Sometime back TheHungryCow and I had dinner with the HungryGoWhere folks at Taira Izakaya, this little place at the ground floor of Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre. Given the number of hungry people, we had quite a feast of many little dishes!
APPETIZER: GOBO KARAAGE S$3
DEEP FRIED BURDOCK TAIRA’S STYLE
I'll say this is one of the best ways to have burdock! Razor thin crunchy strips sprinkled with seaweed and chili pepper!
APPETIZER: RADISH SKIN SPRING ROLL S$5
This is one of the chef's original creations, served with a mildly spicy sauce. Certainly more healthy than most spring rolls!
APPETIZER: NEGI TORO OTSUMAMI S$10
CHOPPED TUNA BELLY
This is like carb-free negitoro sushi. You roll up the chopped tuna in the seaweed and pop it in your mouth. The chef designed it to be eaten that way.
APPETIZER: TAKO SU S$5
Traditional Japanese appetizer
ASSORTED SASHIMI S$35
O-TORO (SUPREME TUNA BELLY), KANPACHI (AMBER JACK), MEKAJIKI (SWORD FISH), IKA SOMEN (SQUID WITH FLYING FISH ROE & LADY FINGER), SALMON TROUT
Taira Izakaya is run by Fabio Lee, a chef who was formerly in the wholesale business of importing fish from Tsukiji. He gets his stock in three times a week, so things are pretty fresh.
STEW ITEM: GYU SUGI NIKOMI S$8
STEW BEEF TENDON W/DEVIL’S TONGUE(KONNYAKU)
Double chewiness may mean double happiness to some!
GRILL ITEM: KUROBUTA MISOYAKI S$15
MISO GRILLED BLACK PORK LOIN
DEEP-FRIED ITEM: SOFT SHELL CRAB TEMPURA S$8
STIR FRY DISH: GYU SAIKORO STEAK S$15
DICE CUT BEEF W/SHIMEJI MUSHROOM
This was quite good...suddenly you don't want to share!
NOODLES: SOMEN CHAMPURU S$6
STIR FRY ANGEL HAIR NOODLES
This is one of the highlights here. Beautiful somen (it's like mee sua but not soggy) with a gorgeous broth that was smoky and savoury. Definitely brewed with lots of bonito and pork bone.
When you're at an izakaya, you need to be adventurous! Have some sliced pig's ears. But this doesn't count as an exotic dish for me, because I already love pig's ears, and coveted this dish the moment I saw it on the menu. It is chewy and crunchy heaven!
SOUP: ASARI OSUIMONO S$5
SHORT NECK CLAM CLEAR SOUP
Clean-tasting and comforting.
We finished off with some yuzu sorbet, which perked up our palates with refreshing tang.
I love the izakaya concept of communal snacking, and great variety of things to try. While most Japanese go to izakaya to drink rather than eat, I prefer to fill up my calorie quota with food. Besides, my friends will no longer recognise me with too much alcohol. Anyway, thanks to Taira Izakaya and HungryGoWhere for the dinner!
By the way, Taira Izakaya also has S$8 lunch bento sets, which seem to be a total steal. Must go back and try...
And just a totally spurious tidbit: the Taira clan was a major samurai clan in Japan's history and offshoots of the imperial family. Along with the Fujiwara, the Tachibana, and the Minamoto, they were one of the four important clans that dominated the Heian period political scene. (The izakaya itself is named after Taira-san, the master from whom Lee learnt Japanese cuisine.)
11 Cavenagh Road,
#01-16 Holiday Inn Singapore Orchard City Centre,
Mon to Sat: 12.00pm – 02.30pm, 06.00pm – 12.30am
Sun: 06.00pm – 12.30am