OmoteNashi Dining is a hidden gem among the row of Japanese restaurants at Boat Quay, specialising in yakitori and rice bowls.
There is a trend of increasing yakitori restaurants in Singapore, but I find they come with wide differing standards. The last thing you would want to consume is a charred and dry kushi stick.
The perfect yakitori requires three main components – quality ingredients, good charcoal fire, and skillful grilling from the chef.
The restaurant which has both indoor and outdoor seating by the Singapore River, offers a range of Yakitori such as Sasami (chicken fillet) and Tsukune (chicken minced ball), Salads, Nabe (hot pots), Don (rice bowls) and desserts.
Here are some of the highlights
Gosso Dama ($7.80 for 2 sticks)
OmoteNashi specialises in Gosso ごっそ玉. What’s that?
The Gosso Dama is its forte, so much so that the name of the restaurant is sometimes simply known as “Gosso”.
This is actually white chicken liver, wrapped in crepine (fat netting, the thin membrane which surrounds the stomach’s internal), and should be consumed within 40 seconds.
Wait, I don’t even fancy liver that much. The Gosso was the last thing I ordered from the menu, left it out initially until the waitress asked, “You are not ordering Gosso? It is very special. Customers’ favourite.”
And what is this about the 40 seconds? “So gimmicky,” I thought.
The Japanese Head Chef then explained that diners were encouraged to finish the stick within 40 seconds, otherwise the taste would be different. This was his creation, and discovered after hundreds of experimentation.
I watched with my very eyes to see the Gosso grilled patiently (check out the fire), then the waitress and I literally ran over to the table nearest to the Singapore River (that was quite a distance) with a lime green timer ticking away.
Took one photo, noted the time (28 seconds) and ate.
WOW. The inside was so soft, an epitome of ‘melts-in-your-mouth’. It didn’t even taste like liver, like something I never had before. (No it was not tongue-scalding, if you were wondering.)
There was another Gosso stick. The time reflected 60 seconds. Weird, I had it and there was that faint savour of liver, and really not as remarkable as the previous.
Cheese-Tsukune, Chicken Minced Ball with Cheese ($7.00 for 2 sticks)
On to my favourite yakitori stick – the Tsukune, Japanese chicken meatball covered in a sweet tare sauce.
This has an added dimension. It had CHEESE within. Hot, oozing cheese.
That was definitely one of the best Tsukune I ever had – moist, so savoury juicy, had bite, without being starchy.
The Tsukune is made one by one, only upon after ordering, thus taste ‘fresher’.
Stuffed Shiitake Mushroom ($7 for 2 sticks)
This is Shiiitake Mushroom wrapped with the Tsukune chicken minced meat. I noted that there were many chicken sticks on its menu.
“We are proud of our chicken sticks, taste as good as Japan’s” was the response given. FYI, OmoteNashi has a sister restaurant Tsuiteru Maido (69 Boat Quay) few shops down specialising in pork sticks and other Japanese food.
Butamaki Omochi, Rice Cake Wrapped with Pork Belly ($6 for 2 sticks)
Something different. Japanese style rice cake wrapped with pork belly, grilled with soya sauce.
It was bacon wrapped around a sticky, mocha-like textured rectangular block.
Not exactly my kind of thing, but I can understand why people could enjoy this. A note is to eat this almost immediately after serving, and the rice cake would lose its wobbly texture if left for too long.
Butamaki Shimeji, Shimeji Mushroom Wrapped with Pork Belly ($7 for 2 sticks)
So between the two, I preferred the version with shimeiji mushroom.
Momo ($6 for 2 sticks)
One of the classic basics for yakitori – Chicken Thigh lightly sprinkled with salt. I was told the more the meat was chewed, the tastier it would become. Appeared to have some truth.
Tsukimi Tsukune, Chicken Minced Ball with Fresh Egg Yolk ($12.90)
This is the BOMB. Tsukune Chicken in a patty form, topped with fresh egg. Cut, ooze, mix, eat with the accompanying salad.
Chicken Nanban $12.90)
Nanban style deep fried chicken marinated in shio koji (salted rice melt), with dips of a vinegar-like sour sauce and inhouse-made tartar.
This is similar to the Karaage, except that it is fried with egg so you would see light tendrils of egg coating the chicken.
Coming hot and crispy, you can choose to add a dollop of tartar sauce, or leave the pieces to soak up the nanban sauce which should be quite sublime.
Interesting. Deep fried chicken breast, with cheese, oba leaf and tofu skin inside. I thought that the chicken breast meet was somewhat dry though.
Beef Stew Mini Rice Bowl ($5)
There are two versions. I ordered the smaller one to go along with the sticks. This is also available in a larger version with mini salad, miso and dessert for $12++ for lunch. Value-for-money, tasty stuff.
Other styles include Yakitori Don, Beef Sinew Don, Chicken Nanban Don, Tsukune Don, Chicken Sukiyaki Don and Chicken Skin Bibimbap Don.
Mango Daifuku ($7.90)
Daifuku literally means “great luck”. Their version of this Japanese confection consist of soft, chewy glutinous rice covering stuffed with mango ice cream, and topped with mango sauce.
I liked that the skin was pancake-like thin, and ice cream not too sweet.
For lunch, OmoteNashi offers affordable rice bowl sets, and I would recommend the Chicken Nanban and Beef Stew – comforting and filling. Top it up with a few sticks, especially the freshly-made Tsukune.
Come dinner time, you can sit outdoors to enjoy the breeze, with sticks of yakitori matched with sake.
To judge if a Japanese restaurant is worthy, check if there are enough Japanese dining there. The huge lunch crowd, and support from Japanese customers can be a testament of its quality.
OmoteNashi Dining Gosso
No 64 Boat Quay Singapore 049852 (Raffles Place MRT(
Tel: +65 6533 5152
Opening Hours: Lunch 11:30am – 2:30pm, Last Order 2:00pm (Mon – Fri)
Dinner 5:30pm – 12am, Last Order 11:30pm (Mon – Fri)
5:30pm – 12am (Sat)
* This entry is brought to you in partnership with OmoteNashi Dining.