Japan Food Town Singapore – 16 Japanese Restaurants Open At Wisma Atria!
Japanese food lovin’ Singaporeans will find more reasons to get really excited, especially with the launch of Japan Food Town at Wisma Atria Orchard.
This is a 20,075 square feet food hall on the 4th level of Isetan Singapore (next to Food Republic), which will offer authentic Japanese cuisine at affordable prices.
Japan Food Town’s location is not a bad one – town area, right next to Ngee Ann City where the Japanese are known to hang out and shop.
Having 16 dining restaurants in one place, instead of the typical food court style, can mean that each outlet will have certain level of quality and consistency, and diners will likely make return visits. (Even if you decide to ‘restaurant hop’, the max any group could handle is probably 2-3.)
The food outlets appear to be well-curated, with a level of variety and affordability.
You can expect Dassai Bar (sake), Hokkaido Izakaya (Hokkaido produce), Inaniwa Yosuke (udon), Bonta Bonta (onigiri), Yomoda Soba (soba), Nabe Seizen (the original being a 2 Michelin stared Kaiseki restaurant), Sabar (mackerel), Osaka Kitchen (Teppanyaki), Sushi Takewaka, Machida Shoten (ramen), Temura Tsukiji Tenka (tempura and donburi), Yakiniku Heijyoen, Shabu Shabu Tajimaya, Rang Mang Shokudo (fried chicken), Anzu (farm to table concept).
Here is a first look at the 16 food outlets opened at Japan Food Town:
Machida Shoten #04-40
The ambience here was boisterous and buzzling, which reminded me of ramen shops in Japan. Machida Shoten from Kanagawa prefecture specialises in Iekei ramen, which directly translates to “house-type” from its kanji characters.
This means that noodles are cooked to diners’ preferences, just like how one’s mother might cook it at home. They come in a tonkotsu and shoyu stock, with spicy miso and shio options.
I was recommended the Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen, in which I chose the Special All-In ($17).
The cha-shu indeed tasted like what grandma would have spent hours cooking at home, superbly tender though notches too salty for the average Singaporean’s taste buds.
The slightly thick and flat Yokohama-style yellow noodles reminded me of a slight thinner version of the Hokkien-style noodles, which I did not quite mind. The soup was invariably thick and on the saltier side, so be mindful before slurping the whole spoonful down.
Yomoda Soba #04-53
“Yomoda” supposedly means many things – Carefree, Easy-going – but most of all, it is a word to be used for friends, to see things on the lighter side of life.
Okay, while service was adequate, maybe more than be purported to deliver that warm, carefree sense of fun.
The recommended dishes include Kake Soba ($10.80), Hote Pork Nanban Soba ($16) and Hote Picy Soy Milk Chicken Soba ($22). You can choose either hot or cold versions.
I ordered a Cold Katsu Soba which supposedly came in hot and juicy pork cutlet dunked within the dashi soup.
Enjoyed the bite of the thin and slippery buckwheat soba. The dashi stock made from mackerel, sardines, bonito, kelp and shiitake was expectedly refreshingly.
Tempura Tsukiji Tenka #04-42
Tempura Tsukiji Tenka which specialises in Tempura and Donburi, is run by graduates of the Tokyo Sushi Academy, one of Japan’s top traditional culinary institution.
The recommended dishes are Kaisendon ($24.80) and Tendon ($19.80).
I liked the freshness of the ingredients used in the Tendon – the prawn was sweet, and squid surprisingly tender and NOT rubbery (my friend commented finally no ‘jun jun’ bite). For a place with links to a Sushi Academy, I was surprised that the rice was the weakest link. The batter could have been crisper and less oily too.
38, a number that sounds like ‘Saba’ (Japanese word for Mackerel) with 38 seats, 38 items on the menu, 38cm long mega size toro-saba (yes, you can bring a ruler to measure and reject if it’s not 38cm) and a lunch time from 11.38am – 2.38pm.
Sorry if I sounded 38 (aka bitchy), but this obsession is real when the entire menu is filled with saba dishes (apart from the desserts).
The fresh Toro- Saba Sashimi ($18) were fresh, smooth and were not fishy (Heng ah).
Tsukiji Sushi Takewaka #04-43
Started 28 years ago in Tsukiji, the biggest wholesale seafood in the world, Takewaka maintained a strong relationship with the fishermen there to ensure the best quality for theie EDO style sushi.
Each sushi was prepared with such speed and skill that we could barely blink our eyes.
Rang Mang Shokudo #04-54
KFC! Korean Fried Chicken… I mean Japanese Fried Chicken (karaage)! Marinated in buttermilk for 6 hours and double fried to give is a crispy crunch, it’s offered in 3 different sizes: Small ($8), Medium ($16) and Large ($21).
Interesting sauces include yuzu pepper and wasabi cream that made us go Sugoii desu!
Inaniwa Yosuke #04-45
Specializing in Inaniwa Udon, it’s thinner than normal udon and are slightly chewy in texture. The menu revolved around the Inaniwa Udon, with both chilled and hot version.
Our favourite was the Tempura & Ajikurabe, served with 2 types of Tare: Soy sauce with wasabi and Sesame based with ginger.
The former tasted similar to our usual style of eating soba whereas the latter was richer and more flavourful. Oishii!
Osaka Kitchen #04-46
Specializing in teppanyaki, sitting at the bar table was definitely the highlight as we see the chefs prepared our meals right in front of our eyes.
An interactive and fun experience to speak to the chefs (even though they might not fully understand what we were saying. Wakarimasen!)
Nabe Seizan #04-44
Kaninabe means “Crab Hot Pot” in Japanese, don’t think of the other ways.
Hokkaido Izakaya #04-51
The only one out of the 16 stores that already had another exisiting store at Tanjong Pagar. Ingredients were sourced from 4 cities: Yakumo Town, Furano City, Kamishihoro City, Akkeshi Town and 2 different menus, one for lunch and one for dinner.
Recommended dishes for lunch include the Kakiage Tempura Soba ($12) and Cold Soba with Simmered Meat ($15).
Dassai Bar #04-52
A pop-up bar for 6 months serving premium Junmai Daiginjo sakes. Famous people such as President Obama and Chef Joel Robuchon are one of the few who had tried it.
An entry level sake will cost us $88 for a 720ml bottle, Dassai 39 at $165, Dassai 23 at $278 and Dassai Beyond at $1,100!
It is almost for certain Japan Food Town will pack in the crowds during opening days. Hopefully, the quality will not let us down.
Japan Food Town
435 Orchard Rd, #04-39/54 Wisma Atria Shopping Centre, Singapore 238877
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm Daily
October 01, 2016