Despite this place opening over 3 years ago, and being literally 10 steps away from Snails at Wheelock Place, somehow we’ve never tried it, favouring NYDC or Big O downstairs instead. After a pedicure on Sunday, for some reason we were in the mood for Jap, so we finally gave it a go.
The menu differs slightly for lunch and dinner. At lunchtime, you can order standard bento boxes at fairly decent prices (around $10 to $15), but at dinner time these aren’t available. I’m not sure how much of the dinner menu is available at lunch time, but there are loads of interesting appetiser offerings, and we were hard pressed to narrow down our choices – in the end we over-ordered, as usual.
The deep fried mushrooms and potato wedges in a parmesan cheese bowl ended up being a bit disappointing. With a description like that, I expected the cheese bowl to be like an oversized parmesan tuile, but instead the parmesan was in the batter coating the wedges and mushrooms, and the bowl just seemed to be deep fried spring roll skin.
The unagi crepes were interesting – think Peking duck or suckling pig in Chinese restaurants, but with eel instead. The egg crepe with cucumber, sweet sauce and eel was actually quite a tasty pairing, although I don’t know what it is about unagi in Japanese restaurants these days. Is it me, or has the standard/quality deteriorated in recent years? Previously, an unagi fillet would be soft, flaky and boneless (or with almost undetectable bones), but these days unless you order what’s labelled as “premium” unagi, the regular kind tends to be hard, chewy and more often than not, full of bones. I guess just like everything else, you have to pay for quality.
As you can see, we’re addicted to aburi sushi, so when we saw this on the menu, we had to have it. Compared to the Sushi Tei aburi sushi, I must say this fell somewhat short. It wasn’t bad, but it lacked a distinct charred flavour, and the $25 5-piece sampler platter was almost twice the price of Sushi Tei’s 6-piece platter, and had slightly less high end offerings to boot. The tuna was only regular, not tuna belly. I guess for the two uber posh varieties – the otoro and the foie gras – you either have to order it ala carte, or get the much more expensive 7 item sampler at $38.
We ordered a baked scallop that was quite unremarkable. Then the two carb dishes arrived and both were huge, so we ended up being way fuller than intended. First, the cha soba – though not as good as the Shimbashi Soba one, this was pretty decent, and definitely kudos on the presentation.
Their speciality here is kamameshi – a Japanese version of claypot rice. I ordered the teriyaki beef with raw egg version, but there are quite a number of other varieties that I’d like to try next time. This came in a cute little pot, with an hour glass that’s flipped as the dish is placed in front of you. Quite a gimmicky way to say “wait one minute for the rice to steam and flavours to infuse”, but it was cute nonetheless. Being a fan of claypot rice anyway, there wasn’t anything not to like about this dish. Again, comfort food at its best, with soft yet distinct grains of rice flavoured with teriyaki sauce, slightly gooey and rich from the egg yolk, and thin slices of beef. What was surprising, though, was that A, consummate NON-claypot rice fan, actually didn’t mind this. Hmph… just because it was posh and Japanese.
This place isn’t cheap though, and the little items do eventually add up. I would pass on the aburi sushi next time, but the cha soba ($7.80) and kamameshi are very good value, and I definitely want to try a couple more kamameshi varieties.
We’ve never tried this place because, despite the giant pictures of menu items vinyl-stickered on the wall, it looks poncy and expensive.
While that’s true to a certain extent, you do get good-sized portions for the price you pay (except for the sushi of course). Plus, they let me in even though I was dressed even more shabbily than normal. And the service was very good.
Anyway, this place makes for a nice change but I wouldn’t recommend it for a regular meal. It’s good, but from what I sampled, there are no “must-try” items that warrant a revisit anytime soon.
And I still haven’t found a good cha soba joint in Singapore. Closest is the Soba So Good place (aka Shimbashi Soba) at Paragon.
Sun with Moon Japanese Dining
#03-15 Wheelock Place
501 Orchard Road
Lunch: 11.30am - 2.30 pm
Cafe: 2.30pm - 6.30pm
6.30pm - 11 pm (Thurs, Sun, Public Holiday)
6.30pm - 12am (Fri, Sat, Eve of PH)