Rockon Tokyo 六酣東京 is an obanzai (おばんざい) specialty restaurant in Tanjong Pagar, perhaps one of the unusual few you can find in Singapore.
Obanzai is a style of Japanese cuisine native to Kyoto, characterised by nourishing and comforting dishes with home-style recipes passed down the generations. Obanzai cooking heavily relies on vegetables and seafood, using ingredients that are in season, but minimises food wastage.
While the restaurant is called “Rockon Tokyo”, the menu reflects the traditional style of Japanese cuisine native to Kyoto, using fresh ingredients with no MSG nor preservatives.
Not only is home-style obanzai cooking healthy but heartwarming as well.
It is a collaboration between Saitama-native Chef Sekiya Katsuyuki and famed sake sommelier Koki Miyoshi.
As the head chef of Akane, the Japanese Association of Singapore, Chef Sekiya has over 20 years of experience specializing in yakitori, eight of which were honed in Singapore.
Chef Sekiya is known for his grilled delicacies, specialty seafood dons, and other obanzai dishes served hot and cold. He offers something new every two weeks, depending on what is available and in season.
The minimalist interior with elements of natural wood exudes a cosy and intimate ambiance.
This is indeed quite a homey experience because only 22 guests can be seated at any time – so please reserve your seats early
Here are some of Rockon Tokyo’s highlight dishes:
Rock On! Tokyo Treasure Box ($106)
Start off with the essential must-order at Rockon Tokyo – Rock On! Tokyo Treasure Box is indeed a tray full of precious culinary jewels.
This set features a tamago kake gohan, a bowl of steamed Japanese rice topped with an egg – the white comes in a form of meringue then torched; while a “well” in the mound of rice to pour the egg yolk into.
The real surprise (sorry I gave it away) comes in the form of white truffle shavings, in which the prized truffle is kept in a limited edition LV ‘bag’.
Break the egg yolk, mix it all up for a creamy, risotto-like texture.
Served separately on a decadent tray are generous plates of uni, caviar, crabmeat and ikura. Savour the flavours of the ocean as you taste each on their own, or mix one or two or all into your luxurious-tasting rice.
Dashimaki Tamago with Double Mentaiko ($24)
Among the hot dishes, try the Dashimaki Tamago with Double Mentaiko especially if you love an egg-centric dish.
This Japanese rolled omelet is prepared by rolling thin layers of beaten egg in a pan like a tamagoyaki. Dashimaki tamago, however, is infused with dashi stock to add an umami flavour.
Double up the flavour as this roll is stuffed with double mentaiko which adds that touch of spiciness.
Karaage with Smoked Japanese Tartare ($17)
Add a crunchy mouthfeel as you bite into these deep-fried fried chicken pieces. Each nugget of karaage is coated in a crispy crust but inside the chicken meat is tender and still juicy.
This is one of those karaage in which I feel there is quite significant contrast between the skin and the meat.
Plus, each order comes with dip of smoked Japanese tartare – so not just the normal mayo.
This special tartare sauce complements the taste of the chicken with boiled eggs and iburi gakko, smoked pickled daikon/radish of the Akita prefecture in North Japan.
KUROBUTA Shabu-shabu Black Pork Salad ($16)
A salad like no other, this simple dish is visually composed of just three ingredients: pork, greens, and sesame seeds.
Behind its simplicity is a complex web of texture and flavour.
Featuring premium meat Kurobuta pork slow cooked over low temperature to give it that utmost butter tenderness. The micro greens add a refreshing crunchy and herb taste.
And as a finale, a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds for a hint of nutty flavour.
Assorted Fresh Sashimi featuring Kuro Maguro ($40)
Fresh Kuro Maguro is an assortment of prime cuts of lean and fatty Japanese blue fin tuna served on a platter.
Depending on availability, fish could change source from Oma and Minmaya (Aomori) to Toi (Hokkaido) and Shiogama (Miyagi).
Flown from different locations in Japan, the fresh cuts of fish are served with special sauces and condiments to bring out their natural sweetness.
Chūtoro with Narazuke Pickles ($36)
Another recommended tuna and narazuke combo is the Chūtoro with Narazuke Pickles.
Feel the melt in your mouth softness of the medium fatty tuna usually found near the skin on the back and belly.
Rather than eating the sliced fish plain on its its own, you can wrap up these bite sized slivers of chūtoro with some shredded narazuke pickles (the pickles are pickled in a mixture of both sake and mirin), a sprinkling of chopped onions and in a nori (seaweed) sheet.
Homemade Chicken Dumpling “Tsukune” ($8)
Try some kushiyaki from the charcoal grill. This tsukune is a Japanese chicken meatball cooked yakitori style on a skewer.
Prepared homemade, the chicken dumpling remains juicy and complemented with a sweet soy yakitori tare when grilled; with an optional egg yolk dip.
Other recommended skewers include the Koji-marinated “Gyutan” Beef Tongue ($14), and Miso-marinated Pork Shoulder ($6).
Home-made Honey Lemon Pudding ($8)
Cap off your Japanese meal with a home-made sweet-sour pudding served in a small cup, torched before serving for a layer of caramelization which make remind you of crème brûlée.
Flavoured with the sweetness of honey and the bright sparkling acidity of lemon, this delicate and velvety pudding is an ideal palate cleanser to a series of rich, satisfying dishes.
Sake Lees Ice Cream with Charcoal Grilled Pineapple ($12)
For something cool, try the Sake Lees Ice Cream with Charcoal Grilled Pineapple. Find a reason to celebrate with this frozen treat spiked with a dash of sake lees (The taste of sake lees or sake kasu is fruity and has a similar taste to Japanese sake.)
The tropical flavours of pineapple get a mild charred taste with the grilling, mellowed with a sprinkling of green tea tapioca.
Rockon Tokyo Omakase ($88)
If you can’t decide, leave things up to the chef with its omakase menu that will serve 8 delectable courses for $88.
It will include a starter, assorted obanzai, a warm dish, seasonal sashimi, charcoal-grilled seasonal fish, seasonal fried fish, tamago kake gohan and a homemade honey lemon pudding for dessert.
You may add on the Rock On! Treasure Box for $90, a Gout-O I.C.U (ikura, caviar and uni atop rice) for $60 or 5 glasses of sake pairing for $60 (60cc each).
Their range of sake is quite impressive, featuring premium and rare ones, including a fave of the Emperor of Japan.
* This entry is brought to you in partnership with Rockon Tokyo.