ShuKuu Izakaya – Informal Japanese Food at Stanley Street
Izakaya is easy to love, but hard to nail down. It’s friendlier than a French bar, has more food choices than a Spanish tapeo, and is less serious than a British gastro pub. But it makes the same point: drinking is primary; food is secondary; and if you’re doing it right, there will be hangovers.
Newly opened 4 months ago, this Japanese Izakaya has attracted many locals and foreigners far and near. Once you step in, they ensure that every part of your dining experience is as ‘at home’ as it should be. Even though a typical izakaya focuses on drink, at ShuKuu Izakaya, they ensure both food and drinks are good to leave you walking out satisfied.
The chef-partners are insanely passionate about Japanese cuisine and the country’s culture and look to bring you the feel of Japan right here in Singapore. Partnering with a Japanese, 4 Singaporeans have ensured authenticity in their menu selection but have added a few twists in their creations to set themselves apart from the rest. Plus, I was surprised to see that one of the owner’s girlfriend is actually a trained sashimi chef!
I don’t consider our dinner to be “bar food” because of the dizzying spread of appetizers such as Aburi shimesaba (torched vinegared mackerel, $12), Shirasu ponzu capsicum (whitebait with capsicum in ponzu sauce, $6), grilled skewers, deep-fried bites like Beef-wrapped asparagus ($11) etc, soba, donburi etc.
The real test of the diner is Chikuwa with Cheese (Japanese fishcakes). It is a dish that comes from a language I don’t speak, and tastes at once alien and true. I couldn’t eat more than a few bites. Perhaps deep frying it into chikuwa cheese balls works better? Aburi shimesaba was a little too fishy for my liking as well.
ShuKuu doesn’t serve classic Japanese food. Sometimes, they give it a twist, as seen in their Rosti ($8), featuring potato noodles topped with mentaiko (spicy cod roe) sauce and baked till golden brown. The Ika Kuro-age (Japanese Surume squid fried in squid ink batter, $10) is also quite special.
The kani (crab) gratin ($7) is excellent and I would recommend you to order it. The crab meat is mixed with cheese, mushy macaroni and mentaiko, everything we like is in the crab!
Even though the chefs are not Japanese, I can see that they take a lot of hard work to master Japanese cooking. Their charcoal grilled skewers are pretty decent, ranging from chicken gizzard, chicken skin, chicken heart to iberico pork collar, bacon asparagus, king prawn, omi wagyu and many more. Each skewer ranges from $2.50 to $8 per skewer, with platters at $18 (5 pcs) and $27 (7 pcs) respectively.
Besides skewers, they also do charcoal grilled items like mackerel, squid, iberico black pork ribs, beef tongue and stingray fins. I enjoyed the pork ribs most because it is sweet and tender, and fell off the bone quite easily. But seems like there was uneven cooking because some of the parts came off a little too tough. If you wish to have carbs, go for the Gyu Don ($10) with shabu beef slices in a home made sauce on premium Japanese rice. Or, go for their Negitoro Don ($10) with melt-in-your-mouth tuna belly on a bed of fluffy white Japanese rice, topped with fish roe and quail egg.
Food prices here are reasonable and portions are comfortable so you get to try many different dishes when you dine there. Complete your meal with their large range of Japanese alcohol options, as each of their sakes, shochus and Japanese whiskeys are hand-picked by them so any choice you make will be a good one.
8 Stanley Street, Singapore 068727
Opening hours: Mondays to Fridays: 11.30am – 2.30pm (lunch) and 5.30pm till late (dinner);
Saturdays: 5.30pm till late.
Closed on Sundays and most public holidays.
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