Special-Occasion Japanese Omakase

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Just in time for Mothers’ Day this Sunday, here’s a suggestion for a restaurant that will certainly pamper Mum in everyway – from the surroundings, to the service, to the food. Take our Makan Kaki, Chef Tim Ross-Watson‘s word for it – he’s proclaimed Hashida Japanese at Mandarin Gallery as one of, if not THE MOST, memorable meals. Chef Tim admits that he rarely says anything is amazing and is very picky, so trust him when he says this will be one of the most exquisite meals you’ll have. It’s definitely fine-dining, special occasion food, but so worth the money you pay for the quality of the entire experience.

Hashida is an Omakase restaurant and the first to be opened outside of its original home in Tokyo, headed by Master Sushi Chef, Tokio Hashida. Chef Hashida makes regular trips to oversee his restaurant here in Singapore, and if you’re lucky enough as Chef Tim was to have him serve you, you’re in for a sublime treat! Chef Tim’s most distinct memory of his meal at Hashida is when Chef Hashida pulled out the most enormous slab of the freshest Tuna Belly (or Otoro) from under his counter and expertly extracted a huge slice (almost as big as his mobile phone!), which he then gently laid on a tiny ball of sushi rice. These are fish-to-rice ratios that Chef Tim was impressed with. Otoro is the premium part of the tuna belly, fatty and melt-in-your-mouth, looking almost like a slab of marbled beef. Lots of white, with hints of pink. Stunning. This Hashida Sushi Signature is a must-try! Everything is exquisite to look at and taste, yet clean and simple. Even something as basic as Chawanmushi (steamed egg tofu) is elevated.

From start to finish, you will be well-taken care of at Hashida. The interiors are calming, zen and very pristine. The counter seats are comfortable and at just the right height , the service is impeccable and of course, the food outstanding. The Omakase menu changes seasonally, but rest assured you get the very best quality of produce and dish after dish of beautiful food that runs the gamut from sashimi to sushi to noodles, shellfish and meat, all washed down with copious amounts of sake!

Dinners are elaborate and luxurious, but if you prefer, lunch is also a lot of fun, as the chefs engage in a lot of banter with customers for a thoroughly enjoyable, lively experience.

333A Orchard Road
#04-16 Mandarin Gallery

Open Tues – Sunday 12-3pm; 7-10pm (Closed Mondays)

Tel: 6733 2114

Where a Japanese Chef goes for Good Sushi in Singapore

Listen to this week’s super-fresh sushi-laden episode here!

shiraishiHot on the heels of his recent Michelin Star, Terra Tokya-Italian Restaurant’s Chef-Owner Seita Nakahara returns to recommend his favourite Japanese restaurant in Singapore. And when a Japanese chef recommends another Japanese restaurant, it should be pretty darned good, no?

According to Chef Seita, Shiraishi at the Ritz Carlton is the best, for its seasonal produce, which means the menu changes often and you’re guaranteed different dishes prepared with only the freshest Japanese ingredients. That means Chef Seita returns often for a taste of chef-owner Mr Shiraishi Shinji’s exquisite specialty Edomae Sushi and sashimi, straight from Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market. A quick word on Edomae cuisine – the sushi consists mainly of fish (like tuna, bonito, halibut, sea eel and shell fish) caught off the waters of Edo (Old Tokyo). Back then, the lack of refrigeration called for sushi chefs to get creative with various preservation methods, including using sauce, vinegar, ginger and wasabi on the fish, not only to add delicious flavours, but also to prevent the raw fish from spoiling too quickly.

Chef Shiraishi continues this proud tradition at his restaurant, which has been going strong for over a decade now in Singapore. Our Makan Kaki Chef Seita’s absolute favourite dish at Shiraishi is the deceptively basic and simple Negitoro-maki, or tuna roll. Chef Seita says that the tuna, leek, wasabi, rice and seaweed are all perfectly balanced and whilst one order is enough, he finds himself ordering it again and again at one sitting because it’s that good!

As we head into Autumn, Chef Seita urges you to look out for the seasonal Matsutake Mushrooms, which are wonderful in a soup or simply grilled for a delicately fragranced meal. Shiraishi update their menus often, so do check their website for specials and make a reservation soon for their sublime Alacarte, Set Lunches or Kaiseki Dinners.

#03-01/02, Ritz Carlton Hotel, 7 Raffles Avenue, 039799
Open Daily: Lunch 12:00 -2:30pm; Dinner 6:00 – 10:30pm
Tel: +65 63383788

Putting the Tori in Yakitori

Listen to this week’s smokelicious episode!


Yakitori Don (Grilled Chicken on Rice)

There’s nothing quite like the smoky-charred flavour of grilled meats treated with respect and skill, except maybe fresh seafood done the Japanese way and this week, our Makan Kaki Chef Anthony Yeoh recommends a restaurant that combines the best of both worlds.

Chef Asai is the affable grill master of Bincho, a tiny little Japanese Yakitori joint in Tiong Bahru. Literally a hole in the wall, you enter through the coppery back door that it takes you into the bar area, which is decked out in metals, so it’s like being in a submarine. The story goes that the mee pok man running his stall was looking to retire, give way to the setting up of Bincho and simply collect rent from that enterprise, but there was a certain amount of backlash about the gentrifying of Tiong Bahru and edging out of old businesses, so they hit upon a more collaborative idea. Mee Pok man came out of retirement to serve his beloved noodles at lunchtime, whilst Bincho operates side-by-side.

Ultimately, what you get from Bincho at Hua Bee is the unique look and ambiance of a 70-year old traditional kopitiam featuring said old school mee pok stall, classic coffee & kaya toast, classic marble tables with wooden chairs PLUS the modern open-concept yakitori bar with playful Japanese-inspired cocktails as well as Japanese whiskies, sake and shochu.

Bincho serves up wonderful lunchtime Donburi sets ranging from $25++ that includes appetizers, salad, pickles, karage, soup and dessert. Chef Anthony recommends the Uni Ikura Donburi set – it’s luxurious, super-fresh and so delicious.

uni ikura don
Uni Ikura Don

For dinner, there are three types of set menus but be sure to order off the à la carte menu for some extra tasty specialities.

Full Dinner Set with chicken
Side dishes from Dinner Set








The menus at Bincho change frequently depending on what fresh produce is available that day, but chicken in various ways, shapes and forms will always remain the star of the kitchen (that’s where the tori in yakitori comes in!). In fact, if you’re feeling adventurous, don’t miss out on the cock’s comb – gelatinous & soft in texture, it’s a delicacy that Chef Asai does exceptionally well!

Cock’s Comb!

Other smoking-hot favourites include Yakitori shio: grilled parts of chicken served with three types of condiments – yuzukoshō, freshly grated wasabi and mushroom salt an Yakitori tare: Grilled chicken parts dipped into a homemade sauce and served with Japanese mustard, wholegrain mustard and kuro shichimi ‘Black Japanese Seven Spice’.

TOP: Yakitori shio; BOTTOM: Yakitori tare

But do save room for the tsukune, which is essentially a chicken meatball/ patty that is grilled to juicy, tender perfection and made even more delicious with its crowning glory – a raw quail egg cracked right on top!

Tsukune Chicken Meatball

Bincho at Hua Bee
78 Moh Guan Terrace (Tiong Bahru)
Singapore 162078
Tel: +65 6438 4567
Opening Hours:
Tuesday – Sundays: 12pm – 3.00pm
Tuesdays – Sundays: 6pm till late
(Closed Mondays)

Where Chefs Eat: Mauro Muroni of the Mangiatutto Group of Restaurants


Listen to this week’s Makan Kakis talk about their Greek restaurant at Sentosa’s Quayside Isle, Mykonos here.
Listen to Executive Chef Mauro Muroni of the Mangiatutto Group of Restaurants talk about some of his favourite places to eat in Singapore!

Denise with (L) GM Gerri Sottile & (R) Executive Chef Mauro Muroni

Here are some of Mauro’s favourite places to eat in Singapore – obviously as an Italian in the East, he’s more inclined to rave over Asian cuisine, as seen from his choices. It’s all about Japanese, Indian & Chinese cuisine for him!

syunsushiSYUN-codSONY DSC

If you’re ever at Resorts World, you’ve got to try Syun, which is Japanese fine dining at its best, especially if you want some of the freshest sashimi & sushi from their dedicated sushi bar! Click here for more on Syun!


A neighbour to Chef Mauro’s restaurant Mykonos at Quayside Isle is this great place for curries, tandoori and other spicy Indian delicacies. Click here for more on the Earl of Hindh!

signature_dynasty_xiao_long_baola-mian-in-poached-marbled-beef-in-szechuan-style la-mian-with-braised-pork-belly-in-signature-pork-bone-soup

Finally, when he wants a noodle & dumpling fix, Chef Mauro heads to Ion Orchard’s Paradise Dynasty for their famed 8 treaure xiao long bao & soupy noodles. Click here for more on Paradise Dynasty!

Rich, Robust Ramen

Awaodori Ramen
Tonkotsu Ramen Awaodori with Pork Sukiyaki & Raw Egg

This week, we introduce yet another new foodie friend – Deputy Features Editor & Food reviewer from TODAY newspaper, Don Mendoza! And while his bio reveals a refined eye and taste for all things delicious, he confesses that he’s all about value-for-money foods that connect you to familiar, comforting flavours (nostalgia is the best ingredient in any dish), that can be enjoyed casually with the whole family. Keeping these points in mind, Don’s first recommendation for us is a big, satisfying bowl of Japanese noodles from Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King — Matsuri.

Ramen King & chef-owner of the wildly popular Tonkotsu King and Tori King brands, Keisuke Takeda, has taken his in-demand noodles and broths to Parkway Parade, so Easties, rejoice! There’s a reason for the ridiculous queues at mealtimes and this few-months-old outlet is no different – fantastic noodles & really tasty broth = long lines!

Now, we could get into a huge debate about where to find the best ramen in Singapore, so rest assured this is by no means a definitive recommendation, but a recent discovery that really impressed. For Don, his favourite ramen are all pork-based – that hits the spot all the time because the fat means flavour! The stock is seasoned and cooked to a rich, thick consistency, resulting in a broth that is slightly sweet and really creamy in texture. Your bowl of ramen noodles is dressed with Sukiyaki pork and raw egg yolk, which you then break and mix into the already creamy broth. What you get is an even richer, thicker, fuller broth that’s just incredible.

This restaurant doesn’t take reservations, so be prepared to queue during peak hours! But we reckon all that waiting will only heighten the anticipation and the eventual reward!


Read Today Newspaper’s online review here.

Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King – Matsuri
#B1-18A Parkway Parade
80 Marine Parade Road
Open Daily: 11.30am to 10pm

Denise & Don Mendoza
Denise & Don Mendoza

This Izakaya Izawesome!

Aun & Denise
Aun & Denise

Our latest Makan Kaki is one of Singapore’s most dynamic foodies. He’s created restaurants, restaurant guides, and the Ate Group, Singapore’s premier communications agency specialising in F&B. In his free time, he also runs one of Southeast Asia’s most popular food and travel websites, Chubby Hubby. Meet the chubby hubby himself, Aun Koh!

This week, we go big in Japan without even having to board a plane. For an authentic Izakaya experience, you’ve got to try one of Aun’s favourite places to eat – KATANASHI.

It’s the Singapore branch of a bona fide Japanese Izakaya, brought in by Japanese owners, which means almost all the staff there are Japanese and when you walk in, you really feel like you’ve walked into a little piece of Tokyo. For the uninitiated, Izakayas are the Japanese equivalent of gastropubs (but obviously with a much longer history!), serving up mains, snacks & shared plates of really tasty food that pair well with alcohol.

via Katanashi Singapore Branch

Katanashi has a relaxed atmosphere and gives you fantastic value-for-money, especially at lunchtime. Get this, their lunch sets go for only $12! And for that great price, you get a really nice salad and a variety of big rice bowls to choose from. Aun’s 3 favourites are:

  • Toritama Don – juicy chunks of fried chicken with pickle and a soft-boiled egg over rice.
  • Negitoro Don – chopped tuna belly with spring onions and a soft-boiled egg over rice.
  • Salmon Yukke Don – raw salmon marinated in Korean Yukke spices with okra (lady’s fingers) over rice. A lovely, lighter option.

But the ultimate dish that you HAVE TO order when you visit Katanashi is the “KING OF CREAM CHEESE” – doesn’t sound very Japanese, but you’ll find that a lot of Western dishes have popped up on traditional Izakaya menus because they pair so well with alcohol. The King of Cream Cheese is no exception – Western, yet interpreted in a way only the Japanese can. Imagine a very soft, homemade cream cheese, drizzled with honey and served with slices of toasted baguette. Trust Aun – this is simplicity at its phenomenal best!

Also, if you’re feeling cheeky, they also do excellent lunchtime beer specials for just a little extra. Everyone Aun has taken to Katanashi has returned for more, and you will too, for the simple reason: Katanashi is all about delicious food & booze that’s such good value-for-money.


Katanashi Izakaya
77 Boat Quay
Tel: 6533 0490
Open: Mon-Sat 11:45am-2:30pm, 5-11:30pm (but check their Facebook for updates)

Super Secret Japanese is no Secret Anymore!

Meii sashimi

This week, Seetoh reveals a japanese joint he has mentioned before – a highly secretive locally -born, Japan-trained chef who used to run a tiny restaurant that was only open to regulars. But now, said chef has moved and opened a new place in the heart of the CBD, where you are free to enter and taste of his amazingly fresh and tasty creations.

Chef Ah Hong trained – blood, sweat, tears – enduring 13 years of sahimi/ sushi training from Japanese masters before returning to Singapore with a mission to feed people good Japanese food at reasonable prices. So while a meal at his tiny 16-seater restaurant may set you back a couple of hundred bucks, you would have eaten your fill, had your mind blown and paid a lot less than you would at other chi-chi Japanese restaurants.

Generally, you leave things up to Chef and he’ll surprise you – from his light and wonderfully crispy wild yam chips, to his otoro (fatty tuna belly) sashimi prepared chunky fisherman/ kampung-style, to his sushi creations like hand rolls that look like uni (sweet, creamy, sinfully-rich sea urchin) ice-cream cones, to more exotic fare like whole tuna eyes ( they look like tennis balls!) stewed in a umami stock of soy, onions and other secret ingredients – everything is hearty, tasty and down-to-earth.  Just go and be wowed by his creativity, as you eat in a simple, no-frills setting – the focus is 100% on the food here!

Meii Sushi
10 Anson Road
International Plaza
Open for lunch and dinner: Mon-Fri 11:30am-2:30pm, Mon-Sat 6-10pm
Closed Sundays & Public Holidays

Listen to this week’s raw, fresh episode!