December 08, 2016

Kurama Robatayaki & Yoi Sake Bar @ Millenia Walk ~ 2-in-1 Destination For Japanese Delights

Eat more! Drink more! At Kurama Robatayaki & Yoi Sake Bar, we can enjoy both experiences to the fullest!

The 2-in-1 Japanese bar and robatayaki was launched this August in Millenia Walk (along Nihon Food Street), inspired by co-owner and head chef Raymond Tan's concept of a dining destination where one can enjoy a wide selection of sake and produce imported from Japan and other parts of the world in a truly unique setting.

It's the perfect kind of place for after-work chill-out sessions with colleagues especially if you're working around the Suntec area. Suitable for boisterous group gatherings or casual date nights too.

We knew we came to the right place even as we approached the tall metal wire fence gate.

Riots of colors, row of carp streamers, bar tables made out of plastic crates and anime-inspired imagery that decorates the walls all add up to a fun, convivial ambience at back alley-styled Yoi Sake Bar.

Got "feel" leh! I like!

Kurama Robatayaki is hidden behind through a deliberately discreet entrance which opens to reveal a more intimate 15-seater setting where chefs prepare a feast in full view of diners.

My eyes brightened up even further at the display of skewered meats, seafood, vegetables and various fresh produce lined up around the robatayaki counter.

Quickly get onto the charcoal grill and come into my tummy please!

For the uninitiated, "robatayaki" means "fireside cooking" in Japanese.

Its origins dates centuries back to Hokkaido where fishermen would prepare hot meals around a makeshift hearth, using binchotan (white charcoal) encased in stone box.

This is probably why our food was served to us via those huge wooden paddles (as a tribute to the fishermen).

It would not be far off to say that Kurama's menu is a gastronomic showcase of choicest ingredients.

Scallops from Australia! King Crabs from Alaska! Lamb from New Zealand! Premium Wagyu Beef from Japan! Yes! Yes! Yes!

Signature dishes include the Truffle Onsen Salad ($12) with light, aromatic flavors, and the handmade Tsukune ($8) which was one of our many favorites of the evening.

Though the chicken patty looked pretty nondescript, its taste and texture were fantastic!

The chopped up chicken soft bones embedded within provided surprised bits of contrasting crunchiness to the tender minced meat. Coupled with a slightly-sweet sauce and smooth coat of raw egg yolk, each bite is a luscious dance in the mouth.

Another must-try is the Lychee Ham ($6) where lychee is wrapped with slices of ham. The combined taste of fruity sweetness and savory meat was very delightful, much like how we always enjoyed the classic Italian pairing of Parma ham with rockmelon.

No chicken wings lovers would want to miss the Tebasaki ($6) too. Its seasoning was a tad too light, but that skin grilled to thin, charred crispiness was spot on.

There are also other meat skewers such as Buta Bara - Pork Belly ($9), Buta Kara - Pork Collar ($13), Momo - Chicken Thigh ($3)

I really don't mind having more of those chunky, beefy Wagyu Kushi ($27) goodness too.

Seafood selections includes Taraba King Crab ($38/100g), Kurama Ebi - Giant King Prawn ($18), Hamachi Kama - Yellowtail Collar ($25), as well as the prized Kinki fish from Hokkaido which I heard can be quite costly.

But if you're in mood to splurge a bit, the Hotate ($30) is also definitely worth the order.

A whole, fresh abalone is cooked in its shell with sake, butter and mirin to sweet, succulent deliciousness. The meaty, bouncy texture of the shellfish was just as delightful..

In comparison, the vegetable items were less exciting. Not to say that it's no good, I do like the Kinoko Butter Yaki - Mushroom ($15) and Satsumaimo - Sweet Potato ($11), but I thought the meat dishes were more outstanding and better worth the price.

As portions are small per serving, our tummies were hardly filled even towards the end and needed some carbs to make it a substantial meal.

The Garlic Fried Rice ($9) was not the best I've tasted, so there were some regrets about not having the Gyu Seiro Mushi - Wagyu Beef with glutinous rice cooked in bamboo steamer ($38) instead. Okay, next time then!

For a Japanese establishment, dessert options surprisingly go beyond the typical yuzu or black sesame ice cream. It turns out that there is a dedicated dessert chef to churn out finely-crafted creations like Gooseberry Panna Cotta!

There is also the elegantly-plated Peach Bavarois with peach compote, rose wine gelee, bavarois cream and raspberry jam which was light and refreshing on the palate,

Houjicha Creme Brulee was the best-received treat among our groups for its distinct roasted tea flavor and smooth custard matched with a well-caramelized top layer.

Overall we enjoyed the evening at Kurama Robatayaki. Besides the delectable food, the affable chefs also made an impression. This is indeed an ideal place to unwind after an exhausting day at work.

If you need a tipple or two or ten (?!) with the nibbles, Yoi stocks more than 50 types of sake, some of which are exclusive to the sake bar. You can also buy a bottle back home to indulge.

Eat and drink. That's one of best ways to momentarily chase any blues in life away.

Kurama Robatayaki & Yoi Sake Bar
Address: 9 Raffles Boulevard, #02-07 Millenia Walk, Singapore 039596
Contact: +65 6341 9668
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat Lunch 12pm-2pm / Dinner 6pm-12am / Closed on Sunday

Prices are (1) Stated in Singapore dollars (2) Subject to 10% service charge & 7% GST (3) Correct at point of published date.

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