Tora Hachi Japanese Grill & Restaurant (“Tora Hachi”) is a Japanese-style grilled food restaurant, that offers a wide choice of skewers and donburi. In short, it is also known as Izakaya. Tora Hachi is the expansion of Kushiya at Westgate, elevating their brand from a shoebox kiosk to a full fledge restaurant in Holland Village and completing their offering with sakes and beers to complement their food.
We started our tasting with Gyu Don ($11.90) and Kimchi Slice Pork Don ($10.90). My first impression is that their servings are very generous. Both the beef and pork topping filled the bowl to the brim and can easily fill your stomach. I like the marinate in the gyudon as it gives a nice balance between sweet and savoury complete with umami finishing. For the kimchi don, the pork is tender and juicy, while the kimchi provided the acidity in balancing the meal.
Both the dons are supposed to be served with Ajitsuke Tamago (ramen eggs). Usually, the Ajitsuke tamago is seasoned with soy sauce, till the egg white turns brown to show the soy sauce has been absorbed into the eggs. The version at Toro Hachi is lighter as the egg white is still bright in colour and the taste of soy sauce is minimum.
Hiyashi Udon ($6.80). Sanuki style udon served cold with onsen tamago. The thick, chewy and bouncy udon perfectly complements the housemade sauce, onsen tamago and seaweed. You need to mix all the ingredients before you slurp. It is cold, refreshing and tasted heavenly. Simplicity at its best. Yummy!!
Oyago Don ($11.90). Grilled thick juicy and succulent chicken thigh, covered with generous servings of seaweed. I like the texture and flavour of the chicken, but I just feel there is a disconnection between the ingredients. Maybe Tora Hachi can consider adding Oyakodon style of egg or onsen egg style to bind all the ingredients together.
For the appetizer, we try Chicken Karaage ($9.80), Hane Gyoza ($12.80) and Edamame ($5.60). The fried chicken has a crispy exterior followed by a juicy and succulent interior. It is served with mayonnaise for dipping sauce. The edamame was done just right. Soft, moist and enjoyable.
The Hane Gyoza (also known as Gyoza with Wings). Each of the gyoza is interconnected through the thin piece of crispy sheet. The shape of this gyoza is rounder and more plum compared to the traditional gyoza. The skin of the hane gyoza is thicker and the fillings do not have the strong smell of chives, that usually come with regular gyoza.
For the grill section, we started with grilled vegetables. Onion ($3.20), Garlic ($3.20), Pepper ($3.20), Lady Finger ($3.20), Sweet Corn ($3.20), Oyster Mushroom ($3.20) and Shiitake Mushroom ($3.20). I must say, we are very surprised with the quality of the grilled vegetables. They are probably one of the best that we ever tried in izakaya around Singapore.
We peel the onion layer by layer and each one of them is sweet and juicy. The oyster mushroom is tasty and plump. LD and RM enjoy the pepper and lady fingers, the vegetables that I don’t like. Not forgetting, the sweet corn, which has a nice balance of charred and sweetness. We ordered a second round because it was awesome.
For the grilled appetizer. Grilled Chicken Mid Wings ($8.90) are well marinated, succulent and full of flavours. We would prefer it to be crispier externally, however, the wet marinate does not allowed for super crisp skin.
Grilled Pork Belly ($9.80) is juicy and tender, while Yaki Ika (Squid, $10.90) is soft with a nice chewiness in each bite. While Grilled Shishamo ($6.80) get our seal of approval as well.
For the protein on skewers, we tried Beef Ribeye Skewer ($4.20) and Chicken Thigh with Scallion ($4.20). The beef ribeye skewer is a must-order. Small cuts of beef are held together by the skewer, delivering juicy and well-marinated MOO MOO. I suggest you eat this while it is hot, if not the beef will be chewy.
The chicken thigh with scallion has a crispy exterior with juicy and succulent interior. I did not try the scallion, but I enjoy the chicken very much.
To accompany your meal at Tora Hachi, the group ordered Asahi Draft ($7.90, 300ml), Asahi Black ($8.90, 300ml). Since I can’t drink, I stick with Ice Genmai Tea ($2.80) and Coke Zero ($2.80).
The décor of this place will make you feel like you enter an Izakaya somewhere in Japan. The front of the shop is decorated with big sake barrels, and once you enter the shop you will see the red lantern hanging from the wall all the walls are covered with Japanese illustration with red as the predominant colour. The dining tables and chairs are made from wood, complete with the QR code sticker to see the menu and place your order.
Overall, we find the food at Tora Hachi to be very comforting. The Hiyashi Udon, Gyudon, grilled vegetables (especially the grilled sweet corn), beef ribeye skewers and pork belly are a must order here. Tora Hachi delivers comforting and reasonably priced food and drink. However, I think there is room for improvements in the menu at Tora Hachi to cater for the more sophisticated clientele in the Holland Village area and stamp their presence there. Kanpai!! Cheers!!
Thank you very much Tora Hachi Team for the invitation and for hosting us.
Food & Drink: 7/10
Service: N/A (Tasting Invitation)
Budget per Person: $26 - $50
Tora Hachi Japanese Grill & Restaurant
29 Lor Mambong
T: +65 9067 3489
Sun – Thu: 11.00 – 23.00
Fri & Sat: 11.00 – Midnight
Menu Available Online
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