With Shaw Plaza being opened and all operational, tenants have been slowly moving into its premises — the most recent F&B addition to Shaw Plaza that serves up Japanese fare after the opening of Ontama Don and Menya Aoi previously would be Inochi. Inochi occupied a space at the second level of Shaw Plaza, located across Killiney Kopitiam with an aisle linking up to the pedestrian bridge from Shaw Plaza to Balestier Road. Being an establishment that serves up Japanese fare, Inochi has its dine-in space being segregated into two sections — to the left of the entrance would be an area that consists of the sushi bar that comes full with counter seating that one can observe the chefs making the sushi on the spot. One can also find booth seating around the said area as well. To the right side of the entrance, the dine-in zone comprises of mostly dining tables and chairs — the tables being good for groups of twos and fours to dine-in at. The decor attempts to blend in some oriental elements in a modern environment; that are some wallpapers comprising of “Japanese Wind” patterns that can be found amidst the wooden furniture and fittings; the seating also comprises of cushioned seats to provide more comfort to their patrons. The menu at Inochi is available all-day; the establishment serving up dishes that are pretty close to most Japanese casual dining eateries around — this includes sections dedicated to Cold / Warm Appetisers, Snacks and Nibbles, Tempura, Gohan, Udon, Fusion, Sushi Bar, Platters, Makimono, “When The Forest Meets The Sea” (i.e. meat, poultry and seafood), Inochi Donburi, and “The Sweetest Memories to end the day” (i.e. desserts). Inochi does serve up quite a limited variety of beverages however; there are only a list of non-alcoholic beverages such as Sencha, English Breakfast Tea and Long Black listed on the menu apart from a selection of canned beverages.

Visiting a Japanese establishment that serves up cold Donburi, it is needless to say that the Bara Chirashi Don was the item that stood out to us the most. It is interesting that Inochi does serve up quite a few different variants of Bara Chirashi Don that features other elements as well — this include that of the Salmon Aburi Bara Chirashi that seemingly comes with flame-torched salmon sashimi slices that is served alongside the cubes of assorted raw fish above the bed of sushi rice. For the Bara Chirashi Don, the Bara Chirashi Don is described on the menu to come with elements such as “an assortment of marinated diced seafood, signature Japanese salted egg yolk, and salmon roe”. It is needless to say that the item that got us to settle for the Bara Chirashi Don over the various “mixed” Bara Chirashi items here is the Japanese salted egg yolk — an element which we have yet to come across for a Bara Chirashi Don that is priced comfortably below $20. We were also impressed with how the Bara Chirashi Don, for its price tag of $15.90+, comes with a small side of mushroom and broccoli as a starter, and comes with miso soup as well.

Digging straight into the assortment of marinated diced seafood, we note that the assortment of diced seafood includes salmon, swordfish as well as octopus — all of these were diced into well-sized cubes that would allow one to have a chunky bite of the fish when having it with a portion of the rice beneath. Not only did we note that there were ample amounts of seafood to go around the serving of rice here, we also liked how the marination of the assortment of diced seafood was pretty light — quite our fancy considering how one could also taste the freshness of the seafood as well. Cubes of cucumber included within the assortment of diced seafood helped to add a refreshing crunch amidst all that marinated raw seafood and rice that comes along with it. The bed of sushi rice is beneath is served at room temperature; the way we liked it so that it does not “warm up” the raw diced seafood above it. The short-grain rice also carried a hint of sweetness on its own — pretty tasty even when had by itself and pairs especially well with that especially strong and numbing wasabi that comes on the side; simply “shiok”. The Japanese salted egg yolk had a really creamy consistency — best to be mixed into the bowl since it carries quite a salty note on its own akin to a soy-marinated salted egg yolk, while other elements like the ginger flower cutting through all the savoury notes and the carbs in the bowl, while the shredded radish provides a springy, soft bite that provided a good textural twist. The Ikura that comes atop all of the elements add a popping sensation that is all sorts of umami as one bites onto one. Overall, a bowl that exceeds what we had expected for the price point which it is asking for.

We came into Inochi expecting nothing too much about the establishment — after all, it does seem that Inochi’s menu does feel a little limited as compared to that which we had come across at other similar establishments such as that of Izakaya Yoppi at Wilkie Edge, and for the fact that it is a new establishment that is situated within a shopping mall; such circumstances made us feel pretty skeptical about the establishment from the start. That being said, we left Inochi being pretty impressed — save for the fact that their desserts (at least for the Mochi Parfait that we had went for) are actually commercial products which have been imported and supplied to them, we would say that the items that we had went for are pretty much a hit. It is needless to say that the item we were most impressed of was the Bara Chirashi Don — it seems that they have pretty much nailed it with the size of the chunks of assortment of diced seafood, as well as how the assortment of diced seafood should be marinated. Apart from the Bara Chirashi Don, we had also given other items such as the Hiyayakko and the Unagi Avocado Roll a go; the Hiyayakko being a cold appetiser featuring Japanese Cold Tofu, Bonito Fish Flakes and Mentsuyu Sauce (i.e. noodles soup base) which was absolutely comforting. On the other hand, the Unagi Avocado Roll is well-executed; no doubt a bit basic, but the Unagi on the top is nothing short of being crisp on the surface and carried a smoky note — yet comes with sticky and sweet glaze, while the buttery texture and flavour of the avocado goes well with the sweetness of the soft Tamagoyaki that comes in the roll. Prices of the Inochi Donburi (hot and cold) here ranges from $10.80+ to $46.80+ — the most expensive being the A5 Wagyu Don, though most other Dons comes with a price tag of under $18+ anyway. Needless to say, Inochi had left us pretty satisfied — definitely a spot which we would recommend for a good wallet-friendly Bara Chirashi Don that is value-for-money. Looking forward to be back to give the other items a try as well!