A Taste Of Fresh Japan At A Foodcourt

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Tuna Belly Nigiri Sushi – Very fresh though a little subpar in marbling evenness. Still I liked its tranquil flavour and smooth texture.

313@Somerset opened its doors yesterday and with true Singapore nature, crowds will form at all places fresh and new. First there was ION Orchard, then there was Orchard Central and now its 313@Somerset.  Today, although being the second day, most of the shops were already open and ready for business. The iconic Singapore feature of a food court was already hustling with snaking queues and fevered hunger pangs well at the start of the rush rush dinner hour.



And one thing for sure, not many foodcourts in Singapore would have a stall selling Japanese cuisine with chefs at the counter carving out fresh sushis and sashimis for your eating pleasure.

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Peter, the boss and head chef of Chai’s Nippon, stands prominently at the sushi counter whipping out the freshest fish to recommend while engaging in light hearted banter. As I have discovered, the upfront atmosphere for those seating at the counter would be light hearted and cheery.

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Fresh ingredients are flown in every Tuesday and Friday, so the best catch to savour would definitely be these days. However for a stall in a food court, the prices on its menu is a little on the high side with some values being equivalent to that of a well established restaurant.

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I had an assortment of dishes such as the Premium Yellowjack ($25 for 5 slices). The whole fish was carved out immediately and I found the texture meaty and firm with a sparkling savoury aftertaste. It was an experience that I would probably try every now and then or when the blue moon shines high in the sky.

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Tempura & Sashimi Bento

An assortment of Bentos and Donburis are also up on the menu. My order of the Tempura & Sashimi Bento ($15.80) was average but acceptable for the standards of a food court. I would have envisioned my tempura to carry a lighter and less “tasty” batter such that the delicateness and taste of the ingredient would be brought to the forefront.  

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Kushiyaki Hatsu – Chicken Heart ($2.00)

Bentos, Sashimi and Sushi aside, it is surprising that the stall also comes with one of Japan’s most popular creations – Kushiyaki cuisine. These grilled pieces of skewered meat or vegetables are to be carefully cooked on flaming pieces of charcoal and slightly burnt to perfection.

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Kushiyaki Mekajiki – Swordfish Belly ($3.50)

Neither the Hatsu nor the Mekajiki appealed to me. The Hatsu was a little undercooked and the Mekajiki was a little tough even though the sound of a fish’s belly would be smooth and fatty.

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Today being the second day, my expectations were reserved. The staff were generally polite and friendly though service was a little too slow for any guest to partake in. Still, Peter remained joyous throughout the whole show as I sat there for over 2 hours just waiting for my complete set of Nigiri Moriwase to arrive while being entertained by his humour.

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Yet for a food establishment, speed and service have to be
important factors at the top of the list. Guests cannot be kept waiting even if its a foodcourt. Nonetheless, once the stall resolves this little glitch, I believe that this would be a good upmarket Japanese stall that has taken a firm step into the foodcourt scene to entertain and satisfy your yearn for sushi.

No rating is given for this stall. A second review will be done.

Update (22nd Dec 09) : Apparently the stall is no longer there. And they just opened.