We had lunch at IKYU Japanese restaurant in Tiong Bahru recently. It is located on the ground floor along Yong Siak Street which is an interesting part of Tiong Bahru with a mix of bookshops, restaurants and apparel stores.
The interior of IKYU Japanese restaurant was quite un-Japanese. It occupies a dark space with exposed pipes, bare light bulbs, distressed walls and basic furniture. Fortunately the darkness was lit up by the sunshine attitude of the staff. From the moment we entered till the time we left, the level of service was as high as any good Japanese restaurant. . The only thing they did not do was to see us out and remain till we turned the first corner.
Meals at IKYU can be quite pricey affairs. At lunchtime there was a omakase lunch option at $138. Fortunately there were more affordable options for ordinary patrons like us. We both ordered the $28 set lunch courses. We topped up another $9.80 for a sashimi supplement and $6 for sake (two small glasses).
The four piece sashimi platter was simple but still quite beautiful. There was a medium sized prawn, a slice of salmon, yellowtail and something else I can’t remember that was slightly seared. The taste was fresh and good. The sake was quite ordinary.
The four-course set lunch at IKYU starts with a radish salad with a piece of deep-fried chicken.
For the main course we selected the chirashi and the daily grilled fish. The chirashi is not the most beautiful bowl of Japanese rice topped with raw seafood that we have seen, but it was pleasant enough. What took us by surprise was the wonderful taste of the whole mix of raw fish, rice, vegetables and sauces and flavourings that we simply cannot identify. This is a dish we would recommend to anyone trying out the lunch menu at IKYU.
By comparison, the grilled fish option was quite predictable. Two types of fishes were served -half a head of sea bream (split down the middle) and a piece of saba. The quality of sea bream was far superior, but the quantity of meat was low. I suppose digging for the edible bits is part of the fun of eating fish head, which means that this may not be a good choice if we were having our first date at IKYU. Perhaps to make up for that, there is an additional piece of meaty saba. The taste of the later was not as refined as the bream but the chunk of fish was easier to handle.
After the main course were two other courses. A soup and for dessert, a scoop of ice-cream each. The soup was actually much nicer than it looks. The ice cream was normal.
Overall Rating: 4 TOPs
5 Yong Siak Street
Tel: +65 6223 9003