Izakaya Nijumaru – Is it still a Secret?

24 02 2011

Despite being around for quite some time, I’d still consider Izakaya Nijumaru a tightly held secret amongst the food blogging community, relying solely on word of mouth in garnering its loyal following over the years. If I hadn’t read about it while food blog surfing, I’d definitely have been oblivious to this hidden gem myself.

Izakaya Nijumaru has a simple dining concept; tasty food at affordable prices while offering an extensive selection. The menu is almost entirely in Japanese so if your romaji sucks and you have no idea what’s the difference between an aji and an ika, you will probably find it much easier to just talk the menu through with one of the many “aunties” who are standing around, though they will probably just recommend you something super generic and safe like the Nijumaru Bento or the Unajyu Set.

Started off the meal with a Japanese staple of Chawanmushi($5++). Silky smooth with no visible trapped air bubbles, that’s all I can ask for and that’s what I got.

Ever heard of Japanese Yong Tau Foo? Well, today’s my first time trying it. It’s called Oden($8++) and comes with 7 pieces, from fish cakes, egg, konnyaku (yes its not only used to make Japanese Jelly if that’s what you are thinking. There’s a fine dining chinese restaurant called Xi Yan on Craig Road which serves Salivating Chicken with Konnyaku Noodles which is rather good, but that’s a story better left for another day…) and some other types which are unknown to me. I can imagine this would go down really well on a winter’s day.

I like the Nijumaru Bento($20++). It’s created for people just like me, people who want a bit of everything, from assorted sashimi to tempura, braised pork belly and grilled saba fish. The sashimi was fresh, especially the salmon. I also loved the grilled saba fish, lightly charred and fatty. Was expecting much more from the braised pork belly though, I felt it was a rather tough and rubbery to chew. Tempura was decently executed.

Unagi lovers will be pleased with the Unajyu Set($20++). Two thick slabs of unagi over a generous bedding of rice. The unagi was really quite charred on one side, but my friend dismissed this quickly and rebutted, “aiya same as eating bbq”. Guess it was just too irresistible for my soon-to-be doctor friend, despite being acutely aware of its carcinogenic properties.

So if you are ever hankering for a casual Japanese meal in town, I’d recommend you give those casual Japanese chains you know so well like Sushi Tei, Sakae Sushi or Waraku a miss and try Izakaya Nijumaru instead. After all, every meal is an adventure!

Bon Appetit!

IZAKAYA NIJUMARU

5 KOEK ROAD, #02-10 CUPPAGE PLAZA

TEL: +65 6235 6693

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