A fan of Japanese food? Then you’ll have to pay Hokkaido Izakaya a visit!
Many know Japan to be a land blessed with beautiful landscape and glorious food, and it’s placed at the top of many of our travel lists. However, if you’re limited in time or resources, fret not. You can get your authentic Japanese dining experience at a cozy outlet tucked away in the streets of Tanjong Pagar. We know, we know. You’re sick of the number of restaurants claiming authenticity, and when you’re there, it’s nothing like it. But trust us on this one. Or rather, trust the throngs of Japanese expatriates who visit the restaurant regularly; you can never go wrong with a place with a steady stream of their own locals, can you?
Hokkaido Izakaya only gets its produce from four cities – Yakumo Town, Furano City, Kamishihoro City and Akkeshi Town. These cities are sourced to provide only the produce that each city is most proud of. Needless to say, the chefs are true-blue Japanese men who pride themselves on the preciseness of their technique.
There are many dishes to try at Hokkaido Izakaya but start your meal with some of their mouthwatering appetisers. We particularly enjoyed the Cream Cheese Marinated with Miso ($7++). These delightful cubes of cheese have a subtle, but definitely noticeable smoky flavour that will help awaken your appetite for the feast to come. If you’re not a dairy lover, you can also try their Cucumber with Salted Konbu Seaweed ($5++). While there’s nothing special about this dish, it is very refreshing and also works well to start your meal.
Continue your meal with the Potato Salad ($9++), which we guarantee will bring a party to your mouth! The salad is served warm and features the Hokkaido potato. You can to choose between Bacon chips, Seasoned cod roe or Smoked egg for your topping. We had the smoked egg and loved it. Amongst our dinner companions, this dish was unanimously touted as one of the top three dishes of the night.
We also enjoyed the Hokkaido Wagyu Roast Beef ($25++) – thinly sliced beef with enough marbling to make your mouth water. If you are looking to sample the Wagyu Beef without having to break the bank, here’s your chance. Do note that this is a seasonal item, so if you’re only looking forward to this dish here, it’s best to give a call before heading down.
The Milk Hotpot with Salmon was another dish we loved. The broth is made from fresh milk and dashi stock, which gives the hotpot a savoury and yet slightly sweet taste. Hokkaido is famous for its high quality milk making this dish truly outstanding and unforgettable.
Think big huge portions of fluffy omelette slathered with Hokkaido butter and served with a side of cottage cheese. The Japanese Omelette Mixed with Milk ($10++) is another highlight you should not miss. Eat this steaming hot and don’t scrimp on the butter; it makes the experience all the more enjoyable.
The Kakiage Tempura Soba ($14++) is the restaurant’s signature item. It features a hot bowl of soba topped with a huge delicious rectangle of vegetable tempura. The restaurant recommends that the best way to have the tempura is to dip it into the Soba soup. We feel that the tempura gets a little too messy when you try to eat it, and the soup might be a little bland for some, but this is a good thing to order if you want to have something more substantial to complete the meal.
The variety of desserts at Hokkaido Izakaya is not wide, but they are unique for sure. Pictured above is the Steamed Potato with Vanilla Ice Cream ($7++) – warm Hokkaido potato served with butter, vanilla ice cream and Azuki beans. We’ll never have thought to have potato as dessert, but it does work well with the cold vanilla ice cream and sweet red beans.
Are you convinced by now that Hokkaido Izakaya is one of the hottest Japanese restaurants in town? ‘Cos we sure are sold! We love how the chefs take pride in the cuisine they serve and the number of Japanese expatriates who visit this restaurant, seemingly transports you to a little diner right in the middle of Japan. Typically, affordable and good food don’t go hand in hand, but this restaurant is fairly priced and serves some really really good food. Do yourself a favour and head down stat!
*Lunch and Dinner menus differ
Hokkaido Izakaya, 95 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088516, (+65) 6221 7118, www.facebook.com/hokkaido1234