|IPPIN Cafe Bar|
Ippin Cafe Bar ('Ippin') is a one stop shop, where people can enjoy classic Japanese home-style dishes with Japanese beverages and even purchase directly imported Japanese products. Ippin Cafe Bar was set up in October 2014 by Miss Ayumi Fujishiro, with the mission to help out her father in setting up the Singapore outpost. If you have a chat with this lady, you will not notice she is from Japan as she speaks perfect Singlish.
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As mentioned, Ippin is very focus on their 'classic Japanese home-style dishes'. Therefore don't expect your normal sushi, sashimi, katsu, and other restaurant fare. However, look forward to enjoy Oysters from Hiroshima Prefecture, Rice with Barley, Red Miso Udon and Oyakodon.
|Deep Fried Oyster Set|
What I like about Japanese meal is that it always in a well balance set. For Grilled Oyster & Veggies in Ponzu Butter Sauce Set ($20 nett) and Deep Fried Oyster Set ($24 nett), it come with similar sides such as Hatcho Miso Soup; Nikujaga pork and potato stew; salad; rice with barley and dessert.
|Grilled Oyster & Veggies in Ponzu Butter Sauce Set|
The Nikujaga pork and potato stew was simply delicious and definitely a good comfort dish during the winter months. The sliced pork is tender, while the combination of potatoes and carrots provide a more earthy flavour and starchy texture to the dish. The Japanese glass noodle inside soak up the gravy from the stew that the taste is well-balanced. While on the set menu, the stew is a side dish, I personally feel this dish can be sold on its own.
|Nikujaga pork and potato stew|
|Rice with Barley|
Salad for the night is a combination of cabbage, carrot, cucumber and cherry tomatoes. You actually need to add your own dressings. My personal pick is the one with wasabi flavour. It has the right balance of sweetness and tanginess, while the wasabi kick at the end was just addictive. This is coming from someone that does not dip his sashimi with wasabi. Of course the rice with barley is a notable mention. Although you notice the different in colour, I personally can't taste the difference between the rice and barley in this bowl. Well I just feel healthier after this meal.
Now to the main dish, the Grilled Oyster & Veggies in Ponzu Butter Sauce has nice tangy taste to it. Not overly creamy and rich, but I find the oysters shrink too much as might be over grilled. Instead of being the main star of the dish, the oysters become a garnish, making the dish not value for money.
|Grilled Oyster & Veggies in Ponzu Butter Sauce|
Deep Fried Oyster, this is just delicious. The oyster look huge, plum, creamy and velvety is just a feast to the eyes and palate. The light batter helps to maintain the juiciness in the oyster. There is a mayo dip to accompany the fried oyster, but on its own the oyster is tasty enough. Although the oyster come frozen, you will not notice the frozen taste in this dish.
|Deep Fried Oyster - Tasting Portion|
Miso Udon Noodle with Oyster Set ($15 nett). Using the red miso, the udon come in at thick broth. The texture of the udon is slightly overcooked, making it soggy instead of springy. The red miso was too overpowering for my liking. This dish come with the salad and dessert.
|Miso Udon Noodle with Oyster Set|
|Miso Udon Noodle with Oyster - Tasting Portion|
Oyakodon Set ($15 nett). My inaugural trip to Tokyo with LD landed us in Ueno, where we had the best Oyakodon in our life to date. So I was curious how does it taste in classic Japanese home-style dish and ask the host if we can have a try. The Oyakodon is tasty, the meat is tender and I noticed the use of robust dashi. The eggs were cooked to medium and still gooey. It is an 'Oishi' Oyakodon by Singapore standard.
We also sample their Yakisoba (Fried Noodle) Set ($12 nett). Served with side dish and dessert. It looks like Indian Mee Goreng without the chilli. Tasty but a little too mushy for my liking.
|Yakisoba (Fried Noodle)|
For desserts, we have yuzu jelly. It was quite refreshing with a hint of citrus tanginess. The Rattsu ($8 per big cup), is a flavoured coated peanuts. Comes in strawberry, green tea and coffee. It is crunchy, not overly sweet and addictive. For my taste buds the strawberry is sweet, green tea is neutral while coffee is bitter. It is good with your drinks or even on its own.
|Rattsu - Tasting Portion|
While others enjoying their beer and sake, I have to content with my non-alcoholic drink. My meal are accompanied with refreshing yuzu drink (non-alcoholic) and a very good Hojicha (roasted green tea).
|Hojicha (roasted green tea)|
The décor of Ippin Cafe Bar is very friendly and casual. Once you enter the shop, you can see their display for Japanese Products from beer, sake, tea, condiments, rice, snacks, accessories, clothing and lots of either items from Japan. The dining area are in the middle, with a few seating facing the windows and outdoor. It is very casual, homely and you'll be comfortable spending your leisure time here.
|Ippin Dining Area|
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Overall, my favourite dishes at Ippin is the Deep Fried Oyster, Oyakodon followed by their Rattsu. It is a good place to meet up with your friends for drinks and enjoy the Japanese home-style food. Kanpai!! Cheers!!!
Thank you very much to Ippin Cafe Bar team for the tasting invitation and your hospitality.
Food & Drink: 6.5/10
Budget per Person: $11 - $25; $26 - $50