Monday, 3 May 2021

Kakurega – Modern Yakitori and Sake Bar [MEDIA INVITE]

Shime Saba Aburi 

Kakurega (The Lair) is a new Japanese Sake Bar, which opens in December 2020, in Smith Street, Chinatown. Kakurega in Japanese means a hideout. As a sake bar, it is a place to get away after a busy day at work or think of it as a place to meet up to enjoy charcoal-grilled yakitori and sake.

Kakurega - The Lair
Kakurega occupied 3 stories of the shophouse, with a seating capacity of 50. It has four private rooms: 2 larger ones able to seat eight diners and their other two can accommodate four diners. The ambience is cosy with modern Japanese restaurant decoration. We were seated on the second floor, where one side of the wall filled with sake bottles.

Private Dining Area 8 Pax
Image Credit: Kakurega
We started our tasting session with Eihire (Sun-Dried Stingray Fin, $7.80), Kawaebi Karaage (Deep-Fried Kawa Shrimp, $7.80) and Kawahagi (Dried Leather Jacket, $6.80). The kawaebi karaage is my favourite, as it is crispy and crunchy The Eihire and kawahagi almost have the same texture, but the kawahagi has a softer and enjoyable compare to the usually dry eihire. All these three side dishes are nice to enjoy with beer or sake.

Eihre, Kawaebi Karaage & Kawahagi

Eihire
To accompanied the starters, we were served Kakurega house sake, Issyou Koufuku Junmai Ginjo ($98 for 720m, $168 for 1800ml). According to LD, the sake is light and easy to drink.

Kakurega house sake, Issyou Koufuku Junmai Ginjo
Shime Saba Aburi (Flame-Seared Cured Mackerel, $10.80). Plump and juicy mackerel fillet. You can taste the vinegar cured in the mackerel and the lightly torched infused a touch of smoky flavour in the fish. Delicate and reduced the fishy flavour in the mackerel, served with crunchy seaweed on the side.

Shime Saba Aburi 

Shime Saba Aburi
Gyu Tataki (230g Meltique Beef with Garlic Chips, $18.80). It is a good value from the price point. The beef is tender, covered with sweet and tangy sauce. In a certain cut of the steak, you sometimes get that unpleasant bite of the muscle, which is a bit hard to chew. For the garlic chips, Kakurega should use sliced garlic, which has a bigger and wider surface instead of chopped garlic, to give the dish more class.

Gyu Tataki

Gyu Tataki
Hotate Mentai (Scallop with Mentai Sauce, $6.80). One of the best dishes of the night. A huge plump and juicy scallop covered the delicious mentai sauce. It is so good, you will be asking for more. Yum Yum.

Hotate Mentai 

Hotate Mentai
Niwatori Karaage (Deep-Fried Chicken with Sesame Dressing, $6.80). An unusual version of karaage served at Kakurega. Usually, tori karaage is marinated in mirin and oyster sauce, resulting in a sweet taste of the chicken meat. However, here, the chicken meat tasted tangy, almost like the cured saba. The exterior is crispy and served with sesame dressing and the usual Japanese mayonnaise. Not sure if I will order this again though.

Niwatori Karaage

Niwatori Karaage
We finally reach the Yakitori section. We started with Apsara Bacon (Asparagus wrapped in Bacon, $3.80) and Mozzarella Chizu Maki (Creamy Mozzarella wrapped in Beef Short Plate $6.80). The asparagus and bacon is a classic yakitori combo, consist of crunchy asparagus wrapped in crispy and salty bacon. Yum.

Aspara Bacon & Mozzarella Chizu Maki 
The creamy mozzarella wrapped in beef short plate impressed me. Juicy beef cuts covered the sticky and chewy cheese. Juicy and delicious, though you must eat this fast before the cheese hardens.

Mozzarella Chizu Maki & Aspara Bacon 
Buta Enoki (Enoki Mushroom wrapped in Pork, $3.80) and Tori Momo (Chicken Thigh, $3.80). LD and I were quite surprised when we bit into these two sticks. The taste is very subtle, almost unseasoned. When we ask the manager, they said due to the feedback from the customer, they have tone down on the salt seasoning. LD ask for red pepper powder to spice up these sticks. Regular izakaya and yakitori fans, please take note when you order the yakitori, you might need to have them salt it more to get the taste that you are used to.

Buta Enoki & Tori Momo
Chashu Ringo Sauce (Pork Belly with Apple Sauce, $6.80). Not the usual bold, sweet and sticky chashu sauce, instead the focal taste comes from the apple sauce. You can see the apple puree on top of the pork belly slices.

Chashu Ringo Sauce 

Chashu Ringo Sauce 
Overall, it was a unique yakitori experience at Kakurega. It is not the traditional Japanese yakitori style, instead, Kakurega dares to challenge the norm to come out with a new, creative and healthier version of the yakitori to pair with their sake. If you are looking to try something new, give Kakurega a try. Kanpai! Cheers!

Private Room for 4 Pax
Image Credit: Kakurega
Thank you very much Jennifer Yeo Consultancy and Kakurega Team for hosting us.

Food & Drink: 6.75/10
Value: 6.75/10
Service: N/A (Media Invite)
Budget per Person: $51 - $80; $81 and above.

Kakurega (The Lair)
12 Smith Street
Singapore 058926

T: +65 6223 0102
IG: @kakuregasg
OH:
Mon – Sat, 17.00 – 22.30
Closed on Sunday
Menu Available Online

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