Saturday, April 21, 2018

Tokachi Tontaro @ OUE Downtown Gallery - Hearty Butadon Less Than $12 in The Heart Of CBD


Tokachi Tontaro at OUE Downtown Gallery specialises in Butadon, a well-loved pork rice bowl originated from Tokachi, Hokkaido, a place where pig farming started in the early 1900s. While each shop may use similar method of simply grilling the pork over charcoals, every shop owns its butadon by imprinting every bowl with their very own tare made with soy sauce and sugar. This special tare is used to steep the pork before grill, which also seeps deep into the rice in the bowl and flavouring each don, whetting the appetite of their customers.


At Tokachi Tontaro, the porks are from Kagoshima and US. As explained by the owner, as Kagoshima produces and exports a higher quantity of pork, there is a higher consistency compared to that of Hokkaido. Premium Butadon ($22.80R, $25.80L) features this better quality pork with the original tare. If you just want to experience what a Butadon is, you can just go for Regular Butadon ($11.80/$13.80/$16.80) which uses the US pork that will only cost half the price!

Premium Butadon 4.2/5

Looking forward to a bowl of Kagoshima pork that is lip smacking juicy and flavourful but ours seem to fall short of expectations.Perhaps due to the leaner type of pork that the owner has decided to use, mostly due to the feedback from the waistline of the conscious CBD crowd. The rice though, was yummy with the special tare and partly thanks to the state-of-the-art rice washing machine that was purchased to preserve the quality of the high grade Japanese rice right from the start.

Spicy Tomato 4/5

If you would like some heat, you can opt for the exclusive Spicy Tomato ($11.80/$13.80/$16.80) that comes with extra sauce should you need more of the kick. I would prefer it to be more tomatoey.  It uses the US Pork. While the US pork is tender, somehow the flavours that they exude lack the aroma and dimensions that I get from the Japanese counterpart.

Miso Butadon 3.8/5

Another variation is the Miso Butadon ($12.80/$14.80/$17.80) that uses the US Pork. Unfortunately te kitchen seems to be a bit heavy with he peppers, overwhelming the miso flavours.

Salmon Don 2.5/5

Catering to the non-meat crowd is the Salmon Don ($17.80). I don't remember the last time when I had such a dry and overcooked salmon in a Japanese joint.

Hokkaido Imomochi Cheese 4/5

Hokkaido Crab Cream Croquette 4/5

We tried 2 sides - Hokkaido Imomochi Cheese ($6.50) and Hokkaido Crab Cream Croquette ($7). When they are all hot and oozy, you may derive greater pleasure from them than the mains.

All the dons can be upsize to include Onsen Egg, Tofu salad and drink. Adding the Onsen egg and mix it together with the rice, definitely up the satisfaction by a notch.

Written by Si An. A girl who is allured by travelling, loves the feel of freedom, smell of the rain and the aroma of fine coffee and food.

Tokachi Tontaro 
OUE Downtown Gallery
6A Shenton Way
Singapore 068815
Tel: +65 62241470
Nearest MRT: Tanjong Pagar (EW Line)

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 11am - 930pm
(Closed on Sun)

1) Alight at Tanjong Pager MRT station. Take Exit B. Walk to traffic light junction. Cross the traffic light to Maxwell Road. Turn right and walk towards Shenton Way. Walk to destination. Journey time about 5 minutes. [Map]

Friday, April 20, 2018

Yan Restaurant (宴) @ National Gallery Singapore - A New Soulful Private Dining Style On Top Of The Fine Cantonese Cuisine


Having already visited Yan Restaurant numerous time, I find myself back at the Cantonese restaurant for the new and expanded menu put together by their new Executive Chinese Chef Lai Chi Sum. He has injected a soulful element into the fine Cantonese cooking at Yan.

Shark Cartilage Broth with Wanton 4.5/5

Dinner at Yan started with a bowl of smooth and creamy Shark Cartilage Broth with Wanton ($18/pax). The wantons in the soup look like 2 goldfish swimming in the soup. They are wrapped in a thin translucent skin with minced chicken and crunchy prawn filling.

Baked Crab Shell with Crab Meat and Onion 4.2/5

I remembered have the Baked Crab Shell with Crab Meat and Onion ($18/pax) when I was younger but I have seen this on the menu for a long time. I was told that the dish was created in Hong Kong back in the early 80s when the economy was booming from overseas investments and business from America and Japan. Cantonese restaurants back then introduced dishes with Western influences so as to attract these high spending diners. The flower crabmeat is removed from the shell, cooked in bechamel sauce, mushroom and onion in superior stock before stuffing it back. It is then covered with bread crumbs and baked for 3-5 mins. You get the texture from the bread crumbs and the sweetness from the flower crabmeat and caramelized onions.

House Special Bake Pork Ribs with Black Olive 3.8/5

A new dish on the menu is the House Special Bake Pork Ribs with Black Olive ($13.80/pax). Chef Lai uses the Teochew preserved pitted black olive to pair with the pork rib. The pork rib is steamed and fried to golden brown before being sauteed with black olive sauce. A layer of sweetness coated around the succulent pork rib.

Steamed Kampong Chicken with Ginger Spring Onion 4.8/5

I felt the Steamed Kampong Chicken with Ginger Spring Onion ($25 half/ $50 full) best showcases Chef Lai's private dining style of cuisine. Using free range kampong chicken from Malaysia, the tender chicken is topped with chopped ginger, spring onion and scallion oil. The highlight is the ginger spring onion and scallion. It is so flavourful that I can have it alone with the steamed rice. This dish is a must try and needs to be order a day in advance.

Steamed Thousand Layer Beancurd 4.5/5

Though the menu has expanded, it has also retained some of the all time favourites such as the Steamed Thousand Layer Beancurd ($22/$33/$44). The skillful knife skill of the chef is demonstrate in the dish, cutting the silky tofu into equal shape and sizes.

Braised Mee Pok with Fresh Mushroom and XO Sauce 4.8/5

The other dish I enjoyed a lot is the Braised Mee Pok with Fresh Mushroom and XO Sauce ($22/$33/$44). This is probably the most expensive mee pok I ever eaten but it certainty won me over with the noodle's texture and the flavourful sauce that holds the dish together. Everything components simpl come together like a beautiful painting.

Chilled Peach Resin with Diced Honey Dew 3/5

Wrapping up the dinner is the Chilled Peach Resin with Diced Honey Dew ($8). A light and refreshing dessert that is ideal to wash down all the richness and somewhat cleanses the palate.

Overall I have enjoyed the new dishes on the new menu. I like Chef Lai's new finely executed home-style meals. Indeed he has brought heartwarming dishes to the table and rejuvenated Yan.

Noted: This is an invited tasting.

Yan Restaurant (宴)
National Gallery Singapore
1 St Andrew's Road
Singapore 178958
Tel: +65 63845585
Nearest MRT: City Hall (EW Line, NS Line)

Opening Hours:
Daily: 1130am - 230pm, 6pm - 1030pm

1) Alight at City Hall MRT station. Take Exit D. Turn left and walk down North Bridge Road. Turn left onto Coleman Street. Walk down Coleman Street. Walk to destination. Journey time around 5 minutes. [Map]


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