After a first experience of Gyu Kaku in New York City, and subsequently a second taste of the grilled beef in the heart of Tokyo, I’m pleased to finally have stepped into Gyu Kaku in Singapore! The restaurant is revamping its menu, keeping old favourites while improving on its meat selection. New, and standardised throughout all Gyu Kaku outlets in Singapore, the restaurant chain will be offering Kuroge Wagyu beef imported directly from Kagoshima, Japan. The best part? The new menu is targeting guests with a new philosophy of “good food at reasonable prices”. This was one of the reasons why I initially did not try Singapore’s Gyu Kaku. However, with the King! Japanese Prime Kagoshima Wagyu going at $41++ for 120 grams, and even the house specialty ice cream at $3.90++, this was a new Gyu Kaku that certainly perked my interest. The only gripe I had was the ventilation that stayed true to its Japanese outlet’s nature – being hot and smoky once the charcoal fire gets going.
Whet up the appetite with some home made Kimuchi. Robust, and slightly pepperish hot, this was a delectable way to start the meal and best paired with some draught Asahi beer.
I started off with a serving of the Japanese Prime Wagyu from Kagoshima. Graded A3, a striploin cut at 80g for $35, this was best quickly seared 70% cooked on one side and 30% cooked on the other. It was served with a selection of sauces and dips for that extra dimension in flavour. However, I preferred natural and freshly roasted off the charcoal fire. It’s important to note that Gyu Kaku advocates charcoal fire to retain the flavour of the meat through consistent and equal cooking.
My next serving of the King! Japanese Prime Wagyu was a Grade A3 striploin at 120g for $41++. It is a bigger cut of meat from a slightly different part of the cow, yet it is nicely marbled with a good evenness of fat that goes nicely on the grill.
The meat is best enjoyed with either wasabi or salt, forgoing the stronger and more intensely flavoured sauces. Personally, I thought the option of salt or wasabi were both excellent choices. The wasabi added a mild heat and peppery flavour to the meat, opening up the palate to savour its goodness. On the other hand, the sprinkle of salt was a natural for charcoal grilled beef. It accentuates the flavour, cuts the buttery fat, and yet delivering a holistic experience that deserves a second bite.
The Fire! Karubi with Garlic Chili Oil is a departure from the fattier Japanese wagyu. However, this serving of Australian wagyu beef brisket is served up at $7++ and alongside a portion of garlic chili oil. It was good, and definitely worth the price.
The King! Harami ($10++) is a portion of regular Australian beef sideskirt. It was slightly chewy and nicely flavoured with its marinade.
I have to give a thumbs up to the Shrimps in Garlic Butter ($5++) for its simplicity. It is hard to go wrong with good shrimps, some quality butter and a hot charcoal grill. The best part, it comes almost cooked and ready to be enjoyed.
Mushroom lovers will also appreciate the Assorted Mushroom Foil with Butter ($8++). Oyster, enoki and shitake mushrooms are served marinated with butter and sake, and then lovingly sealed in an aluminum packed for grilling. As the mushrooms cook in its own juices, and slowly steamed/broiled/grilled to perfection, the first waft of flavour is almost impeccably mouthwatering as the foil is unraveled.
When this serving of Seafood Chige Soup ($12++) was placed on the table, I was almost fearful about the amount of heat present in the dish. However, that fear was to be unfounded, albeit in a different manner. While the heat is definitely there, I was struck by the more wholesome, sweet flavours encapsulated throughout the broth. Surprisingly, the spicy tofu stew left a memory as being heartwarming instead of mouth numbing.
Aburi Wagyu Sushi ($8++). Interesting, and more of a filler than a real item for enjoyment.
To share, definitely order the Sweet Potato with Vanilla Ice Cream ($3.90). Although our portion of Vanilla Ice Cream never did arrive, the grilled sweet potato with a block of butter that slowly makes its way over each piece simply screams comfort food. However, I guess that comfort level will be upped if served alongside something nice and chilly, or during winter.
My recommended dessert will have to go to the Gyu Kaku Ice Cream ($2.80++). Deceptively an ordinary serving of ice cream, I was well impressed by how thick, viscous and sticky the serving proved to be. The flavour was sweet and not overtly outstanding, giving more emphasis to the play of textures throughout the entire dessert portion. Soy bean powder and a sweet sauce lends an added flavour to the dish, and is an excellent complement well thought through.
Gyu Kaku’s new menu is one definitely worth a closer look. The choice of quality ingredients in a unique experience is already the restaurant’s hallmark. Having a menu that is relatively more affordable simply makes each visit more compelling. My recommendations are to go for the wagyu cuts to share, and to best top it up with more sides of meat and definitely the mushroom with butter. The Seafood Chige Soup will be an experience all on its own, and is best shared amongst 2-3. That said, Gyu Kaku in Japan is still more of a memorable experience as although the meats are of a regular quality, buffet options are also available. The experience in Singapore is a good start. But my upcoming trip to Japan may whet my own appetite for Gyu Kaku even further.
Thank you Gyu Kaku for the invitation
|30 Victoria Street
Reservations: 6333 4001
Lunch 12pm – 2.30pm
Dinner 5.30pm – 11pm