When I first heard the name of the restaurant, I assumed that Ninja Cut was serving traditional Japanese-style torched meats with ramen or don. It turns out that the concept is about something a bit more modern, less traditional, but just as scrumptious. The restaurant’s décor is bright and clean, looking more like a hipster café than a restaurant serving Japanese cuisine. And maybe it’s more apropos, since Ninja Cut doesn’t serve the usual Japanese dishes, but spins traditional Japanese ingredients into novel creations with familiar Japanese flavours.
There are two main categories of dishes on the menu: the eponymous Ninja Cuts, and the Brunch. The ten eponymous Ninja Cuts essentially consist of a distinctly marinated meat, sides of sautéed vegetables, mushrooms, and topped with an onsen egg, with the option to add quinoa (+$3), rice (+$2), soba (+$2), or garden greens (+$2).
I have no beef with What’s Your Beef? ($18); the ribeye cut was thick, mildly marbled, and succulent, tasting like a good steak you would expect at a decent steakhouse. No adventurous marinade was needed; seasoned with thyme, salt, and pepper, the steak was medium rare as promised by the menu. When it comes to steak, as long as the chef delivers on the doneness requested or promised, it’s alright by me.
Ninja Cut’s commitment to providing high protein, nutritious dishes can be seen in Gimme Chimi Chicken ($14) with their choice to use chicken breast, which is admittedly not a part of the chicken I would personally have preferred since the breast is the firm, drier, low fat cut. But sous-vide-ing the chicken breast helped to render it as tender and juicy as possible, and the Cajun seasoning really enhanced the flavour of the meat with hints of rosemary and salt. For the gym rats who love supplementing their protein with chicken breast, this dish is perfect for you.
Oh My Cod! ($18) is apparently what Darren exclaimed when he was trying this dish for the first time. The naturally soft cod is well-marinated with a sweet-savoury sauce known as saikyo shiromiso, which reminded me of honey. It truly had a divine taste that even the non-religious can appreciate. By the time I finished this dish, I was already a believer.
I do not generally enjoy eating squid, so I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to fairly appraise Squid Fix ($18). Thankfully, I had squid-loving company to consult. My friend found the texture just right; not too chewy or hard like poorly prepared sotong in cheap Hokkien mee. I gingerly decided to take a bit of one of the squid rings, and concurred: the squid was of the perfect firmness, and the teriyaki and mirin glaze made it very agreeable.
The four dishes were each served with a different staple addon, and it was these staples (with the smooth gooey sous vide onsen egg stirred in) that left my tastebuds enamoured. The quinoa (+$3) had a delightfully nutty taste that complemented the Cajun chicken it was served with. The soba noodles (+$2) acquired a light coating of sweet and salty shoyu and onsen egg that made it easy to slurp it up. I couldn’t stop myself from finishing the brown rice (+$2) mixed with furikake, seafood flakes, and a bit of truffle oil; it was too good not to. The vegetables also weren’t for show, with the sweet honey glazed carrots, miso-coated cucumber, crunchy Brussel sprouts, and naturally umami-rich mushrooms complementing the dishes they came with.
Moving on to the brunch menu, the Polenta Mash ($18) was undeniably intriguing. This was Ninja Cut’s own spin on a Southern creole dish known as pork & grits, but with signature Japanese aburi chashu for the pork (the same kind you get in ramen), and warm mashed polenta (Italian cornmeal) doused with truffle oil for the grits. They were served with the same tasty mushrooms in the Ninja Cuts and topped with parmesan flakes. Is this dish Japanese, Italian, or Southern? The answer: it is uniquely Ninja Cut; you won’t be able to find this exact dish anywhere else. Meant to be eaten together, the mash helped to moisten the chashu, and the chashu balanced out the sometimes overpowering truffle oil flavour in the mash.
After tasting The Cheeky Cheese ($18), it became clearer that Brunch items were meant to be less #eatclean and more #noguilt satisfaction and nourishment. After all, brunch is meant to replace both breakfast and lunch. The Cheeky Cheese comprises two parts: beef cheek braised in curry for so long (24 hours) that it falls apart in your mouth, and a grilled cheese brioche sandwich, served fresh with molten cheese. This was a rich dish; if brunches are meant to fill, this did so unquestionably. The sandwich was suggested to be dipped in the curry, and it’s a combination that works.
More dessert than brunch, Marvellous Matcha ($16) is for the matcha lovers out there. It was a sight to behold the crispy outer shell with red bean paste on top, garnished with chewy dango morsels, crunchy speculoos crumbs, and small pretty flowers. It was almost a travesty to demolish this beautiful creation, but liberating the warm matcha fondant was necessary in order to indulge in this marvel of a hotcake.
Drinks were served in tall glasses that provide plenty of liquid to quench your thirst and cool yourself down. The pretty Elderflower Lemonade ($8) is a good accompanying beverage for whichever meal you choose, while the Matcha Latte ($7) is made from the same premium matcha used in Marvellous Matcha, so if you can’t get enough matcha, there’s that.
Ninja Cut provides satisfying meals and beverages with premium ingredients and care to preparation that shouldn’t require a budget above $30. It should be noted that all prices stated are nett without extra charge; the numbers you’ve seen is what you pay. The boss himself, Darren Wee, was clearly passionate about his food as he explained how they put the dishes together. In an environment where F&B is often seen as a business, Darren Wee’s food-centric approach is as refreshing as his Elderflower Lemonade. If you’re looking for food that nourishes and satisfies, look no further than Ninja Cut on Seah Street.
Thank you Ninja Cut for the invitation.
|32 Seah Street
Reservations: 6264 7727
9.30am to 7.30pm