The laidback residential estate of Faber Hill within Clementi has a delicious secret, Nobiro Japanese Restaurant & Sake Bar.
Opened in May 2015, the izakaya-style restaurant has been quietly serving up an array of Japanese dishes including sashimi and grill delights, as well as omakase specials to the residents living nearby, steadily building a reputation that deemed it to be worth a visit.
So I ventured into the ulu-ness, and was rewarded with a satisfying meal.
But before we get to the food, I must mention the extensive range of premium Japanese sakes and whiskies that Nobiro carry.
For sake alone, there are 50 types available for purchase and in-house dining, including the award-winning Gazanryuu Daiginjo Kisaragi. Quite impressive!
Not sure what to get? Best is to get their sake sommelier to make a recommendation for sake/food pairing.
The food menu itself is no less exciting too, spanning pages of titillating Japanese-style salad, appetizer, sashimi (raw fish/meat), sushi (vinegared rice topped with ingredients), ippin (small plates akin to tapas), nabemono (hot pot), agemono (deep-fried), yakimono (grilled and pan-fried), yakitori (grilled skewers), gohan (rice), men mono (noodles) and dessert.
When you feel like "leaving it to the chef", there is the Omakase option starting from $98 for 3-courses, or perhaps the Omakase Sushi ($38), showcasing 6 different types of sushi on a platter will be suitable too.
No one would accept anything less than freshness when it comes to raw seafood, so I would say what Nobiro has served up met our expectations.
Besides the Sakana Marine ($18), seasonal sashimi served with Chef's special marinade, another great starter to have is the Sashimi Salad Iwanori Tsumi ($16) which paired an assortment of fish slices, prawns and salmon roe with fresh greens. It can be enjoyed on its own, or wrapped with nori sheet to make it a "sashimi salad seaweed roll".
Like oysters? You will get them in a few variants at Nobiro. Nama Kaki Yonshiki ($20) has fresh oysters served in four different ways, namely with onion, salsa, pesto and ponzu with pink salt.
Since I do not really fancy the raw briny taste of oysters, Mushi Nama Kaki ($20) with the oysters lightly steamed, appealed more to me. My favorite was the Fried Nama Kaki ($15) which has the plump morsels enveloped in a crispy crust.
Deep-fried food fans shouldn't miss the Cheese Menchi Katsu ($16) too! My mouth yearned for more of that breaded homemade patty holding moist minced beef. The stretchy mozzarella cheese surprise encased within notched up the enjoyment to another level. Incredibly addictive!
Other standout dishes include the Tonpei Yaki ($13) which was nicely executed with a layer of soft, creamy omelette with bacon and prawn over a bed of shredded cabbage. Surume Ika Maruyaki ($15) or grilled squid had a subtle hint of smoky aroma and was adequately tender. Wagyu Tataki ($45), seared A5-grade Japanese Wagyu Ohmi beef from Shiga Prefecture, was simply sublime!
Yakitori ranges from $3 to $4.50 per stick and goes up to between $7 and $30 per stick for premium ingredients such as beef tongue, Wagyu ribeye and foie gras. Our Chef Selection Platter (7 sticks, $23 / 12 sticks, $39 / $15 sticks, $45) was a chicken-centric mix of chicken meatball, breast, drumstick, neck and wings alongside tomato and Japanese Green Pepper.
It might sound unconventional, but I would go for those chicken neck and chicken heart sticks again. And chicken wings of course! Lol!
We ended our dinner with Mentaiko Pasta ($20). Not too bad overall, though I thought flavors could be richer and the pasta itself would do better with a more al-dente bite.
Lunch Sets are considered a good deal with most of it priced under $20. Choices include popular mains like Tonkatsu Curry, Gindara Teriyaki and Tempura, and come completed with rice, miso soup, pickles and salad.
Now you know the secret too. It's time to check out this little gem.
Nobiro Japanese Restaurant & Sake Bar
Address: 108 Faber Drive, Singapore 129418
Contact: +65 6873 0095
Opening Hours: Lunch Wed-Sun 12pm-2.30pm / Dinner Tue-Sun 6pm-10.30pm / Sake Bar Sat 10pm-1am / Closed on Mon
Prices stated are in Singapore dollars and subject to 10% service charge & 7% GST.