This restaurant made its debut here when Plaza Singapura launched their new extension, and the specialty is the Bijin Nabe which means beauty hotpot. It is named so because the soup is full of collagen, made from dissolved organic chicken bones which was cooked for 8hrs until it turns into curd form.
I am not a fan of steamboat because I simply do not fancy the idea. It is not about the soup, since if you want good soup, why not just order soup? Why must you be cooking food inside soup? If I had to do DIY cooking over the dinner table, I’d rather have charcoal grill because it has way more taste.
However, I was very interested because anything with collagen interests me. For those who are afraid of how chicken may cause cancer, rest assured that they only use chicken from a particular source and the chickens are organic (no growth enhancers). That’s if you trust them. They claim to import their curd/broth from Japan daily, so you probably can’t find this anywhere else in Singapore! I don’t think organic chicken is that common in Singapore so even if you wish to replicate this idea, it is not that simple.
The shop is extremely small and yet quite popular. At dinner time, arriving at 7pm the wait was about 1h 30 mins. They do not accept reservations. I suggest you come at around 5pm – 6pm. The Bijin Nabe is only served from 5pm onwards. Before 5pm, they serve Ramen.
The kitchen is open concept, and I noticed that they’ll scoop the curd from a large pot into your individual pots, and then torch it slightly, probably to melt it a little.
They will then deliver it as is to the table, and that’s the soup! It’ll be melted into liquid when heated up. I think it’s the same concept of making Xiao Long Bao, where they wrap up blocks of curds into dumpling and the curd turns into soup when steamed.
I did not expect that it’ll be like this honestly, as I thought it’ll be normal chicken soup with some collagen added. In a way, the intensity of collagen here exceeded my expectations.
Each set cost $25.50++ per pax and the minimum order is 2 sets. The above portion is for 2 and it comes with noodles too. It may seem quite little but it’s actually alright, since you will end up drinking a lot of soup as that’s the main point. Do not compare this to the cheap Singaporean style steamboat and complain that the ingredients are too little and non-substantial. This is a beauty hot pot, hence the ingredients are supposed to be healthy and beauty friendly (aka won’t make you fat, minimal toxins, good for bowel process etc).
And everything goes in. They do top up the soup when needed, but adding more curd. I really liked the collagen soup, a lot. Not only because it has beauty properties, but also because it was very rich in tastes and very flavourful. I probably got full drinking the soup. Even though the price is quite high, I think it is worth it because you’ll not find soup like this anywhere else.
Onigiri – $3.00++ or $3.50++
Other than Bijin Nabe, they do have side dishes. The side dishes are not beauty food and are not guilt free. We ordered 5 onigiris not knowing that it was actually that big! It has been sliced into 2 so there’s 10 here.
These are really delicious, if you don’t mind the guilt. The rice balls are wrapped with fatty pork, brushed with special sauce and baked.
Egg Custard – $6.00++
Strawberry Pudding – $6.00++
The desserts both disappointed. The egg custard was essentially just a very ubiquitous crème brûlée. The strawberry pudding was very gimmicky in presentation and marigold’s pudding was better. This one’s on the tough side with overly sweet artificial tastes.
Overall: try the Bijin Nabe and onigiri.
60B Orchard Road
Tel: 63365003 (no reservations)
Lunch: 11:30am – 4pm (Ramen)
Dinner: 5pm – 10pm (Bijin Nabe)