Japanese Cravings

Japanese Cravings

Featuring Gyu Nami (Orchard Gateway), Hana Restaurant, Japanese Curry Express (Fortune Centre), Charcoal-Grill & Salad Bar Keisuke (Paya Lebar Square), Fire Ramen & Izakaya by Menbaka (The Centrepoint), Nakajima Suisan Grilled Fish, Yakitori Uma (Orchard Plaza), The Oyster Bank (Funan), Tomi Sushi (Velocity), RAPPU Handroll Bar
Darren Teo
Darren Teo

Celebrated my dad's birthday just the other day, and since he likes oysters the first place that came to mind for a meal was of course, The Oyster Bank!

Started off with the Baked Lemon Garlic Butter Scallops ($15.90 for 3 pcs) which were fresh, large, and drenched in a delicious lemon butter sauce. Ordered two cocktails (which were frankly pretty overpriced) just so we could enjoy the $2 oysters promo - you can get up to 6 oysters at $2 for every alcoholic drink purchased, and this stacks with the happy hour! Oysters were clean and briney, but the sizes were inconsistent with some large and some distinctively smaller.

On to the mains, we got the Wagyu Beef Karubi Don ($24.90) and the Bara Chirashi Don ($17.90). Beef don was actually really delicious, with the flavours of the wagyu beef strips, shoyu shiitake, fried garlic, and onsen egg melding together perfectly to create a flavourful mess. On the other hand, the chiraishi don was pretty boring with just cubes of salmon, tuna, shrimp, and egg. However, come for the daily lunch special which gives complimentary miso soup and a glass of iced/hot houjicha or americano.

The staff also surprised us at the end of our meal with a birthday celebratory sake shots - very cute and much appreciated! Thumbs up for the lovely service.

Heard good things about this Japanese Curry purveyor at SMU so decided to pop by to try. Navigated the labyrinth that was the SMU underground and found ourselves as the only customers in the cosy eatery at close to 7.30pm.

The things that stood out the most were the wide variety of different toppings on their curries as well as the affordable prices - their most expensive beef option was only at $16.90!

We chose the Fried Chicken ($11.90) and the Croquette ($6.90) options. The curry that accompanied each bowl was truly something unique and remarkable; every bite was full of bold and earthy flavours, a blend of richness, spice, and tinges of sweetness and tanginess. You'll forget about using those Golden Curry premix after trying Kuro Kare's rendition. Add in a few drops of their chilli blends for a burst of tangy spiciness to kick things up a notch (but beware, they're REALLY spicy!). When the heat becomes too much, don't forget their cold and refreshing barley tea as well as their tangy and crunchy pickles - both were complimentary and free-flow!

On to the toppings, we really enjoyed the Chicken Katsu which was juicy and so crisply battered. While we felt the croquette was was slightly lacking in potato, the mentaiko sauce drizzled on it was surprisingly delicious and paired well with the curry. It was so good I had to try their Waffle with Mentaiko ($3) which was a combi I've not seen before. While they were nice, I thought that the waffle could be crispier for that crunchy exterior-soft interior and the mentaiko could be torched for depth of flavour. But for $3, the portion and taste was not bad!

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Udon in bonito dashi soup, topped with seaweed, tempura flakes, and spring onion. There's also a poached egg as well as slices of sweet fried tofu. A decent bowl of Udon and the portions aren't skimpy either. A little too expensive in my opinion though.

A mound of cubed seafood including salmon, tuna, octopus, and plenty more, all marinated in a savoury roasted soy marinade for a sweet-savoury umami goodness. Nothing to complain about. Love it!

Dropped by at about 8.30pm on a Saturday and still had to wait for about 30min. Last order 9pm and they close at 10pm. Had the Teriyaki Chicken Set ($16.90+) and the Fishcake Set ($14.90+). Chicken was so nicely charred and tender, portion was alright considering the chicken pieces were thick. Fishcake was actually pretty good on first bite with lots of ingredients mixed inside, but after a while it became quite bland without any sauce to eat it with - had to spam the shichimi and lemon chilli with every bite. Each set comes with rice, miso soup, and an onsen egg. Or course, we also gorged ourselves on the free flow salad bar, with our favourites being the beansprouts, potato salad, macaroni salad, the sweet watermelon, and the very concentrated coffee jelly.

Simple and comforting, yet delicious. Pork Cutlet, breaded prawn, and pork slices atop eggs in a dashi broth. Delicious with the rice and shichimi powder. Free flow of the rice, miso soup, and pickles to mop up all of that sauce.

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The enticing smokiness hits you the moment this bowl of aromatic prawny goodness lands on our table. The wokhei of the noodles is distinct and the sweet-savoury broth had a touch of spice to kick it up a notch. Really addictive and I couldn't help slurping the bowl clean.

Their Lunch set 1 for 1 promo is a pretty good deal! You get a salad, miso soup, and a main each for 2 pax at just $30.80. Salad and soup was good, and for mains we had the Snow Crab Pasta and Spicy Seafood Donburi. Snow Crab Pasta was almost like noodles in soup, think there was a tad too much of the Ship Chicken Broth. But I enjoyed the Spicy Seafood Donburi with the non-traditional spicy sauce and the variety of seafood.

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Interesting and unique experience with so many different varieties of hand rolls to enjoy. Shared the Tengo (natural, sweet), Jigo (stronger, spicy), and Vegan sets between the 4 of us. While every one of the handrolls were delicious and expertly crafted on it's on, we generally enjoyed the lighter flavours of the Tengo handrolls that allowed the sweetness of the seafood to shine through. We especially loved the Tengo Crab and Tengo Engawa! Special mention to the Vegan Takenoko (bamboo shoots) and Vegan Iburigakko (daikon) too - the crunch brought a medley of textures to the handrolls.

Highly recommend getting the sake pairings as well! And don't scoff at the portion of the set, three of us were already sofull sharing the 18 handrolls from 3 sets.

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At first I ordered this ala carte and I was so confused when just the chicken&eggs came. I thought it would still come with rice but turns out I just read it wrongly 😵‍💫 so I just added on $4 for the salad, soup, and rice. Still can't believe 4 karaage in eggs costs $11.90, and it wasn't even that nice.

My sis ordered the ramen and it was so much better so just stick with the ramen. You'll feel the price is more worth it.

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Decent Omakase but you really get the quality you paid for - that is to say, no frills and pretty average. Don't expect this to be a gateway meal for those who aren't really sold on the Omakase experience; it's likely that this will leave a poor taste in their mouth. Ultimately, Singaporeans are a cheapskate bunch and they will get just the $38 set, find that it didn't match up to their expectation of the 'Omakase' featured in media, and then vow never to return. Lest this happens to you, do remember to keep an open mind and approach Hana with more Curiosity rather than Expectations.

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Bought a Chope 1-for-1 voucher ($28.96) and chose the Trio Salmon Chiraishi Don (UP $28) and Garlic Prawn Pasta (UP $24).

Salmon Chiraishi Don had quite a number of salmon slices (both normal and aburi), a spoonful of ikura, tamago on a stick, as well as crispy salmon skin with mayo and ebiko on top - but ultimately this tasted just average. Aburi salmon was a disappointment as it was more 'half-cooked' than seared. Salmon slices were thick but wasn't fresh. Tamago wasn't freshly made too.

Garlic prawn pasta tasted really plain and could use alot more garlic bits and more spice, but the big and crunchy prawns alleviated the meh-ness slightly.

Also had a half pint of Yuzu Frozen Beer ($15), which was just regular beer flavoured with yuzu jam (it settles at the bottom so use a straw to stir every now and then) and the slush on top does taste like beer but in a bad way.

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Adventurous and always looking for new flavours on my tongue!

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