Don’t even think of coming here on a Friday night – the queues just to get in are insane. This place is essentially a Japanese version of Marche, with a similar concept of getting a dining card which you get stamped at each stall.
There’s an incredible variety of stalls inside – almost every type of Japanese fare is represented, from yakitori and sashimi and sushi, to ramen, hotpots, tonkatsu and donburi. They even have Japanese pastas and, strangely enough and maybe a nod to the Marche concept, potato rosti.
A had the mentaiko carbonara, which at $10.90 for a fairly small portion was quite expensive. Still, it was quite well executed, with the pasta al dente and a very generous dollop of mentaiko. It was quite rich, so perhaps it was a good thing that the portion wasn’t too big anyway.
I had the sakura ebi fried rice ($5.80), which was slightly underseasoned in my opinion. A bit more salt would’ve been perfect. Next time I think I’ll stick to the unagi fried rice from the same stall, which A’s tried before and said was better, or maybe the garlic fried rice. I tried the okonomiyaki from the same stall, which was quite ordinary and a bit too doughy and greasy.
The yakitori stall is well worth a mention. There are loads of varieties, and while prices initially seem quite expensive, it’s actually not too bad when you consider that each stick is piled quite substantially. A stick of 3 chicken wings, and one with 4 pieces of asparagus wrapped with bacon, cost $2.50 per stick, and the plate of squid tentacles – which were grilled perfectly and not overdone and chewy – was only $3. Next time I’m coming back to have the garlic fried rice and a host of skewers.
Prices here aren’t cheap, and if you come hungry and order without restraint then you may end up racking up quite a bill without realising it. But the quality is definitely good – you’re pretty much getting restaurant-quality food at slightly lower than restaurant prices. A pet peeve I have, though, is that they add 10% service charge. Hello?! What service is there?! I’m waiting in line for my food, I have to keep walking to the stall to check that it’s ready, and carry it back to my table. And yet I STILL have to pay service charge?! Whoever came up with this business plan is a genius.
Good food. My only complaint is the same as C’s. You’re paying near restaurant prices and service charge while having to run around collecting your food. Other than that, it’s pretty good.
Oh, I have one more complaint. The dessert stall has durian ice cream that taints the flavours of the other ice creams. At least it helps my diet by preventing me from having dessert there.
Shokudo Japanese Food Bazaar
Raffles City Shopping Centre
Open daily: 11.30 am to 10 pm