May 12, 2016

Ninja Bowl @ Duxton Road, Tanjong Pagar ~ Japanese-inspired Rice Bowls! Hearty, Delicious, Best Eats Under $20!

During our childhood days, my brother and I were fascinated with ninjas. Now many moons later, I'm fascinated with ninja of another kind..... Ninja Bowl!

Taking over the space vacated by Department Of Caffeine (DOC), Ninja Bowl is the newest concept to hit the dining enclave of Duxton Road, serving hearty one-bowl meals and all-day brunch items at an extremely value-for-money-price.

Everything is nett with no service charge. All are under $20!..... and Delicious! YES!

Opened by The Astronauts Group, Ninja Bowl is the group's third establishment after Chillax Café and Babette Restaurant & Bar. Some of you might find the founder, former 98.7FM radio deejay Darren Wee, familiar.

As Darren and his wife have a penchant for all things Japanese, the Nihon-element is embedded strongly in Ninja Bowl's concept.

Expect to see ingredients such as yuzu and Hokkaido scallops, as well as Japanese-inspired items including aburi chashu (torched pork belly) and yaki unagi (grilled eel) being featured throughout the menu.

Even the 8 available bowls are Japanese-named: Geisha (sweet roasted pumpkin, $14), Noka (braised beef cheek, $14), Tsukiji (tuna tataki, $16), Kabuki (chicken thigh, $14), Buta (pork belly, $14), Genki (grilled unagi, $16), Yasai (salmon poke, $16) and Kaisen (seafood, $16).

The bowls start out carb-free, perfect for us who are always watching our weight and seeking a lighter option, but the add-ons are so enticing!

There are the Ninja Rice (+$2), a blend of vinegared Japanese pearl rice and brown rice with seaweed flakes, Orzo Pasta (+$2), a rice-shaped short-cut pasta tossed with honey, multigrain mustard, miso and chilli, Garden Greens (+$2) and high protein Quinoa (+$3).

When our bowls were served, it somehow reminded me of the ones I had at Grain Traders. Similar yet different. Each Ninja offering are already well-thought out in terms of flavors and texture combination, and the bowls are prepped a la minute upon our orders.

I love how light and healthy-feeling the Tsukiji was! Even though tuna tataki is not what I'd usually fancy, its freshness was pleasing and paired wonderfully with asparagus, edamame, cherry tomatoes and our choice of quinoa. The Noka, featuring beef cheek that has been braised for 24 hours, won praises round the table for its tender meat and robust flavors too.

My favorite was the Genki! The sweetish taste of the grilled eel fillet paired with Ninja rice was winsome in every spoonful.

Another winning factor was the perfectly runny onsen egg that imparted a luscious creaminess to each bowl.

Brunch items are available all-day as well, again we like the touch of Japanese which are notably apparent.

Take for instance, the Tonkotsu Spirit ($16)! Other than ramen, we can now enjoy tender slices of lightly-torched chashu with brunch staple like melted cheddar toast, smashed avocado and poached eggs. I must say Ninja Bowl is really skillful in handling their eggs. Look at that flow!

The Ebisu ($18) caters to seafood lovers with generous portion of plum, succulent Hokkaido scallops and mussels cooked in miso cream sauce. It was a tad saltish for my palate, but the accompanying toast did the trick of balancing out the taste a little.

Last but not least, the Fancy French ($16) is a must must must try!

The golden brown, thick-cut bricohe was pillowy soft, stuffed with homemade fig jam, and topped with a drizzle of umeboshi (pickled plum) infused honey, homemade hazelnut butter, chunks of figs, grapes and edible petals. If it looked pretty, the melange of flavors were even better! Besides, it's a much more wholesome alternative to the typical thick toasts drenched with whipped cream and sauces. Worth the 20 minutes wait!

Besides the meal bowls, brunch items, there are also treats like Cauli Pops ($10), Bacon Tempura ($10) and a selection of Sliced Cakes ($7). Weekday Tea Time Set of Cake + Coffee/Tea is only at $10.90, available Mondays to Fridays from 3pm to 6pm.

Time to speedily "ninja" your way out of the office and into Ninja Bowl! LOL!

Ninja Bowl
Address: 15 Duxton Road, Singapore 089481
Contact: +65 6222 8055
Opening Hours: Weekdays 9.30am-7.30pm / Weekends 9am-6pm / Dinner service will commence at the end of May)

Prices stated are in Singapore dollars and nett (no service charge, no GST)

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