Japanese restaurant Kurama Robatayaki at Millenia Walk has a split personality. The front part of the place looks like a standup bar in a rough neighbourhood. Wire fencing and empty bottles are used to make up the shop front. The counters are propped up by empty beer crates. But be brave and venture deeper and the beautiful side of Kurama Robatayaki reveals itself.
The bar at the front is known as the Yoi Sake Bar. As you can see, it is a basic place. Drinking is the only reason to be here.
The Kurama Robatayaki restaurant lies behind a curtain. It looked beautiful. Its entire ceiling was lined with Japanese lanterns. The place was helmed by two chefs presiding over their respective grills. They are surrounded by a counter stacked with all kinds of vegetables, meats and seafood. And of course, bottles of sake.
There are two ways of ordering food at Kurama Robatayaki – either just point at the item that appeals to you or read and order from the menu. The first way is the easier way and is more fun, but can be scary when the bill arrives. A more budget conscious way, especially for first timers like us, is to make reference to the menu. Here are pictures of the ala carte menu. There are also a lunch menu and a course menu.
We tried a mixed order from the ala carte menu and a couple from the lunch menu. The grilled items were grilled in front of us and served on a paddle. We tried three vegetable items – nasu (eggplant $9), sweet potato (satsumaimo $11), asparagus ($9). They were all fine and well grilled. Our only reservation was that the portions were very small. We soon learnt that pointing to an eggplant did not mean that a whole eggplant would be served to you.
For the meat items we tried the grilled chicken ($3) and minced chicken ($8). Both were good and the minced chicken (tsukune) was made more interesting by the use of a raw egg as part of the dipping sauce.
To round off our meal, we had two items from the lunch menu. Grilled squid with rice (surume ika don $20) and grilled beef with rice (gyu don $38). The squid with rice was garnished with what looked like kimchi. The latter added some zest and spiciness to the dish.
The gyu don was a more pricey dish. It was served with some pickles and soup. The beef was a bit dry (we were told it was striploin). To go along with the food we also tried some Asahi Black Draught beer ($12 per small bottle). This was the first time we tried a dark beer by Asahi. It was quite good, some sweetness with a mild bitter after taste. We thought it went particularly well with the grilled vegetables.
While there are many Japanese restaurants in Singapore, there are not many serving food in the robatayaki style. It is an interesting and enjoyable way of eating. Just point at the fresh produce and a hot cooked version of it appears in a few minutes. The service at Kurama Robatayaki was good as there was hardly any other customers apart from us. The only reservation we had was that the costs of the small items do add up. Each item was not pricey by itself but the portions are small, and as we all know, everything counts in large amounts. Our meal for two that day was not a lavish one but still costs about $150 including two beers, tax and GST. It was certainly having a meal robatayaki style, but it is not something we will do often. Unless someone else is paying, in which case we will happily point and eat.
Overall Rating: 3 TOPs
9 Raffles Boulevard, #02-07
Tel: +65 6358 3565
Nearby MRT Stations: Promenade, Esplanade