It seems like many Japanese restaurants have been venturing overseas opening new outlets in Singapore. A new Japanese Yakiniku (barbeque) restaurant chain, Ito Kacho has chosen Mandarin Gallery in Singapore for it's first ever outlet outside Japan. Ito Kacho is established in 2009 by Sumikin Bussan (a large Japanese corporation) strived to provide top grade barbequed beef at affordable cost.
Jakasei Potato Salad 3.8/5
While waiting for the rest of the group to arrive, we started with some small bites to fill our hungry stomach. The Jakasei Potato Salad ($11.80) was presented like a volcano with the bacon resembling lava flowing out of the erupted potato salad mountain. The potato salad itself is already quite nice with a smooth creamy texture with occasional discovery of bite size eggs, carrots and onions. I thought the bacon was a bit redundant except for decorative purpose and it was not crisp.
Salmon and Cream Cheese Namaharumaki 3.8/5
I have to admit I took a second look when the Salmon and Cream Cheese Namaharumaki ($10.80) was served. For a moment I thought I have stepped into a Vietnamese restaurant. I didn't know rice paper is used in Japanese cuisine too. The light and refreshing namaharumaki sure whetted up the appetite for more delicious food to come.
Ito Kacho Salad 3.8/5
The Ito Kacho Salad ($8.90) was a refreshing salad consisted of lettuce, onion red and yellow pepper, cherry tomato and fried onion. The healthy greens were brought together nicely by the goma sauce making it a very enjoyable dish.
Kimchi Moriawase 3.5/5
Namuru Moriawase 3.5/5
The next 2 dishes got me a bit confused. First I thought I was in a Korean barbeque restaurant. Second I thought the Kimchi Moriawase ($9.90) and Namuru Moriawase ($8.90) was complimentary just like what we will get in a Korean restaurant. The Kimchi Moriawase is a platter of assorted kimchi consisting of cucumber, chinese cabbage and white radish kimchi. The Namuru Moriawase is another platter of vegetables making up of lightly seasoned white radish, bean sprout, cinnamon fern and spinach. The cinnamon fern was the favourite among the diners.
Dashimaki Tamago 4/5
For a different, the Dashimaki Tamago ($6.80) at Ito Kacho was not as sweet compared to other Japan restaurant. I actually prefer the version served at Ito Kacho because it has a more natural flavour and texture to it.
Wagyu Tongue 4/5
If you are adventurous, you can try the Wagyu Tongue (80gram for $29, 120gram for $39). Unfortunately all the diners in the group were game to it so I didn't get to have more. Lightly seasoned with just pepper and salt, the wagyu tongue needs only 30 seconds on the grill to be cooked. The wagyu tongue actually taste quite nice with its nice marbling. The texture was rather bouncy quite similar to the scallop.
Premium Wagyu Beef 4.5/5
The star at Ito Kacho has to be their premium wagyu beef. We tried the following Wagyu cuts, Toku-Jo-Bara (Premium Short Rib), Tomo-Bara (Karubi Plate), Sasami (Flank Steak) and Kainomi (Flap Meat). Ito Kacho imports these beautiful marbled meat solely from Kyushu. It is also one of the first Yakiniku restaurants in Japan to use chilled meat instead of frozen meat to retain the marbling and giving it a better overall consistency.
Wagyu Toku-Jo-Bara (80g for $50, 120g for $69)
Wagyu Tomo-Bara (80g for $36, 120g for $49)
Wagyu Sasami (80g for $50, 120g for $69)
Wagyu Kainomi (80g for $22, 120g for $29)
US Beef 4/5
Available on the menu, there are US beef too. The cuts on the menu are Jo-Karubi (Short Rib), Nami-Karubi (Chuck Rib) and Rosu (Chuck Tail Flap). After trying the premium wagyu beef, it was quite obvious the flavour of the US beef is subpar to the wagyu beef.
Jo-Karubi (80g for $22, 120g for $29)
Nami-Karubi (80g for $19, 120g for $24)
Rosu (80g for $19, 120g for $24)
If you don't take beef, you can try their Kurobuta Karubi (Pork Belly), Kurobuta P-toro or Tsubo-Zuke-Kurobuta on the menu.
Kurobuta Karubi (80g for $14, 120g for $19)
Kurobuta P-toro (80g for $14, 120g for $19)
Tsubo-Zuke-Jurobuta (180g for $19)
Pork Collar 4.5/5
My favourite among the pork is the Tsubo-Zuke-Kurobuta (pork collar) that comes in a jar. The chef told us that the pork collar was marinated overnight everyday, no wonder it was so flavourful.
Accordingly to the restaurant, the convection system is built into the barbeque pit sucking out any air that rises above the cooking food, ensuring patron does not leave smelling of smoke and barbeque after their meal.
Oo-Ebi Yaki 4.2/5
Ika Yaki 3/5 and Hotate-Yaki 3/5
Moving on to the seafood, we have the Oo-Ebi Yaki ($24), Ika Yaki ($10.80) and Hotate Yaki ($19.8). For the Oo-Ebi Yaki which is Giant Tiger Prawns for grill, these prawns were huge and fresh. The squids and Hokkaido scallops were cooked in aluminum tray over the grill together with some marinade. The squid and scallops were fresh but I thought the seasoning was on the mild side, I was expecting something stronger for the palate.
King Crab Yaki 4.2/5
The King Crab Yaki ($38) was huge and meaty. The meat itself was already so beautiful that we ate it cold without grilling.
King Crab Tempura 4/5
Can't get enough of king crab? For those that like fried stuff, you can tried the King Crab Tempura ($26). Lightly battered and deep fried, its another way of enjoying this lovely seafood.
Spider Roll 4/5
I was wondering what is a Spider Roll ($13.80) when Melissa ordered it. It was actually Soft Shell Crab Sushi Roll. The term spider probably came from the legs of the soft shell crab sticking out from the roll.
Ishiyaki Sundubu Chige 4/5
If you are not into Yakiniku, Ito Kacho also offers a slate of other tradition Korean dishes on the menu. The Ishiyaki Sundubu Chige ($15) for 2 pax comes with a choice of either beef or clam soup base. In the piping hot spicy soup served in sizzling stone bowl, one can find tofu, clams, and mushrooms in it. It was a comforting and hearty soup just nice for the cold weather.
Ishiyaki Bibimbap 4/5
The Ishiyaki Bibimbap ($15) can serve 2 pax too. Not too sure what the sauce is made of but it beautifully brought the dish together. Love the crispy burnt bits of the rice at the bottom of the sizzling hot stone bowl, giving the dish an extra texture enjoyment.
To be frank I am confused by the food served at Ito Kacho. Besides the meats and seafood for grill, the menu includes Korean dishes. So is this a Japanese or Korean restaurant? For some, this may be great as one can have choices. Nevertheless, Ito Kacho does offer top grade meats for the barbeque at a reasonable rate. This is definitely a place to consider if one is craving for barbeque.
333A Orchard Road
Tel: +65 68360111
Nearest MRT: Orchard (NS Line), Somerset (NS Line)
Mon-Fri: 11am - 2pm, 6pm - 11pm
Sat: 11am - 11pm
Sun: 11am - 10pm
1) Alight at Somerset MRT station. Take Exit B to Orchard Road. Head west or turn left onto Orchard Road against the flow of traffic. Walk to destination. Journey time about 8 minutes.
2) Alight at Orchard MRT station. Take Exit C to Orchard Road. Head east or turn right onto Orchard Road. Walk down Orchard to Mandarin Gallery. Journey time about 10 minutes.