Following the success of its first outlet at Time2 @ Millenia Walk which opened in August 2006, Rakuzen is proud to announce its second branch in the hub of Singapore’s east at NTUC Income Tampines Junction. This latest addition, which opened in September this year, provides residents, working professionals as well as shoppers a lovely retreat to savour top quality dishes that feature the finest ingredients imported directly from Japan.
Led by a Japanese chef, the kitchen team offers a substantial selection of appetisers, delicacies, salads, sashimi, sushi, teppanyaki and grilled items, rice and noodles, fulfilling sets as well as fried, braised, simmered and steamed dishes. Many of these products such as ultra fresh sashimi, Japanese rice and dried goods are brought in via the restaurant’s own supply chain without a middleman.
Perfect for an evening with drinks are Rakuzen’s appetisers such as the immensely addictive Himatsubishi (Fried Burdock, $5) – julienned root vegetables are coated with potato flour, then deep-fried to achieve an irresistible crispness. It has a crunchy and earthy taste adn slightly sweet. I prefer it to be thicker though, for an added crunch.
Mame Aji Tsumami (Fried Small Horse Mackerel, $8) is a mini whole fish coated with seasoned batter, deep-fried and served with a wedge of lemon.
Ehire (Grilled Stingray Fin, $8) sweet-savoury strips of dried fish that make for non-stop snacking. These Ehire are specially flown in from Japan and served with some mayonnaise on the side.
The comforting Grilled Corn with Butter ($5) uses Japanese corn that arrives sizzling at the table with melting butter. Here’s a tip, cook the corn till golden-brown, when you can smell the aroma of caramelized corn in the air, it means it is ready!
Sushiya Salad with Sesame Dressing (small $8, large $15) has a generous serving of tuna, salmon, scallop, crabstick, prawn and salad greens. You can choose from 3 sauces – Rakuzen special, sesame and waif – to complement the salad. I wondered how does Rakuzen special sauce taste like.
A key highlight of the menu is the Special Broiled section which features a scrumptious selection of items that are blow-torched at the table to give the dish a distinctive charred flavour.
A must-try is the Fire Mackerel ($16) where saba fish is marinated for at least two hours with rice wine vinegar then wrapped in konbu, giving it a subtle tangy flavour. The flame gives the skin a beautiful crisp texture, while melting the fat slightly, and the result is a succulent piece of heaven.
I actually prefer the Moeyo Beef Roll (Grilled Beef Roll, $18) more. The six-piece sushi roll is wrapped with thinly sliced raw tenderloin on the outside, laced with nor in the middle and stuffed with fresh avocado and tempura tenkasu (batter bits). The torched beef is tender and the crunchiness from tempura tenkasu added another dimension to the sushi.
Other options from this section include the Moeyo unagi (S$16); Moeyo unagi roll (Grilled eel roll, S$18); Moeyo beef (S16); and Moeyo saba roll (S$18). All the Special Broiled dishes are served with ponzu (citrus soy sauce), which enlivens the robust dishes a suitably zesty way.
Only available at this outlet, Rakuzen’s Okonomiyaki (Pancake, $10) is a delicious pancake homemade with an egg-flour-dashi mix, mixed with nagaimo (Japanese yam), cabbage, carrots and mushrooms, pan-fried over the teppan and crowed with lashings of Sakura ebi, okonomiyaki sauce and mayonnaise. I actually prefer more okonomiyaki sauce added to the pancake.
The sashimi served at Rakuzen is directly air-flown from two prefectures in Japan – Ishikawa and Kagawa – twice a week and has proven extremely popular with customers who appreciate the pristine quality of these choice cuts. Assorted Sushi includes Ike Ni Anago (boiled sea eel, $4), Ikura (salmon roe, $5), Tai (sea bream, seasonal) and Maguro Otoro (Tuna fatty belly, $8). Also available as part of Aburi Sushi Moriawase (Assorted Grilled Sushi, $28 for 6).
To conclude the meal, a comforting bowl of Asari Miso Shiru (Asari Clam Miso Soup, $8) is the perfect dish that showcases the fleshy morsels at their freshest.
Concluded the dinner with Siratama zenzai ($5) – Rice Ball in Red Bean. There are other choices like Yuzu Sherbet, Strawberry Ice and Choco Banana.
Oh! Rakuzen specially imports its brown rice from the Akita Preferture in Japan. The brown rice is chosen for its firm-to-bite flavor and is milled on the premises to produce white rice. You can choose between brown or white rice when ordering.
300 Tampines Avenue 5
NTUC Income Tampines Junction #01-01A
Tel: 6786 8484
*This is an invited tasting*