Ja­panese-style beef bowls

Epicure - - CONTENTS -

Trans­lated to mean ‘bowl’, don­buri con­sists of Ja­panese steamed rice topped with a va­ri­ety of in­gre­di­ents and a hum­ble onsen egg. A pop­u­lar ver­sion is the gyudon, or beef bowl. For this re­view, we fo­cused on gourmet gyudon of­fer­ing var­i­ous grades of Ja­panese Wagyu beef, in­clud­ing the prized Saga beef. The lat­ter, known for its del­i­cate fat mar­bling woven through the mus­cle and juicy flavour, is best sopped up by plump and fra­grant rice grains.

Be­sides cov­eted cuts of beef, we also tasted Ja­panese style beef bowls dressed up with pre­mium in­gre­di­ents like freshly shaved truf­fles and pan-seared foie gras. But a good gyudon in our books is not just about stel­lar beef but a per­fect mar­riage of the in­gre­di­ents, sauce and rice.


This ul­tra-luxe beef bowl comes with truffle shav­ings (white Alba, black or sum­mer truf­fles de­pend­ing on the sea­son). The first whiff of the Saga Gyu Don is in­tox­i­cat­ing. The flavour is spot on when paired with Aki-ku­mochi Ja­panese rice. Sink your teeth into the melt­ing cubes of seared A5 Saga beef. Then break into the del­i­cate onsen egg (from Aichi Pre­fec­ture) and coat each spoon­ful with the silky or­ange yolk. It’s per­fec­tion in ev­ery mouth­ful. #02-01, 12 North Canal Road. Tel: 6222 0316


What makes Sushi Jin’s Wagyu Don dis­tinct is the gen­er­ous sprin­kling of shio kombu (salted kelp) that’s burst­ing with umami. The Ja­panese sea­weed, when mixed into Koshi­hikari grains soaked in home­made truffle shoyu, ac­cen­tu­ates the rich flavour pro­file of A4 Kagoshima Wagyu slices. Add to that an onsen egg and sautéed onions and we can eat this Wagyu Don for din­ner three days in a row. #01-11/12, Owen Link, 1 Far­rer Park Sta­tion Road. Tel: 6443 3378


One of the main stars of Ja­panese steak­house Fat Cow is the Foa Gura Don

and we can see why. The clas­sic pair­ing of seared Wagyu beef and foie gras doesn’t dis­ap­point – the rich, creamy liver melts in the mouth and com­ple­ments the beef’s medium-rare done­ness. #0101/02 Cam­den Med­i­cal Cen­tre, 1 Or­chard Boule­vard. Tel: 6735 0308


This Wagyu spe­cial­ist is known for its Sig­na­ture Truffle Don. Of the two op­tions avail­able, the A3 Joshu Wagyu (the other is Hida A5 Wagyu) from Gunma Pre­fec­ture wowed us with a sub­tle, lin­ger­ing sweet­ness. The fin­ish­ing touch? An earthy aroma of shaved French Périg­ord truf­fles. #B1-20, South Beach Av­enue, 26 Beach Road. Tel: 6386 6720


Mikuni’s Miyazaki Wagyu Beef Bowl boasts su­perbly mar­bled grade A5 Miyazaki Wagyu, which is slow-cooked at 56°C for 90 min­utes af­ter mar­i­nat­ing in soy sauce, onions and mirin. The sweet­savoury mari­nade is also used to make a rich stock for the rice, be­fore truffle oil, soy sauce and dried sea­weed are added as ex­tra sea­son­ing. Sliced shi­itake mush­rooms and a 65°C egg com­plete this luxe treat. Swis­sô­tel The Stam­ford, 2 Stam­ford Road. Tel: 6431 6156


For Bincho’s Wagyu Roast Beef Uni Don, the Wagyu beef is slow-roasted over a gen­tle fire and blow-torched for a caramelised, smoky flavour. The suc­cu­lent beef slices are then served with warm Ja­panese rice, uni, lettuce and spinach. #01-19, 78 Moh Guan Ter­race. Tel: 6438 4567


Grilled Ohmi Wagyu Beef Set on Rice, WG ‘Yakiniku Don’ fea­tures Ohmi Wagyu from Shiga Pre­fec­ture, where the pris­tine nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment con­trib­utes to the beef’s sweet flavour and lus­cious mar­bling. Sea­soned with san­shō and grilled over siz­zling char­coal un­til its savoury oils are re­leased and the meat is ten­der, slices of striploin are laid over plump Ja­panese grains, then driz­zled with yakiniku sauce and gar­nished with sesames and shiso flower. L2-01, Atrium 2, The Shoppes at Ma­rina Bay Sands, 10 Bayfront Av­enue. Tel: 6688 8507


Sushi Murasaki’s Gyu Don won us over with a straight­for­ward com­bi­na­tion of Kagoshima beef, onsen egg and truffle soy sauce. The sea­son­ing may be heavy­handed but it paired swim­mingly with the suc­cu­lent and ro­bust morsels of Wagyu. #02-08, Mil­lenia Walk, 9 Raf­fles Boule­vard. Tel: 6341 9668


Izy’s Gyudon hits the spot. Mar­i­nated in a home­made sauce blend, grilled A4 Ta­jima Wagyu is served atop per­fectly cooked pre­mium Hokkaido Nanat­su­b­oshi rice and braised white onions. Sliv­ers of sea­sonal truf­fles tie the flavours to­gether, and a wob­bly onsen egg adds the fi­nal creamy touch. 27 Club Street. Tel: 9678 0027


The best way to savour Akira Back’s Gyudon: take a stab at the onsen egg and give it a good mix with the fluffy Hokkaido brown rice. The bowl of good­ness comes with slices of Wagyu rib cap from Saga Pre­fec­ture as well as Hokkaido white onions that have been poached for 12 hours. Topped with a spoon­ful of sea­weed caviar, this is one beef bowl we will never get tired of eat­ing. Level B1M, JW Mar­riott Singapore South Beach, 30 Beach Road.

Tel: 6818 1888

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