Shunjuu Izakaya

You know how people say that marriage is a series of asking the other "what do you want to eat", until you both die? It's totally true. We were contemplating the "where to" for dinner when we bumped into another couple friend of ours, Man&Syl. On the road no less, when they pulled up at the traffic light next to our car. And coincidentally, they were just asking one another the very same thing. hah.

So, we womenfolk thought to pool our resources and arrowed the husbands to pick us a dinner spot, which they eventually did, after a 30-minute brainstorm, where they decided on Shunjuu Izakaya. It's not far off the central district, and fit our perimeters of no-carb, no raw foods, no Thai (they had that for lunch), no Chinese (we had that for lunch), and no 'ang moh' food (we all had that the night before).

We must have ordered everything on the menu, but it was all just so tempting. I mean, when you swaddle anything in bacon, it becomes a must-try, no? But really, everything we ordered was a exceptional, in particular, the kushiyaki. Each skewer was imbued with the heady char of the grill, flavoursome and juicy. Finally, I've found a worthier sumiyaki to Kazu. Bonus points: they're seldom booked out like Kazu, so you can get tables at the last-minute, and service is infinitely warmer and more gracious.

The Mongo Ika Karaage ($13), of squid sheets coated in a thin batter and fried, was made punchy by the wasabi pearls sprinkled over light mayo.

The jerky-looking Fugu Mirin Boshi ($16), dried puffer fish, was delightfully chewy. Dip each strip in the fish roe mayo for a burst of briny sweetness.

The Pitan Tofu ($4) was a block of silky beancurd blanketed in a creamy century egg custard and roe. This was served refreshingly chilled.

The Edatsuki ($6) of edamame beans were steaming hot instead of the cold version. Well salted and fleshy.

And onto the kushiyaki, all of which were outstanding - Ebi Shio ($20): succulent king prawn seasoned with salt and butter

Ebi Shiso Maki ($22) king prawn rolled with perilla leaves and bacon

Hotate to Ebi no Be-kon Maki ($12): prawn, leek and scallop stick with bacon

Hotate Buta Maki ($13): scallop with bacon

Buta Bara ($6) pork belly

Ton Toro ($7): pork cheek

Enoki Maki ($7): golden mushrooms wrapped in bacon and Asupara Maki ($8): asparagus wrapped in bacon

Chi-zu Maki ($7): cheese stuffed bacon roll

Tsukune ($6): luscious minced chicken meatball with yakitori sauce

Tokusei Tsukune ($8): pork mince meatball with egg yolk and yakitori sauce

Tebasaki ($7): chicken wings

Bonjiri ($6): chicken tail; I usually hate chicken butts, but this was sparkling clean and exquisite

Tori Ume Shiso ($8): chicken with plum and perilla leaves

Shitake Nikuzume ($7): shitake mushrooms stuffed with minced chicken

Gyu Ribuai ($16): ribeye beef with garlic

Foie Gras ($18): less livery and so much better than Kazu's version

Uzura Maki ($6): quails eggs wrapped in bacon

Shitake ($5)

Ginnan ($4) gingko nuts simply salted

The Ninniku Cha-han ($8), garlic fried rice, was balanced and robust.

Despite my dislike of mayo, the complimentary lobster salad was pretty delicious. I think it's the use of Japanese mayo, which tends to be lighter and more delicate.

Shunjuu Izakaya
30 Robertson Quay
#01-15 Riverside View
Tel: 6887 3577
Open Mondays to Thursdays from 12noon to 2.30pm for lunch, 6pm to 11pm for dinner;
Fridays and Saturdays from 12noon to 2.30pm for lunch, 6pm to 11.30pm for dinner;
Sundays from 12noon to 2.30pm for lunch, 6pm to 10.30pm for dinner
Website: www.shunjuu.com

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