Rakuzen’s second outlet opens in Tampines, with a menu offering tasty small dishes and hearty rice offerings.
Contributed By Yong Yung Shin
In a move that has no doubt been met with a great sigh of relief from heartlanders, Japanese restaurant Rakuzen (“to enjoy eating”) has opened its second branch in the hub of Singapore’s east side at NTUC Income Tampines Junction. The first was opened in 2006 at Millenia Walk.
The ala carte menu is replete with small dishes of savouries; highlights include the Mame Aji Tsumami (S$8), which comprises deep-fried small horse mackerel served with a wedge of lemon, and the Ehire (S$8), strips of chewy grilled stingray fins that are thicker than the conventional, thus offering more bite. Simple dishes like the Grilled Japanese Corn With Butter (S$5) are done well too.
One of the specialties is in the simplest thing on the menu—rice. Rakuzen orders its rice from the Akita Prefecture, chosen for its flavor and firm-to-the-bite texture. To ensure maximum freshness, the imported brown rice is milled on the premises to produce white rice. With an option between brown or white rice, diners can choose between Yaki Onigiri (grilled rice) (S$5), Ochazuke (rice served with salmon, salmon roe, plum or spicy cod roe served with clear soup) (S$8) and Kaisen Doria (rice gratin with seafood) (S$12).
Lending some table theatrics from the Special Broiled section in the menu is the Fire Mackerel (S$16), where saba fish marinated in rice wine vinegar is wrapped in konbu and blowtorched in front of the diner. The result is a crisp skin still sizzling underneath, and a smoky flavor. There’s also the Moeyo Beef Roll (S$18), a rather elaborately done-up sushi roll wrapped with thinly-sliced raw tenderloin on the outside, laced with nori in the middle and stuffed with fresh avocado and tempura tenkasu (batter bits)—a mouthful of tastes and textures indeed.
The restaurant also takes pride in the freshness of its sashimi, directly air-flown from the Ishikawa and Kagawa prefectures in Japan—assorted sashimi options range from five to 12 kinds, a selection of premium tuna and salmon belly cuts as well as fresh sea urchin, which is seldom found in out-of-city center restaurants. A popular choice is the Ofune (S$80), featuring eight kinds of sashimi for three to five persons.
Lunch and dinner sets range from S$14 to S$42 per person; vegetarian sets available at S$24, which includes assorted vegetable tempura, avocado and vegetable roll, green salad, grilled shiitake and shishito (Japanese green pepper) skewers, cold tofu and miso soup. For easterners who don’t want to venture to the city center for a nice meal, this is a great addition to the neighborhood dining scene.
300, Tampines Avenue 5, #01-01A, NTUC Income Tampines Junction,
+65 6786 8484