Dining

Review: JYPSY is a new Japanese casual dining spot with PS.Cafe vibes

You might consider PS. Cafe the O.G. of Instagrammable cafes. Well JYPSY offers a relaxed, contemporary and playful approach to Japanese cuisine with PS.Cafe’s DNA in mind
 

Photo: JYPSY

Like its namesake, JYPSY is casual and unconventional. The J is a nod to the Japanese cuisine, while the PS refers to the group founded by Singaporeans Peter Teo and Philip Chin, and Brit Richard Chamberlain.

The sun-lit 65-seater is as expansive and homely as every PS. Cafe. Including the one right next door. It evokes a coastal theme, decked out in serene hues of whites and blues. The wood tones, fabric lanterns and plump cushions lend the room an elegant, cosy vibe. Only apt given its close proximity to historic riverside enclave Robertson Quay.

The trio played a big part in its conceptualisation. You can thank their background in fashion and design for that. The two-seater lounge chairs, the round dining tables and lanterns were designed from scratch.

 

Photo: JYPSY

 

The menu is created by chef Takashima Osamu. Having worked in Japan, Australia and Singapore, he is trained in both authentic Japanese cuisine and modern concepts. And it shows. Blending worldly whimsy with a taste of home, oysters are from the Hyogo prefecture - a place near his hometown Osaka, and the rice in the sushi rolls come from Hokkaido.

Have the classic sashimi the traditional way (air-flown fish is served with nama wasabi and shoyu), or try his recreation. Dubbed JYPSY sashimi, the varieties give a taste of how JYPSY is inspired by the nomadic and the free spirited. One of them is the JYPSY’s bluefin tuna ($24). Dusted with shichimi furikake and a dollop of avruga caviar, it's one instance of how the restaurant lends a novel touch to premium Japanese produce.

 

Photo: JYPSY

PS. Cafe regulars know it for its truffle fries. Like any younger sibling worth her salt, JYPSY follows suit by putting its own spin on the golden brown snack. Called the nest of fries ($11), it uses crispy shredded potato, white truffle oil, wasabi mayonnaise and teriyaki balsamic sauce. It’s also a reinvention of the traditional kakiage dish of tempura chopped vegetables. It's crunchy and light, with the funky earthy aroma of truffles. 

 

Photo: Hoe I Yune

But if you were to only order one appetiser, we recommend the moreish salmon tacos ($14). Made of seaweed, the crispy shell is stuffed with tomato salsa, avocado and diced raw king salmon drizzled with wasabi mayo and salmon roe. Squeeze a little lemon for an extra zest. It’s a delightful burst of flavour. We might have gotten our hands dirty but we’d gladly do it again.

 

Photo: JYPSY

Still, we’re glad that we saved room for the smoky wok hei unagi fried rice ($22). Carbs provide a satisfying kind of comfort but it’s not just the rice that makes us want to rave about this hearty dish. Every aspect of it - the sweet, soft slabs of grilled unagi, the pickled slaw, the silky tofu, the shreds of omelette - make each mouthful a real treat.

This new urban escape is designed to be a crowd-pleaser for group hangouts and date nights alike. So what better way to wind down than by enjoying one of the delicious cocktails? We had the sake spritz ($17). If sweet, refreshing and fruity is your kind of thing, we say go for it. There’s sake, St-Germain and plum and fig in the tipple.

JYPSY is at 38 Martin Rd. Tuesdays to Sundays: 11.30am-4pm, 5.30pm-11pm.

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