Nori Nori Yakiniku
Nori Nori Yakiniku in Telok Ayer Street is a choice place to escape the midday heat and enjoy lunch away from the madding crowd.
The lunch menu, launched on Aug 21 and available from 11.30am to 2.30pm, offers five specials.
The Japanese restaurant, which opened in May, intends to change some of the items regularly for variety.
Go for the Wagyu-don ($22++), which comprises grilled Japanese A5 wagyu steak, garlic chips and an onsen egg on a bed of fluffy short-grain Hokkaido rice.
For standard orders, the beef is cooked to medium doneness with a pink centre. The meat is flavoursome but a tad chewy, so I suggest you request it to be cooked medium-rare for more tenderness.
A luscious beef jus-based sauce, which is viscous and the shade of toffee, is drizzled on the juicy slices of wagyu.
If red meat is not for you, try the Bara Chirashi ($23++), an assortment of raw cubed salmon, tuna, scallop, hamachi and ikura (salmon roe), along with tamagoyaki (grilled egg) and cucumber. The bowl is prettily topped with shredded crabstick.
While most of the seafood is fresh, the tuna could be fresher. The rice is also a little too wet from the dressing of vinegar and shoyu. It is preferable that the wasabi is served dry, in the bowl, instead of swimming in a saucer of shoyu.
Overall, the portion sizes offer decent value for money.
For each lunch special, you can add up to three items – the appetiser of the day, the soup of the day and a drink – to make up a set. The add-ons are priced at $4++ for one item, $7++ for two items and $10++ for three items.
On my visit, the appetiser is horenso ohitashi, or spinach in a Japanese shoyu and dashi dressing. I find the dressing too salty, but the hearty nameko miso soup of the day – packed with wakame (seaweed), tofu cubes and the slippery amber-brown nameko mushrooms – makes up for the flaw in the appetiser.
For beverages, skip the soft drink options and go for either the iced houjicha (roasted green tea) or iced matcha (green tea). Both taste full-bodied even if you order them iced and are a welcome respite from the heat outside.
Other a la carte items to try are the Momotaro ($8++) and Kaki Fry ($9++ for five pieces). The Momotaro is named after its star, a sweet juicy Japanese variety of tomato, which is served in a pool of tangy and savoury housemade wafu dressing and a sprinkle of sesame seeds, topped with fine flakes of bonito.
The Kaki Fry is made using fat Hyogo oysters encased in light crisp panko. The oysters have that briny taste without fishy odours. The accompanying dip of mayonnaise has a citrusy edge from yuzu and it is amped up with tobiko and dried seaweed flakes.
Where: Nori Nori Yakiniku, 180 Telok Ayer StreetMRT: Telok AyerOpen: 11.30am to 2.30pm, 5.30pm to 11pm, Mondays to Saturdays; closed on SundaysTel: 9782-2190
GBowl Seafood Bar and Beer
While seafood is supposed to be GBowl’s signature, the dishes to zoom in on are the carb-laden ones.
The top pick is easily the KL Dai Lok Mee ($9). The heady aroma of pork lard hits the nostrils even before the first bite.
Cooked the way they are in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, the thick noodles, coated in a glossy dark sauce, are sinfully infused in pork oil. Golden lard nuggets are buried underneath the prawns, clams, tender slices of pork and cai xin.
Another carb-loaded dish worth blowing your calories on is the Crispy Bee Hoon ($8), which is deep-fried rice vermicelli partially doused in a clear starchy eggy gravy, with the same accompaniment of seafood and sliced pork as the noodles.
The cream-coloured beehoon is expertly fried, and crispy without any burnt bits.
The Prawn Paste Mid Wing Chicken ($12 for seven pieces) is also done well at this casual joint. The crust is melt-in-the-mouth crispy, while the midjoint meat is thoroughly marinated with the addictive salty flavour of shrimp paste.
For more options to accompany your beer, go for the Crispy Chicken Skin ($10). You get large pieces of golden-brown chicken crackling, sprinkled with a housemade mix of chilli powder and salt.
Presented in a banana leaf-lined stainless-steel paella pan, the Sambal Stingray ($20) is a head-turner.
You get two large slices of fat, meaty, fresh-tasting stingray slathered in housemade sambal paste. The fish is somewhat bland and could do with more seasoning.
The sambal is moderately spicy, but lacks a tangy finish. A bolder use of tamarind would boost its flavour. The stingray comes with sliced red onion tossed in a spicy marinade on the side, but sadly, cincalok is missing.
If you fancy splurging a little more, go for the signature GB Seafood ($38), which is a medley of prawns, slipper lobster, squid, mussels, half-shell scallops, clams, sweet corn and sausage.
Apart from the prawns having a mushy texture, the other items are delectable and skilfully blanched. Choose from four sauces: sesame-based G Wok Sauce, Mala, Tom Yum, and the popular creamy and slightly sweet Garlic Butter.
Where: GBowl Seafood Bar and Beer, B1-61 Golden Mile Tower, 6001 Beach RoadMRT: Nicoll HighwayOpen: 6pm to 2am daily; closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays on the second and third week of each monthTel: 8038-8308
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