Thursday, September 29, 2022

IKO Restaurant & Bar @ Neil Road - Unique Modern-Japanese Bistronomy


Opening the doors to IKO Restaurant & Bar, you'll immediately be greeted by an eclectic playlist put together by IKO's new Chef-Owner, Dylan Ong. It goes hand in hand with the vibrant vibes, quirky decor and brand new modern Japanese menu to bring a whole new dining experience. Marrying Chef Dylan's love for Japanese cuisine and knowledge of European cooking techniques, you can look forward to a refreshed menu every couple of months.

Oysters 4.2/5

We had an appetising start to our meal with fresh, plump Oysters ($21 for 3pc) served with wasabi lychee granita and sake. It was extra refreshing and zesty with the dash of lime juice added.

Iko-Bee 3.8/5

Next was a fun snack, the Iko-Bee ($15). Inspired by Calbee and shaker fries, you pour sour cream and bottarga powders into a bag of homemade hand-sliced chips. Shake it all up thoroughly and pour them out to enjoy. The crisp chips were good to go with our sake drinks.

Negitoro Ice Cream 4/5 & Salmon Ice Cream 4.2/5

These are an innovative twist to your usual ice creams. The Negitoro Ice Cream ($18 for 2pc) has mini seaweed cones filled with negitoro, menegi and a surprise centre of cured egg yolk. Have this in a mouthful, and you'll get that oozy burst of yolk.

The Salmon Ice Cream ($18 for 2pc) uses the same crunchy seaweed cone, but it's packed with a richer mix of raw salmon, smoked salmon, crème fraiche and ikura. Similar to the negitoro, I would recommend enjoying this in a single bite to get the different layers of flavours.

Lil Basket 4/5

Adorably presented in a dim sum basket, these vibrant pink beetroot ‘baskets’ are stuffed with sweet Hokkaido snow crab, topped with slightly spicy avocado mousse and lime gel. This Lil Basket ($20) pays tribute to the local favourite kueh pie tee, transformed with Chef Dylan’s unique touch.

Hay Smoked Hamachi 4/5

Moving on to starters, the Hay Smoked Hamachi ($24) features hamachi seasoned in ponzu brown butter, served with scallion garlic oil, crunchy trio sesame, elephant stem and compressed green grapes. The distinctly tangy-sweet grapes were a clever addition to the nutty and richly seasoned hamachi.

Dope You Up Bowl

The indulgent Dope You Up Bowl ($42) was quickly wiped clean by my dining companions. You have a bed of ume shiso rice topped with A4 wagyu buri, bafun uni, lightly cured egg yolk, wagyu fat emulsion and a generous portion of ikura.

A4 Wagyu “Sukiyaki”

Another IKO signature that features A4 wagyu is the A4 Wagyu “Sukiyaki” ($28). Slices of A4 wagyu with shiitake mushroom, leek, scallion, egg yolk and fried perilla are served with white sukiyaki sauce to bring them all together.

The High SES Somen 4.5/5

As its name clearly describes, The High SES Somen ($38) has a luxurious combination of chutoro, Hokkaido snow crab, bafun uni and kaviari caviar, finished with clam sauce and chives. It's served chilled, and we enjoyed the exceedingly fresh and sweet seafood used. We had their starter portion, but you can also opt for it as a main at $48.

8 Hrs Braised Abalone 4/5

Here in the 8 Hrs Braised Abalone ($28), you are served a base of pearl barley cooked in rich abalone liver sauce, underneath slices of tender abalone alternating with shiitake mushrooms, paired with elephant stem and asparagus.

IKO 10
Miso Black Cod 4.5/5

The highlight of the Miso Black Cod ($36) is the black cod, which was marinated in miso for three nights before it was grilled to a lovely buttery texture. The sides are intricately put together with sweet pumpkin puree, Manila clams, umami grilled firefly squids, carrots, pickled daikon and roasted nectarines, finished with a creamy clam emulsion. There are many components here, but they complement each other well.

IKO 11
Hay Smoked Guinea Fowl 4/5

The Hay Smoked Guinea Fowl ($32 for Single) sits on up to 15 seasonal Japanese vegetables prepared in various ways, tied together with a flavourful homemade sake ume sauce. The medley of vegetables which included morel mushrooms and brussel sprouts provided varying textures alongside the tender fowl.

IKO 12
Yuzu Semi Freddo 4.2/5

For dessert, we had Yuzu Semi Freddo ($15). Fluffy soft pieces of mint sponge are accompanied by zesty yuzu curds, miso-caramel honeycomb and Hokkaido milk ice cream, drizzled with miso caramel. It was sweet and slightly tangy, just the right choice to end the night!

Photos and words by Jo. A girl who loves her Mala (麻辣) at Da La (大辣), discovering hidden food gems and a good cup of matcha latte. Note: This is an invited tasting.

IKO Restaurant & Bar
65 Neil Road
Singapore 088897
Tel: +65 88665218
Nearest MRT: Outram Park (EW, NE, TE Line), Maxwell (TE line)

Opening Hours:
Mon-Thu: 12pm - 3pm, 530pm - 1130pm
Fri-Sat: 12pm - 3pm, 530pm - 1am
(Closed on Sun)

1) Alight at Outram Park MRT station. Take Exit 4. Walk to Duxton Plain Park. Walk along the park to Neil Road. Cross the tunnel and take the staircase to Neil Road. Walk to junction of Neil Road and Craig Road. Cross the road and walk down Neil Road. Walk to destination. Journey time about 8 minutes. [Map]

2) Alight at Maxwell MRT station. Take Exit 3. Cross the road. Turn right and walk down Neil Road. Journey time about 3 minutes. [Map]

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