Robatayaki is a Japanese cooking technique that entails grilling food over binchotan charcoal. It origined over centuries when Japanese fishermen would gather round a stone hearth and grill their food over hot coals. Recent years the popularity of robatayaki in Singapore is growing, with several restaurants showcasing their renditions of it.
Run the same folks behind Kappo Shunsui and 999.99 (Five Nines), Kyuu by Shunsui is a Japanese restaurant serving up omakase menus and à la carte dishes. Taking pride of place in its kitchen is a sleek robatayaki counter, where the freshest meats, seafood and vegetables are seared over hot coals and imbued with a smokey flavour. Highlights include prawn with wasabi, and a well-marbled Kagoshima A4 wagyu beef aitchbone with red miso Fond De Veau.
Kyuu by Shunsui, 29 Keong Saik Road, Singapore
Kazu Sushi Grill Sake
This newly opened restaurant at Marina One offers everything from sushi and omakase to donburi and robatayaki. It flies in its seafood and vegetables from Japan thrice weekly, and obtains its sushi and sashimi from Hokkaido — so you can be assured of the freshest, most delicious ingredients. Try the King Crab, which can be fried tempura-style or — for a healthier alternative — slow-grilled over charcoal.
Kazu Sushi Grill Sake, 5 Straits View, Marina One The Heart ,#01-14 Singapore
Founded in 2008, Akanoya Robatayaki is very much a veteran in the local robatayaki scene. The atmosphere inside the restaurant, which is tucked away on the ground floor of Orchard Parade Hotel, is boisterous and noisy especially when it’s crowded — making you feel like you’re dining in a Japanese izakaya. What sets Akanoya Robatayaki apart from many other establishments of its ilk is its adherence to tradition: Diners sit around a horseshoe-shaped table facing the chefs, who kneel as they cook as they cook various seafood, meats and vegetables over a charcoal fire. The food is then served on wooden paddles. There is no menu, so customers order by simply pointing to the ingredients on display at the counter.
Located at Japanese multi-concept dining venue Shokutsu Ten at Great World City, Ami Ami Singapore specialises in tempura and robatayaki. Must-try items include its charcoal-grilled Pacific Saury, which, if you opt for a set, comes with rice, chawanmushi and miso soup. Also worth sampling are its juicy grilled scallops, which come with lavish toppings such as uni, ikura and crabmeat.
Ami Ami, #B1-03/04, Shokutsu Ten Japanese Food Street, Great World City, 1 Kim Seng Promenade, Singapore 237994
Nestled away amidst a row of shophouses on North Canal Road is Tamashii Robataya, a five-year-old Japanese restaurant. It ticks all the right boxes when it comes to the staple features of a traditional robatayaki joint: U-shaped counter? Check. Chefs cooking the food in front of patrons? Check. Customers receiving their dishes via a wooden paddle? Triple check. The only difference is that Tamashii Robataya sears its food on an electric grill instead of binchotan coals. But don’t let this deter you from making a trip down — the grilled fare here is just as delicious, with highlights such as Hokkaido King Crab, Saga beef, and cod fish with teriyaki sauce.
Tamashii Robataya, 12 North Canal Road, #02-01, Singapore
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