We finally went to Kazu last night (Thursday) after reading and hearing so much about it. Reservations are definitely necessary, because the last time we tried to go, at like 7 pm on a weekday, we were turned away because they were completely full. This time we learned our lesson and made a booking almost a week in advance.
The restaurant is tucked away on the 4th floor of Cuppage Plaza, amidst seedy karaoke bars with hostesses milling around outside. It clearly doesn’t need any advertising or marketing apart from word-of-mouth, because even though it was a Thursday night it was still packed. The waitresses were surprisingly friendly though; I expected them to be really atas and snotty to us, since we’re not regulars, but when they found out that we were first-timers, they were really helpful in suggesting their specialties to us.
Almost all of the stuff we had was GREAT. They’re a sumiyaki place as well, but instead of you cooking your own food like at Aburiya, here they skewer it yakitori-style and grill it for you. We were only able to sample like 10% of their extremely extensive menu. Amongst other things, their specialties are chicken skewers and bacon skewers (misleadingly called pork belly rolls on the menu). They have skewers for practically every part of the chicken – wing, liver, heart, gizzard, tail, skin, neck skin (is there a difference?!), soft bone… the list seems endless. We tried a standard chicken, a chunky wild chicken, chicken wing, liver, and crispy chicken skin. We had the chicken meat skewers with teriyaki sauce, but the rest were salt-and-pepper (the default seasoning of most of the skewers). I didn’t see much difference between the chicken and wild chicken, but A preferred the wild chicken (maybe cos it was more expensive, the atas Teochew ah sia...). The chicken wing was great, as was the artery-clogging crispy chicken skin.
The equally artery-clogging bacon rolls, with the ingredients wrapped with bacon, are also delicious. We had several mushroom ones – enoki (golden) mushroom, maitake mushroom (which tasted quite wild and earthy) and eringi mushroom. The eringi mushroom was a seasonal special and was really interesting cos it tasted so meaty that it took me a while to realise that it wasn’t a pure pork belly skewer. I think the enoki mushroom was better than the maitake; the texture lent itself better to skewers. We also had bacon wrapped with sticky rice cakes, which was interesting but I may not order it next time. The potato bacon rolls and garlic bacon rolls were ok but nothing to rave about.
A killer item, of which we had a repeat order, was the beef with cheese skewer. A juicy mozzarella chunk wrapped with a thin slice of beef. Mmmm… The grilled foie gras was also delicious. It was seasoned with salt and pepper, and grilled till the edges were crispy. Some other skewers we had were belly pork, and miso pork with eggplant. We tried the garlic fried rice, which came with a miso soup with meatballs. The meatballs were really good; I think there was some crabmeat in them. The rice had crispy fried garlic chips in it which were really fragrant. Next time I’ll just stick to the skewers tho, I think the rice got me pretty full.
The only downer that we ordered was the yakiniku – sautéed Australian wagyu beef slices. While the flavour of the beef was good, it was incredibly tough. I couldn’t even bite into it, and had to put each fairly large piece into my mouth and chew incessantly before I managed to get it down.
Apart from the beef, everything else was a winner and this is another place that definitely begs a repeat visit.
Funniest thing was this Russian guy at the next table talking really loudly about this foursome he had (obviously a banker or a trader or something like that cause of the bank name he kept dropping – he was in the Amsterdam, London and New York branches). Haha. Anyway, I’m super impressed by the service. C seemed perpetually gleeful over the location in the seedy heart of Singapore’s Little Tokyo. She kept going, “Do you think those are xiao jie? Can you go ask them if they’re xiao jies?”
Anyway, with regards to the food, the rule of thumb is to stick to the food that is on a stick. Everything else pales in comparison.