This particular stretch of Tanjong Pagar is an interesting one – Korean restaurants (and wedding bridal shops) along one end, and populated with Japanese restaurants on the other. The area nearer to Orchid Hotel.
“Should I blog about this ah?” I wanted to keep this restaurant the way it was, for ‘fear’ that there would be even longer queues and reservation waitlist, and it is a small space. (No chance for me liao.)
“But… you shouldn’t be selfish.” I was reminded that I should share the love. So here is, Hokkaido Izakaya.
This is one Japanese Izakaya in Singapore that quite had the ‘izakaya’ mood – energetic, boisterous, noisy, cramped, a few drunk Japanese businessmen and service staff pronouncing ”I-rra-sha-i-ma-se!!” accurately and with gusto. (Not “i-anyhow-se”)
The only elements missing were the smokiness, and that the interior still looked new and not aged enough. I mean this jokingly, of course.
Hokkaido Izakaya purports serving quality Hokkaido dishes cooked with fresh ingredients specially imported from 4 cities in Hokkaido: Yakumo town, Akkeshi town, Furano town, and Kamishihoro town.
The menu featured the best-selling Kakiage Tempura Soba ($14), Sea Urchin wrapped with Wagyu Beef ($35), Milk Hotpot with Salmon ($18) and Kinki Shabu Shabu ($28), supposedly reliable choices for a fail-safe dinner.
The soba prepared fresh at the restaurant, made with buckwheat flour, stock cooked using Hokkaido soba powder.
I wasn’t that over the moon taste-wise – the soba had a weird aftertaste which I didn’t fancy 100%.
The mixed vegetable strip tempura was brilliantly crisp though, wouldn’t leave the oil on your lips kind. I mixed a portion in the hot comforting soba soup for a moment, and that still remained crunchy.
Beef sashimi is not that commonly found in Singapore, let alone Wagyu Beef Sashimi, with UNI wrapped within.
Beautiful marbling, smoky creamy uni. I am a fan of each individually, but wondered about them coming together.
It was actually those simpler dishes that got my heart, such as the Potato Salad with Smoked Egg ($9). After all, Hokkaido is known for their potatoes.
I wish to find some beautiful descriptive words, but let’s just say the potatoes have ‘good potato flavour’ and it would be hard to go back to ‘normal potatoes’ after you tried some of these.
The $6 Miso Soup with Hanasaki Crab was my source of warm comfort, the essence of that sweet, sumptuous crustacean captured in a few spoonfuls.
There are some seasonal items when I visited, such as Scallop Liver Sashimi ($9) ”Seriously, what?, Herring Sashimi ($12) and Deep Fried Black Rockfish ($24) in sweet vinegar gravy.
How did the two of us manage to eat this much?? Anyway, a word of caution: the izakaya is rather cramped, and I would recommend you to order dishes one by one, rather than all at once. No space.
The beauty of Hokkaido Izakaya is partly on its fresh produce, but what attracted me was the vibes that momentarily made me feel I am in Japan once again.
95 Tanjong Pagar Road Singapore 088516 (next to Blue Ginger Restaurant)
Tel: +65 62217118
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 2:30pm Last Order 2pm, 6pm – 12am Last Order 11pm (Mon – Sat)
11:30am – 2:30pm Last Order 2pm, 6pm – 10:30pm Last Order 9:30pm (Sun, PH)