucked away in a hotel lobby is the modest but rave-worthy Fukusen Japanese restaurant. The 45-seater restaurant helmed by affable local chef Liow Wei Kim throws up creative twists in the a la carte menu, such as in the spinach scallop carpaccio ($28), beautifully arrayed like a landscape painting with fresh ikura. The wagyu tata aburi ($40) was worth the price for its tartare-like beef, perfectly moist and fresh accompanied by a piquant yuzu chilli and crisp garlic chips. Opt for the omakase (from $80 for five courses) to discover the flavours of the season, such as in the winter tomato and yuzu jelly combination imported from Japan, and hamaguri soup, a clear clam broth full of umami with bonito flakes, yuzu peel, dashi kombu and suft clam. #01-03 Clover Hotel, 33 Jalan Sultan. Tel: 6291 4818
Restaurant Hoshigaoka has been refitted, and is rolling out a creative new menu befitting of this beloved family favourite, around since 1972 and now part of JP Pepperdine Group. A smoky touch is seen in the aburi mental hotate ($10.80), a winning combi of mentai mayonnaise and tobiko, as well as aburi crackling salmon roll ($18.80), with a generous helping of crispy salmon skin and avocado wrapped with salmon and mentai mayonnaise. Surprising us with a touch of buah keluak and spices, the gyu nikomi ($9.80) is a miso-stewed beef shin and vegetable dish that’s comforting and familiar. For desserts, don’t miss the creations with homegrown Udders ice cream, such as the Shinjuku toast ($8.80), a scrumptious egg toast with vanilla ice cream. Daily 11am-10pm. #0104 SAFRA Toa Payoh, 293 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh. Tel: 6258 9050 and two other locations at The Grandstand and Woodlands Civic Centre
Joining the already crowded street of Japanese (and Korean) restaurants, Hokkaido Izakaya in Tanjong Pagar is the first of the Tokyo-based chain’s expansion outside Japan. As the northernmost island is the country’s main potato producer, the root vegetable is honoured in an addictive warm smoked potato salad ($9), potato croquettes ($9) and in an unusual dessert with vanilla ice cream and red beans ($7). The three-month-old pub-like restaurant also offers grilled meat and seafood (grilled at a charcoal pit at the front), sashimi, sushi, housemade soba, and plenty of sakes and drinks. Specialties include milk hotpot with Hokkaido salmon slices ($18) where the end result is a rich, chowder-like fish soup, and a milk-enriched omelette ’brick’ ($10) bathed in Hokkaido butter tableside and served with cottage cheese. Mon-Sat 11.30am-2.30pm, 6pm-midnight; Sun & PH 11.30am2:30pm, 6-10.30pm. 95 Tanjong Pagar Road. Tel: 6221 7118