I had enough of substandard Japanese food. No doubt the sushis off supermarket’s shelves are affordable and satisfying for a takeaway meal. But I’ve been to beautiful Japan before and I’m telling you even their cheapest bento set has the same quality as you would find in any Japanese restaurants in Singapore. Maybe I’m just biased or just have that impression everything in Japan is better. But I’m a picky eater so I do tend to know something is good when I have one.
But quality Japanese food in Singapore usually means spending more money and I just don’t have that kind of extra allowance to spend a couple of hundreds frequently. So I’m always on a lookout for Japanese eateries that are affordable yet not compromising the authenticity of rice rolls and raw fish.
Walk along the commercial buildings of Tampines Central and you might just stumble upon the second outlet of Rakuzen. They have been up and running for quite some time now and I heard/read much about their unique serving method of torching raw fishes and sushis with meat wrappings. It sure got me intrigue but as with all food bloggers experienced, there’s simply too many places to check out so I just had to put this place in a list of places I must try out someday.
Opportunity came in the form of an early dinner for I didn’t make any prior reservations and I feared it would be full house on a weekend like Sunday. Their menus were extensive ranging from hearty set meals to affordable al carte dishes and the high end omakase meals that I wouldn’t mind spending a little more on special occasions. It is as I like to say one of those restaurants that caters to everyone personal budget.
I reckon it will be more cheaper to order the sushi individually but I do not want to be embarrassed by pronouncing something wrong. So I just went ahead with a plate of 10 nigiri sushis and six tuna maki sushi ($30.00). I’ve no complains about the freshness of their ingredients and I’m sure my dinner partner would agree so too.
Gyu Tataki ($14.00) was a plate of thinly sliced surface grilled beef. Served rare with an accompanying ponzu sauce.
Rakuzen’s Unagi Kabayaki ($18.00) or roasted whole eel was one of the better ones I had in years. It’s almost comparable to those I had during my first Japan vacation many years ago. For two reasonable slabs of perfectly cooked eel that cost under $20, this was one of those main dishes I felt good enough for two to share.
Sakura Chirashi Don ($22.00) came last because someone had forgotten my orders. Essentially just a bowl of assorted sashimis laid over vinegar rice base. But how wrong I was when I savored it myself for the quality was superb. It was so worth the wait! I felt the only justice I could do was to finish everything in my bowl. I’m really impressed by the quality and quantity of their food. I almost felt like a fool for not visiting Rakuzen earlier but better late than never!
As for desserts? I find them more than reasonably priced. Assorted Sorberts ($3.00) with flavours like green tea, black sesame and yuzu and even Strawberry Ice ($3.00) which were practically frozen berries filled with vanilia ice cream. Rakuzen has certainly impress me with their sheer dedication of dishing nothing but the best. This is one of those places that serves up value-for-money authentic Japanese food and I wouldn’t mind coming back for more again!
NTUC Income Tampines Junction #01-01A
300 Tampines Ave 5
Tel: +65 6786 8484