Smoky and delicious: 3 yakitori restaurants to try in Singapore
Sometimes an aromatic smoke-filled yakitori joint proffering sticks of juicy meat and bottles of cold sake and beer is exactly what's needed after a long day at the office.
Here are three yakitori restaurants that do the job of filling the tummy and soothing frazzled tempers.
Nanbantei Japanese Restaurant
One of the first yakitori restaurants to open in Singapore 27 years ago, you'll be well-advised to make a reservation at this busy hole-in-the-wall eatery.
Small in size but big on personality, you'll sit elbow-to-chin with the other diners, most of them long-time regulars or random tourists who've been lured in by tempting aromas.
The delicious range covers freshly grilled scallops, succulent salmon wrapped in bacon, shiitake mushrooms stuffed with minced chicken and super zingy cherry tomatoes wrapped in lightly marinated pork.
If you're really famished, order the S$36 sets, which come with a selection of juicy, caramelized meats and seafood, plus a helping of rice and miso soup.
Wash it all down with a bottle of Hitachino Nest Beer (S$15), a boutique brew that is light and crisp and brewed with fresh coriander, a fine contrast to the oily, grilled meats.
#05-132 Far East Plaza, 14 Scotts Road, +65 6733 5666. From S$4 (for two sticks), S$10.50 to S$36 (per set). Monday-Saturday noon-2:30 p.m., 6-10:30 p.m.; Sunday noon-2:30 p.m., 5:30-10 p.m.
Feel like chicken tonight?
Tokyo-based Tori-Tama's first international restaurant specializes in a range of chook delights with 25 different dishes on offer.
For the newbies, start with the usual suspects: minced chicken meatballs, sweet, tender chicken neck, chicken thigh, fillet, and organs salted and grilled to succulent perfection.
But once the sake has kicked in, bite into some chicken liver and spleen.
Other standouts include the chicken rice ball, a combination of minced chicken with egg, salty seaweed enveloped by pearls of thick, glutinous rice and served with a side of shredded radish and topped with finely chopped spring onion.
At roughly S$4 per stick, your bill may soar, especially if you sample the array of sticks and sakes on offer.
#01-02 Robertson Walk, 11 Unity Street, +65 6836 5680. From S$25-S$50 for a selection of yakitori (per head). Open Daily 6 p.m.-10:30 p.m
Shinryoku Japanese Restaurant
Tucked away on Purvis Street, you may walk past this petite eatery that's almost invisible among the other attention-grabbing signage.
While the yakitori offerings are stellar -- the grilled spears of asparagus wrapped in bacon, springy prawns and bacon garnished with a sprig of mint, and well salted chicken gizzards come highly recommended -- the house speciality is the salmon skin salad; light, flavorful salmon skin on a bed of crisp vegetables, perfectly balanced with a homemade plum and sesame dressing.
Other signature dishes include oyster tempura, a combination of fresh oysters and Japanese mint leaf, and the seafood paper pot, an MSG-free translucent, seafood broth that is fragrant and delicate on the palette.
For a full taste, take advantage of the buffet menu (S$48 and S$58, weekends) and for S$30 extra, enjoy free flow of beer, Japanese cocktails, shochu, wine and sake.
#01-01, 8 Purvis Street, +65 6338 8472. From S$10 (sets), S$58 (buffet). Open Monday-Saturday noon-3 p.m.; 6 p.m.-midnight.