After my multiple trips to Japan, I’ve become more picky than before about Japanese food in Singapore. Most of the restaurants here are not authentic in cooking style and don’t really use very fresh or traditional ingredients so I kind of lost faith in most places.
However, I’m glad that Japanese restaurants in Singapore are slowly shifting away from what it used to be like in the past (think all you can eat sushi buffets) and there are more places serving proper Japanese food in authentic cooking methods and taking pride in importing their own ingredients!
One good example is Kanda Wadatsumi, which is a relatively new addition to the dining scene. I remembered walking past this restaurant when it was very new last year, wondering what kind of food it’ll serve. Tras Street is known to have really good restaurants so I knew it was most likely going to be legit.
Kanda Wadatsumi is a restaurant from Kanda, Tokyo and this restaurant in Singapore is helmed by experienced Japanese chef Hara Shinji. The dishes on the menu are close to what you’ll really find in Japan and they import their fish directly from Tsukiji fish market. This restaurant takes pride in fish and brings in seasonal products so you’ll get a taste of what’s good in Japan here in Singapore. It’s definitely all about good quality and authentic food here, not one of those restaurants which is tweaked to suit foreign tastes buds.
As Tras Street is close to the CDB area of Tanjong Pagar, being less than 5 minutes walk away from exit A of the MRT station, most restaurants here are open for lunch service and Kanda Wadatsumi is no exception. The lunch menu serves a good selection of set lunches at pretty reasonable prices for such concept!
Set meals are good if your lunch break is limited and you want something quick and light, but if you have the luxury of time you can go for the omakase courses where the meal will be a surprise and dishes to be decided by the chef, starting at $60, which again is a pretty reasonable price.
Upon seeing the lunch menu, I was surprised to see hitsumabushi because that’s something very uncommon in Singapore but common in Japan. In Nagoya especially, hitsumabushi style of unagi-jyu (eel on rice) is very popular and people from all over Japan like Hokkaido would fly over to Nagoya just to eat that, for the most famous hitsumabushi unagi restaurant according to the local tour guide in Nagoya. The city is not the most exciting in Japan but it’s worth checking out for the hitsumabushi alone! This
dish was created at the end of the Meiji era and has been iconic of Nagoya ever since.
Unagi Hitsumabushi Set – $32.00++
That said, I knew I wanted to try the unagi set because I had faith that this was going to be close to Japanese standards and not like the usual kind we find in Singapore. The unagi itself is imported from Japan and the source is important because most restaurants here don’t actually source their unagi there.
From what I learnt in Nagoya, to eat hitsumabushi style unagi, you begin by dividing, the whole thing into four portions:
1. First portion is eaten normally
2. Second portion is eaten with some condiments which are provided in the set
3. Third portion is having it in the same manner as the second portion but with broth poured over
it, like o-chazuke soup with rice (bonito broth is provided here)
4. Fourth potion is where you pick your favourite from the first 3 and finish up your meal!
Well of course, if you already knew which is your favourite you can start with it. For me, I prefer option 1. The unagi here is indeed different from the typical ones in Singapore (which doesn’t do the dish of unagi justice) and I really enjoyed having it. No regrets on my choice!
Sashimi Course – $48.00++
Since Kanda Wadatsumi takes pride in their fish supply, the sashimi course meal was something worth trying too. This set includes salad, appetiser, 7 types of sashimi (including seasonal items so it will change from time to time), rice, miso soup and sesame ice cream. The course set lunches are slightly heavier with more items than the hitsumabushi set lunches.
Today we had akami maguro (blue fin tina), chutoro (medium fatty tuna), tai (seabream), aji (horse mackerel), ginzake (salmon), tako (octopus), hotate with uni (scallops with sea urchin) and isaki (white grunt, seasonal fish from Tokyo).
The sashimi was served with little bits of leaves, flowers – all edible and this reminds me of how it was served in Japan.
The unexpected best part would probably be the sesame ice cream! Usually Japanese restaurants in Singapore gets ubiquitous sesame/ yuzu/ green tea ice cream from the same supplier and the ice cream would be dry, somewhat icy and served in a tiny scoop. This sesame ice cream however, was super creamy and rich with the perfect balance of sesame flavour and sweetness. The scoop was very big and generous and it should be that way because one tiny scoop will not be enough since this was so good! It’s worth coming back here just for this.
Overall the food was really good and this is the kind of Japanese restaurant I like.
Besides regular seats, the restaurant has a private room which can fit up to 16 people by opening a partition or perhaps 8 people if you have a smaller group. I was seated in the private room for my tasting and it was a pleasant experience having a nice quiet lunch with my dining companion. I love having my meals in a private setting because it’s a way more conducive environment to catch up with friends or for celebratory purposes! Even though the room was partitioned from the rest of the restaurant, service was very prompt. The staff appeared within seconds whenever I needed something.
They also have counter seats for those who enjoy watching chef in action. I would prefer counter seats if I was going for the omakase courses so I can have a more interactive meal.
For those who don’t work nearby but wish to try, you can still try out their lunch on Saturday because they are open!
Overall: Authentic and fresh food, pleasant ambiance. A good Japanese restaurant worth trying!
50 Tras Street
Tel: 6221 6264
Mon – Sat: 12pm to 3pm
Mon – Sat: 6pm to 11pm
From now till 30th June, head down to Kanda Wadatsumi, post any Instagram photo of your food with hashtag #KandaWadatsumi, tag @KandaWadatsumi and flash your post to receive a 10% discount off total bill & a complimentary glass of Aoren Yellow Apple juice!
Aoren’s apples comes from Aomori, the prefecture known for producing the best apples in Japan. I don’t normally like apples but I LOVE Aomori apples! This juice is different most other apple juices because they use 100% Toki（とき）, Kiou（きおう）, and Orin（王林）yellow apples only for this juice and it is naturally sweet without added sugars and additives. Typical apple juices requires additives to serve as an antioxidant since apples oxides easily but Aoren Yellow Apple Juice uses an unique process of extracting the juice in a nitrogen filled room, in absence of oxygen, which prevents oxidation of the apple juice and this preserves the original colour and brings out the best aroma and flavour.
No Instagram? Nevermind. You can also quote my name – Melissa to receive 10% discount off total bill (but no complimentary Apple juice).
I strongly recommend you to create an Instagram account just for this because this apple juice is really delicious!