Japanese dining concepts such as Teppanyaki and Shabu Shabu are plentiful in Singapore, but Robatayaki choices are quite limited. Robatayaki, which literally translates to fire-side cooking, was traditionally practiced by Japanese Fishermen when they reach the shore. Their fresh catch was placed on an oar and cooked over coals. Kurama, a newly opened restaurant at Millennia Walk, provides diners with an authentic robata experience in an intimate 15-seater setting.
Robatayaki has evolved from focusing on seafood, to a wide variety of ingredients such as meat and vegetables. Kurama’s menu showcases a plethora of quality ingredients, imported from all around the world. Expect Australian scallops, Alaskan King Crabs, New Zealand Lamb, as well as Japanese Beef and Vegetables.
It’s easy to spot Yoi Sake Bar & Kurama Robatayaki while walking along the stretch of restaurants along Nihon Food Street. The bar, situated at the front, has a metal fence façade and is decorated with colourful carp streamers. Here, you’ll be spoilt for choice-Yoi stocks more than 50 types of sake!
Kurama Robatayaki Restaurant, is located at the behind Yoi Sake Bar. Upon entering, we were greeted with fresh produce, displayed attractively across the wooden counter.
Start on a refreshing note with Kurama’s signatures, Truffle Onsen Salad ($12), where earthy aroma engage the senses, or Tako Wasabi ($8), where fresh raw octopus, chopped and flavoured with a dash of Wasabi, tease the palate.
Robatayaki stole my heart. Ingredients are seasoned minimally, so that one can taste all the original goodness. I also took to the hint of smokiness in the dishes, courtesy of the charcoal grill.
Featured in this starter/ bar bites, Fugu Mirin ($15), is a Japanese delicacy of puffer fish, marinated in mirin. Its texture is similar to the Hokkien Bak Kwa, with savoury notes balancing out sweet hints from the sweet rice wine.
Load up on omega 3s with the nutritious Hamachi Kama ($25), the fleshy collar of yellow tail fish. The pristine and moist meat, laced with smokiness from the charcoal grill, contrasted well with crisps, seasoned skin.
Another star of the night was the Hotate ($20) where plump and succulent scallops are grilled in their shell, with sake, butter and mirin as enhancements.
As prawns are my favourite, I was looking forward to the Kuruma Ebi ($18) with much anticipation. Sadly, the giant king prawn was on the grill for a tad too long, and hence turned out dry.
If you love chicken, you should not miss the Tsukune ($8). It’s not much of a looker, but its taste and mouthfeel are great. Chopped up soft bones, are embedded within minced chicken, doused in savory sauce, and paired with a single raw yolk. Coat the chicken skewer in some egg and immerse yourself in the combination of taste and textures. Every bite is never dull!
Another crowd favourite was the Lychee Ham ($6) where ham is wrapped around a piece of lychee, then grilled slightly. The result? Fantastic!
While the Kinoko Butter Yaki ($15) and Tofuage Karamiso ($10) were wholesome, I though the other dishes very much outshone these. I’d rather spend on the more exciting ones.
Gyu Seiro Mushi ($38) arrived presented in a wooden box. Though the price was a bit steep for a beef bowl, but hey, the quality of the Japanese glutinous grain is great and only Wagyu beef is used. Each mouthful was soft and comforting!
We broke the sugar quota with 3 sweet treats. The pretty Gooseberry Panna Cotta ($16) looks like summer on a plate, but failed to continue impressing because its flavour was too subtle. Also scoring in visual appeal is the Peach Bavarois ($12), an elegant dessert of peach compote, Bavarois cream and raspberry jam, decorated with rose gelee and gold foil. Not only did it cleanse the palate, but also was light on the stomach. We felt totally no guilt eating this. We agreed unanimously, that the best dessert that night was the Houjicha Creme Brulee ($10), which swept us off our feet. The quivering custard was smooth and well- balanced, neither too eggy nor sweet, with the pleasurable flavour of the roasted tea running throughout.
All in all, it was a pleasant dining experience. I especially enjoyed watching the chef work their magic and collecting our food when chef handed them out on oars.
Many thanks to @geekyelephant for invite and Kurama Robatayaki for the warm hospitality.