From The Straits Times    |

#B1-02/02A/03 Palais Renaissance, tel: 6737-1065. Open daily, 11.30am-3pm and 6-10pm.

With its raw wood interior and fishing ornaments, this restaurant that serves up authentic robatayaki (grilled seafood, meats and vegetables) is reminiscent of a fishing village – rustic and homely.

Our picks:
– The a la carte robatayaki menu starts from $3. We tried the tender beef, juicy chicken, and asparagus wrapped in beef, which came with a tasty homemade dip.
– The Unaju Set ($22) is a value-for-money lunch set that comes with a chawanmushi with yuzu peel, a selection of fresh sashimi and succulent grilled eel served with rice.
– The Crayfish from Kyushu ($6) is boiled in seawater – the way native fishermen prepare it. It’s served au naturel, bringing out the freshness and sweetness of the crayfish.
– For dessert, you can’t go wrong with the Japanese-style Creme Brulee ($8). The layer of adzuki beans under the custard is a nice surprise, lending that extra bit of sweetness to every bite. 

#01-01, 54 Blair Road, tel: 6222-8846. Open daily, 11.30am to midnight.

Housed in an unassuming whitewashed shophouse, this cosy eatery offers a good variety of yakitori, sushi, rolls, sashimi and dons. It features a choice of dining spaces – an alfresco seating area, main dining area and a sushi and sake bar. 

Our picks:
– The Signature Yakitori ($19) is a platter of their signature skewers – chicken wings, Kagoshima pork belly, salmon belly cubes, chicken breast with cod fish roe mayonnaise and wagyu beef. Our favourites: salmon belly, with its a fatty, melt-in-your-mouth texture, and tasty pork belly that was not overwhelmingly porky.
– The Kagoshima Pork Belly Don ($35) comes with the most addictive garlic fried rice we’ve ever tasted. The thin strips of tender, grilled pork belly also held their own nicely. 
– Also worth trying is the Shiro Maguro Carpaccio ($29). The white tuna sashimi is only mildly fishy and has a meaty texture, while the dash of truffle oil adds a luxurious touch.
– The Kuro Goma Yam ($15) dessert is a ball of deep-fried yam on a scoop of sesame ice cream – a good contrast of hot and cold that is not too cloying nor oily.

66 Circular Road, tel: 6536-4875. Open Mon-Thu, 11.30am-3pm, 5.30-10.30pm; Fri, 11.30am-3pm, 5.30pm to midnight; Sat, 5.30pm to midnight; Sun and public holidays, 11.30am to 3pm.

An online ramen delivery service that’s a household name in Japan, Takumen has set up its first brick-and-mortar shop in Singapore. Try signature bowls from six famous Japanese ramen shops, whose chefs made a trip here to impart their recipes to Takumen’s chefs.

Our picks:
– Just looking at the bright red broth of the Bingiri Ramen (from $19.90) should prepare you for what’s to come. Reminding us of the tongue-numbing ma la flavour of Szechuan cuisine, the fiery ramen gets its spiciness from three types of peppercorns and the token Japanese chilli oil thrown in. Our favourite of the lot, this offers a real kick of flavour. Add an onsen egg for an extra $2. 
– The Hajime Ramen (from $14.90) hits all the right spots with its light yet flavourful chicken broth and generous slabs of juicy chicken breast.
– Aromatic and savoury, the Honda Shoten Ramen (from $15.90) has a rich porky taste and fatty cha shu, and will appeal to traditional ramen lovers.
– A combination of chicken- and pork-based broth, the Sakutaya Ramen (from $16.90) imparts a homely vibe, with a thick, comforting broth that grows on you.

#02-01 Marina at Keppel Bay, 2 Keppel Bay Vista, tel: 6271-7414. Open Mon-Sun, noon to 2.30pm and 6-10.30pm.

A multi-concept restaurant serving a combination of sushi, robatayaki and teppanyaki, Takumi Kacyo has a to-die-for view overlooking the picturesque marina at Keppel Bay. The top-grade seafood is flown in daily from Tokyo’s famed Tsukiji Market.

Our picks:
– The star dish was the Premium A5 Wagyu Tenderloin ($120). Even when grilled to well-done, it was juicy and had a refreshing acidity, courtesy of the citrusy ponzu sauce.
– Takumi’s Style Caesar Salad ($14) has chunks of salmon done aburi-style (lightly charred on top), paired with a light homemade Caesar dressing.
– Charcoal grilled to perfection, the flesh of the Grilled Kinki Fish ($18) has a melt-in-the-mouth texture.

Level 4, Mandarin Oriental Singapore, tel: 6885-3595. Open daily, noon to 2.30pm and 6-10pm.

Teppanyaki fans, rejoice! This new restaurant specialises in teppanyaki but also has a range of sashimi and sushi rolls on offer. Located in the Marina Bay area, it’s the perfect spot to take in views of the city skyline while indulging in contemporary Japanese cuisine.

Our picks:
– Their signature starter, Kumi’s No 1 ($13.50), is a rich and savoury combination of crab meat, creamy avocado and white fish served in a baked dome, with a special cheese sauce.
– Get the Rainbow Roll ($25.50) to share. The California rolls are generously packed with crab meat and avocado, and wrapped with fresh slices of tuna and salmon sashimi. For something with more kick, the Spicy Tuna Roll ($21) is perfect. 
– The Seafood Teppanyaki (from $78) lunch set is a substantial meal of fresh scallops, salmon, king prawns, mushrooms, zucchini, asparagus and capsicum that’s served with rice.

Level 10 OUE Tower, 60 Collyer Quay, tel: 8425-7835. Open Mon-Sat, noon to 3pm and 6-10.30pm.

If exclusivity and decadence are what you’re after, this eight-seat haute Japanese restaurant is it. Housed within Tong Le Private Dining, a classy, modern Chinese restaurant, it is helmed by one-Michelin star Japanese kaiseki chef, Nobumasa Mieda. It specializes in kaiseki (a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner) sushi, but also serves a la carte dishes in dainty portions. If you have a taste for adventure, there’s fried fugu (pufferfish), uni (sea urchin) and cod milt (cod sperm), which are rarely served even in high-end Japanese restaurants. 

Our picks:
– We love the umami of the Snow Crab with Sea Urchin Bonito Jelly and Spinach ($50), a mash of crab meat and savoury jelly with a dollop of a slightly sweet uni and a side of steamed spinach.
– The highlight of the Abalone & Barracuda with Cod Roe and Kyoto Carrot ($60) was the creamy cod milt – it’s exotic and almost tasteless, but pairs well with the sweet carrot and abalone.
– The Deep Fried Fugu with Manganji Red Pepper ($45) was lightly battered and not overly flaky, nicely balanced by the heat of the red pepper.
– The nine-piece kaiseki sushi platter (from $120) was heavenly, with supremely fresh tuna, salmon belly, flounder, tiger prawn and uni on slabs of warm sushi rice, served one piece at a time. 

15 Queen Street, tel: 6703-8703. Open Mon-Thu, 10am-8pm; Fri, 10am-10pm; Sat, 8am-10pm; Sun, 8am-8pm.
Few cafes, or even restaurants, have the luxury of space that Asanoya Bakery enjoys, with its high ceiling and full-length glass panels. More than just a place for bread and pastries, this bakery-cafe makes for an energizing pit stop for salads and quiches, too.

Our picks:
– When a loaf of bread weighs up to a hefty 1.8kg, it is no wonder they sell it by weight. The Karuizawa Raisin Bread ($2.60 per 100g) is crusty on the outside and pillowy soft on the inside – best eaten fresh, and perfect with a cup of floral tea. Also good with tea is the Fruit Rye ($12.50 a loaf), with its addictively eclectic mix of rum raisins, orange peel, almonds and walnuts.
– The Fruit Danish ($3.20 each) was a surprise hit. The gleaming berries and peach were oh-so-enticing, but what really stood out were the crisp, flaky pastry and the bed of light cream beneath the glazed fruits.

9A Dempsey Road, tel: 6479-5518. Open daily, 11am-10pm.

The sleek, modern decor and cushy armchairs at this French-inspired Japanese patisserie are well-suited for afternoon tea with the girls or an after-dinner sojourn with Hubby.

Our picks:
– Prepared table-side, the silky, tissue-thin Crepe Suzette ($22) is drenched in orange juice sauce and butter, and lit with heated Grand Marnier. Be warned, though – it packs quite an alcoholic punch that some might find a tad heady.
– The Dome ($29) is a chocolate sphere that holds a parfait biscuit with almond and strawberry. When set aflame, it dissolves into a delicious mess of melted chocolate, strawberry and crunchy biscuit.
– Go for the Lemon Tart ($7.50) if you like a bit of zing. This was the right balance of tartness – with a bottom layer of almond cream, topped with smooth, zesty sour lemon cream.
– The light, refreshing Iced Muscat Tea ($8.50) is infused with the fragrant aroma of Muscat grapes, and was sweet and delicious even sans sugar syrup.

This article was originally published in Simply Her April 2015.