We check out new hotspots in Singapore and Kuala Lumpur
It’s a weekday night and the place is jam packed with Japanese diners. But we’re hardly taken aback considering Hokkaido Izakaya serves quality ingredients imported from four towns in Hokkaido –Yakumo Town, Akkeshi Town, Furano City, and Kamishihoro City – that are certified by the City Council and reputed to have the freshest tastiest products. Seafood is sourced from Yokumo Town, cheese, wine and vegetables from Furano City, beef from Kamishihoro City, and oysters from Akkeshi Town. Head Chef Katsuyuki Sekiya, from Saitama, Japan, with more than 14 years of experience as a head chef at various Izakayas, skilfully works these ingredients into the restaurant’s everchanging seasonal menu in a manner that best showcases the produce from Hokkaido.
We tuck into the starters, a refreshing dish of Cucumber with Salted Konbu Seaweed (S$5), and an umami-packed Cream Cheese Marinated with Miso (S$7). The all-time-favourite warm Potato Salad (S$9) arrives deconstructed with a whole Hokkaido Potato and is mixed before serving. The crisp vegetables in the salad add texture and crunch to the creamy mixture; it’s a potato salad that is so fresh and so full of flavour you might find yourself scraping the bowl for more. Also notable is the Milk Hotpot with Salmon (S$18), which makes a show of Hokkaido’s excellent dairy products. Allow the broth to boil until the contents are cooked and
Xyou’ll end up with a tasty buttery fish soup. The highlight of the menu, however, is the seasonal Hokkaido Wagyu Roast Beef (S$25) of pure unadulterated pink slabs of melt-in-your-mouth goodness. Also popular on the menu, are Potato Croquette (S$8), Japanese Omelette mixed with Milk (S$10) and generously buttered, and the Kakiage Tempura Soba (S$12). The establishment is casual and cosy, and great for a night out. But if you’re hoping to bring a larger crowd do remember to make a reservation! 95 Tanjong Pagar Road. Tel: 65/6221-7118 www.hokkaidoizakaya.sg