Showing posts with label Japanese Food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Japanese Food. Show all posts

Friday, May 1, 2015

Leecher's Birthday 2015: Koji Sushi Bar 米花

The initial plan to revamp the wardrobe halted when my taobao loots didn't arrive in time. That pretty much freed up the time allocated to this project. Thus, before I get started on another K-drama, which will probably be our focus for the next couple of weekends, I decided to channel the time to blog #solittletimesomuchtodo
Leecher kicked off his first wave of birthday celebration at 米花 Koji Sushi Bar. Located at China Sq Central, Koji Sushi Bar is helmed by Chef Benny Cheong who works at Shunjuu Izakaya (another Japanese eatery along Robertson Quay). This was our virgin visit to this place, even though we worked around the area. 
 The menu placed outside the restaurant. Their best selling item is the donburi rice bowls (starting from $17), where they added crispy tempura bits into the rice for that extra punch. Besides rice bowls, they also offer sushi set (of 5 pieces), ala carte items and omakase dinner  where advance reservation is required. 
Dressed in blue even though it wasn't Monday :) That morning, I stood in front of the wardrobe thinking of what to wear. Then, I decided to grab for something from the back of the wardrobe and this dress appeared in my hand. Guess that it must be fate, since it was a match with the bag that I was carrying.
 A penny for your thoughts, my dear?
Birthday boy also wants a pic in front of the shop, heh! #copycat
Indoor & outdoor seating are available. We were ushered indoors to our seats as we came for omakase dinner. Our first omakase experience was at Teppei, which won my heart & soul. I was looking forward to be wowed again by the chef's creations, just like how it was at Teppei.
 Japanese ornaments decorating the place.
Ready to kick off the evening?
 Before that, drinks first! We get to pick our own sake cup. Birthday boy Leecher got to pick first and he picked the cup that I was aiming for :( So, I settled for the white cup instead. 
Round 1 of sake for the birthday boy! Kanpai かんぱい
I'm not a fan of sake, so I let Leecher have my share after 2 rounds of  かんぱい. This sake was quite smooth, with a tinge of sweetness and easy to drink.
My alternative drink - Calpis shochu. Leecher initially confused it with korean Soju 소주, ha! Well, I think he is not entirely wrong as shochu and soju are made from barley and sweet potatoes. Shochu originated from southern Japan and it is consumed on ice, with hot water or mixed with fruit juices or tea. Soju, on the other hand, comes from Korea and is usually consumed neat. Though shochu has an alcohol percentage of 25%, I couldn't taste any in my drink as it was very much watered down by calpis.
Couple (dinner) date on a Friday.
As the sake warmed our stomach, we were ready to begin our omakase dinner. First dish: tofu with century egg and roe. A weird combination? No, I was amazed at how everything tasted fantastic! It was a great start for dinner :) 
  A platter of 3 different dishes appeared. Thumbs up for presentation, don't you feel that spring is here? Yes, the flower was edible (we asked the chef!). Truffle with sea urchin, seaweed, topshell with seasoned garlic.
Building pyramid with plates, interesting. These plates of salads were stacked right in front of me, so I couldn't resist a shot .... or more ;) It acted as a shield between me and the chefs, depriving me of a chance to catch the chefs in action. This was a pity as I wanted to learn a few tricks from the masters. 
A colourful plate of salad with light dressing to whet the appetite. Nothing spectacular to shout about. P2279327
 Sashimi consisted of kampachi belly, toro, salmon, swordfish, seabream and sweet shrimp. So fresh and tender, yums. 
Yellow tail cheek served with a slice of lemon, topped with japanese escargot. The fish was very tender and juicy, but rem to look out for bones. The piece that I had came with some small bones, which meant I had to be really careful with it.
Sea urchin, but I don't recall any dishes that came with it.
Halfway through dinner, I spotted the prized bottle - crispy tempura bits. The chefs were busy preparing for donburi for takeways, ranging from their popular sashimi rice bowls to pork cheek rice bowls. In fact, I went back 2 weeks later to dabao their rice bowls for dinner & I really loved the tempura bits. It added the extra crunchiness in the rice, which can get pretty addictive.
Wagyu beef sukiyaki! We each had our individual pots with 7 slices of wagyu beef.
 The agony of waiting, lol! So we spent our time beating the eggs as we waited for it to be ready.
 As I opened the lid, I noticed a tiny insect crawling on the bed of vegetables. I signaled for the waitress to come over and pointed it out to her. A new pot came immediately, but to my disappointment, it came only with 3 slices of beef. From 7 to 3, hmm .... it doesn't add up, right? The above pic was taken from Leecher's pot, which had 7 slices of beef.
After waiting for an eternity, we were ready to tuck in! The soup was tasty, but there wasn't much ingredients for me to eat, since it was mostly filled with vegetables. 
We got 2 sushi - scallop and fatty tuna (if I rem correctly). We also get to brush the soy sauce onto the sushi ourselves. Well, I almost choke on the wasabi that was hidden beneath the slices. Dessert came in the form of pudding with okinawa kuromitsu, topped with strawberries at the side. Given my level of (high) tolerance towards sweet stuff, this pudding was way too sweet for my liking. #disappointment
Thanks Kaiwei for the birthday treat ;)
The aftermath of 2 very full people, who can't walk 10 steps without taking a break, hee! As for my verdict - endure the long reservation wait and head for Teppei for a satisfying omakase meal. Alternatively, Koji's donburi is your best bet.   
Koji Sushi Bar
3 Pickering Street, China Sq Central
#01-42 Singapore 048660
Tel: +65 6225 6125
Opening Hours: 11.30am till 3pm, 5pm till 10pm (Mon-Sat)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Leecher's Birthday 2014: Superstar K2 Korean BBQ and Ippudo

P3018219 copy 
It has been a long while since the last birthday post. Last month, we celebrated Leecher's birthday and it dawned on me that I have yet to document his 2014 birthday celebrations, oops! I drafted this way back in May last year, but never got around loading the pictures from camera/phone for this entry -- testimonial of my procrastinating nature.
Before his actual birthday, we had a pre-birthday celebration with Kaiwei over Korean BBQ. Being the birthday boy, Leecher had the honour of picking the restaurant. Without any hesitation, he walked into a Korean BBQ, Super Star K2 Korean BBQ restaurant located along Amoy Street. The place was bustling with diners, despite the fact that it was almost 9PM. Almost every table was occupied and it took almost 15 min before we could grab a table. 
Having dinner with the boys. Yanni was busy with work in office, thus she couldn't join us in this korean feast. 
Before his butt even touched the chair, alcoholic Leecher immediately ordered 2 bottles of soju and 1 bottle of makgeolli to kick start the evening. I used to have a preference of soju over makgeolli. On this day, I decided that I should stick to makgeolli. 
Appetizers to start the meal: Korean seafood pancake and steamed egg soon arrived. The egg was so fluffy that it looked like a gigantic yellowish cotton candy. I couldn't polish this on my own since I was saving my stomach space for other food. 
Once charcoal is being placed, you know that it's time to start to ball rolling. The highlight of the meal arrived shortly. They have a variety of beef, pork and chicken. Price starts from $18 onwards. We had a go at 4 of their meat before deciding to order more. I much preferred spicy chicken over the other cuts/types of meat. Pork belly was awesome too.  
We were given a metal "tray" each with 5 compartments. Leecher & Kaiwei commented that this reminded them of their army days, where they have to take the trays and queue up in  the canteen during meal times, lol! You get your own set of condiments - bean paste, garlic, salt/pepper and onions. 
Let the feast begin (^^)
Superstar K2 Korean BBQ Restaurant
155/157 Telok Ayer Street 
Singapore 068611
Tel: 62212639
On Leecher's actual birthday, he had cravings for Japanese food. Even though I hate going to town during weekend, we headed to Ippudo @ Mandarin Gallery for dinner. We spotted the long queue while heading up the escalator, but Leecher insisted on joining the queue. What to do, birthday boy is the "biggest" on his day. 40 min later, we finally got a table, putting an end to my misery for I was in high heels :)
Birthday boy did the ordering: drinks, appetizers and mains.
The huge array of sake available on display. I was pretty certain that Leecher would definitely order a bottle to go with his meal.
Well, he proved me wrong by ordering Choya cocktails. We had Mandarino and Aranciata Rossa (Red Orange) mixed with Choya to kick start the evening. I was pretty surprised by his mild choice of drinks!
Love the vibrant colour. I was never a fan of choya. However, I was tempted to get a bottle of choya and recreate this drink at home. If Choya is not your cup of tea, you can always head for Umeshu cocktails that comes with tonic, cranberry, sprite or soda.
Leecher trying to get an instragram-worthy shot of the drinks, lol!
Appetizers consisted of beef tataki and spicy shrimps. The prawns were lightly battered and deep fried to a lovely golden brown, served with home-made spicy mayonnaise dip. The dip wasn't spicy at all, it was in fact more tangy which helped to whet the appetite. 
Akamaru chashu, topped with a tamago. This refined, modern-style ramen orginated from Hakata, where the broth is enhanced with special blended miso paste and fragnant garlic oil, served with thin noodles, pork belly, black fungus and spring onions.
I had Spicy Black, which was a mixture of tonkotsu and miso based broth mixed with chili oil and black pepper for that extra oomph. There was a range of ramen toppings to select from, but I always think that a bowl of ramen only looks complete when there is a tamago in it. I have a personal habit of saving the tamago for the last bite too.
Saving the last of our stomach space for Leecher's mini birthday cake. Happy birthday, my dear! 
Ippudo @ Mandarin Gallery
333A Orchard Road #04-02/03/04
Singapore 238867
Tel: 6235 2797
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