Jinjo Restaurant Review

Jinjo is a modern Sumiyaki restaurant by Les Amis helmed by chef Makoto Saito. It specialises in traditional Japanese charcoal-grilled fare using prime seasonal ingredients. 

Cold Bites

The menu has a selection of hot and cold starters. From the “Hot bites” section, we chose Kotsuzui (bone marrow) ($12), Yaki Goma Tofu ($7.50), and Chawanmushi (steamed egg custard with truffle) ($12). There was a generous serving of soft, rich, creamy bone marrow which, though delicious, was slightly on the fatty side – definitely for sharing. The chawanmushi was also very tasty. Our favourite dish was the tofu, which had an interesting creamy interior under a crisp surface. It was so good, we ordered a second helping.  

Yaki Goma Tofu
Kotsuzhui Bone Marrow

We also had Sakana Harumaki (fish fritters) ($8) which was fresh and tasty, delicious Nasu (eggplant with bonito) ($12) and Umaki (Unagi omelette) ($12) – tamagoyaki with eel rolled inside ($12). This too was tasty, but eel can be a bit bony.

Sakana Harumaki
Nasu (eggplant with bonito)
Unagi Omelette

From the cold starters, we ordered the sweet and juicy momotaro tomato ($10) and Wagyu Yuba (Wagyu beef, beancurd skin) ($13).  The latter was bite sized with little pieces of wagyu in it, not a dish for sharing.

Wagyu Yuba
Momotaro Tomato

Charcoal Grill

From the charcoal grill, we ordered hotate (Hokkaido scallops) which were sweet and fresh ($14 for a plate of four scallops), chicken skin ($5), chicken wing ($6), tsukune (chicken meatballs) ($5), negima (chicken and leek) ($5), chicken heart ($5) and wagyu sirloin ($24). We also had zucchini ($5), sweet potato ($8), aomori garlic ($14), aichi onion ($7). The grilled food was simple, tasty and very satisfying.

Hokkaido Scallops
Chicken wing and Chicken Heart
Aichi onion
Wagyu Sirloin


To end our main meal, we shared a Donabe (a Japanese rice pot) with spicy beef ($48). This takes 35 minutes to prepare.  There is also a truffle Donabe ($55) and an unagi (eel) Donabe ($35). The beef Donabe had the taste of a rich corn beef hash or stew in rice.  It was tasty but really filling and should be shared between at least two people if you’ve had a lot of starters and grilled food.

Spicy Beef Donabe

We had excellent Yuzu sorbet ($6) and black sesame ice cream ($6) for dessert.

Jinjo Ice Cream and Yuzu Sorbet
Yuzu Sorbet and Black Sesame Ice Cream

There is an extensive sake selection at Jinjo including a premium Sake flight of four sakes. 

Flight of four seasonal sakes

Jinjo also has three set lunch menus on Monday to Friday:

  • Gyu Set $42 (100grams Kagoshima yakiniku beef, onsen egg, japanese rice)
  • Tori Set $27 (Grilled chicken, chicken meatball, onsen egg, japanese rice)
  • Unagi Set $34 (Grilled unagi, japanese rice)

Each set is served with salad, pickles and soup and we will definitely be back to try it!

Overall: Simple tasting, but food is beautifully grilled and of a high quality. Would definitely return.

Favourite Dish: Donabe with Beef and the Chawanmushi!

Overall: $$$


Kuro Maguro Restaurant Review

Kuro Maguro is at Guoco Tower, 7 Wallich Street #01-04, Singapore 078884. It was recommended to us by a Japanese friend living in Singapore who is very particular about sashimi. It claims to serve sashimi, including premium cuts of maguro, that’s fresher than that found in Tsukiji Market in Japan.  The fish is selected, prepared and then flown in 3 times a week from Miura Misaki Kou.

Kuro Maguro Lunch menu

We decided to try the lunch at Kuro Maguro. It is only a small restaurant and you will probably need to queue to get in at lunch hour, but it is well worth queueing for.  However, you have to like raw fish to eat here – the smell of it hits you as you enter! The lunch menu includes a selection of donburi (rice bowl) sets starting from about $18. The sets include miso soup, chawanmushi (steamed egg custard), hot tea and fruit. There is also a list of specials for the day. We tried that day’s special, barbequed sting ray fin, which was warm and tasty and a good appetiser accompanied by an ice cold Kirin beer.

Loads of rice bowls!

Rice bowls

Subsequently, we ordered Toro and Salmon Ikura Meshi which comprised minced maguro, premium salmon and ikura in a rice bowl. It was a perfect combination of really fresh fish on beautiful Japanese rice. You can order additional toppings of Uni (sea urchin) ($10), Ikura (Salmon roe) ($12), as well as more maguro and salmon if you don’t have enough of it. However, we felt that there was more than sufficient on each of our rice bowls and, with the chawanmushi, miso soup and fruit, we felt very full by the end of the meal. 

Toro and Salmon Ikura Meshi

Other donburi sets which caught our eye were O-toro meshi (with premium maguro) ($29.80), Barachirashi with sashimi cubes assortment ($18.80) and Maguro yukke meshi – minced tuna topped with soft boiled egg ($21.80).

Kuro Maguro Premium Seafood Don
Premium Sashimi Don
3 kinds of Maguro Don

Other recommendations

There are also sushi sets and roll sets starting from $15.80, including aburi teriyaki salmon roll – avocado wrapped with rice and seared salmon ($15.80), and Kisaragi Sushi set ($19.80) with 3 pieces of salmon, 2 pieces of aburi (torched) salmon, and 2 pieces of maguro. There is also a more extensive menu available at dinner.

Moreover, a range of alcoholic drinks are available, including Kirin beer ($7 a bottle), shochu and white and red wine (from $14 a glass).

Overall: Kuro Maguro serves very fresh fish on great rice – an affordable and high quality donburi.  Will definitely return.

Favourite dish: Any donburi with toro and ikura!

Price: $$

Japanese Ramen

Sanpoutei Ramen Tsukemen Review

The 1985 film, Tampopo, with its wonderful celebration of ramen, and a particularly memorable scene involving a raw egg (please watch it  – and watch the scene with the oyster too), brought ramen to the world’s attention. In Tampopo, ramen is regarded as a delicacy to be admired and caressed with chopsticks. Now, ramen restaurants (like Sanpoutei Ramen) are a dime a dozen in Singapore – some good and some not so good.  

Tsukemen: A History

Tsukemen is served in many ramen restaurants in Japan, but has only more recently arrived on the ramen food scene in Singapore. Our first taste of tsukemen was at Tokyo Ramen Street in Tokyo Station. 

While ramen has noodles in a hot soup, tsukemen is a dish where noodles are cooked, chilled and served separately from a rich, thick dipping broth which varies from restaurant to restaurant. The Japanese verb “tsukeru,” means “to dip,” and the Japanese noun “men” means “noodle.” Often, the broth is made with pork bones or chicken. The dish originated in ramen shops in Tokyo in the 1950s, where staff would dip leftover noodles in thickened soup stock for a quick meal.

Sanpoutei Ramen

Sanpoutei Ramen, from Niigata Japan, at #B1-04, Shaw House, Singapore 238868, is our favourite tsukemen in Singapore so far, with a rich broth made from dried sardine and bonito. The tsukemen is also served with bamboo shoot and boiled egg with soft yolk.  

Sanpoutei Ramen - Tsukemen
Sanpoutei’s dried sardine tsukemen

The noodles have a firm, chewy texture and are tasty on their own.  Each mouthful of noodles is picked up with your chopsticks, dipped into the broth and then eaten. 

After eating the noodles, you would be served with some plain hot soup (“soup wari”) which you add to the remaining broth and which makes a delicious soup. This is a highlight of our tsukemen experience. The Tokyo station restaurant even had some yuzu powder which you could add to the broth to give it a delicious tangy dimension.

Sanpoutei Ramen provides the soup wari at the end of the meal. In some restaurants, you have to ask for the soup to add to the remaining broth so we suggest you practice your “soupuu wari kudasai” in the event no soup wari appears.

The tsukemen at Sanpoutei Ramen is so outstanding, we have returned several times to eat it, and have not had a chance to try any of the ramen dishes. Note that it gets very busy, and you will have to queue at peak hours.

Overall: So far, my favourite tsukemen in Singapore! Good ambience, but may need to queue at peak times.

Price: $$ (around $16 for ramen or tsukemen)

To watch: Tampopo, 1985, by director Juzo Itami

Italian Japanese Omakase

Monte Risaia Omakase Review

Monte Risaia at 59 Duxton Road offers several Japanese and Italian Omakase menus. We love both these cuisines and decided to try it out. We also like counter dining where you can see your meal being prepared and this restaurant has counter dining which can seat about 12 (fewer with safe-distancing). 


The interior was dark and modern with a black and wood colour scheme and the chefs were dressed in black: Picture lots of activity behind the counter and bumbling cauldrons of pasta water.  We went for the Omakase dinner course with three appetisers, a pasta and a meat dish for $98 per person. There was also a seasonal Omakase menu which was at a higher price of $138 (everything up to the chef). Other available menus were an Omakase pasta dinner priced at $68 with three appetisers and two types of pasta and an Omakase “main” dinner at $80 with three appetisers and two meat courses.

Our first course was a totally Italian complimentary starter platter of bread, olives, olive oil and Parma ham. It was really good – high-quality olive oil and Parma ham.  Really delicious and a great way to start our meal. 

It was really good – high-quality olive oil and Parma ham”


This was followed by the three appetisers. The first was a Japanese style hamachi sashimi/carpaccio topped with Ikura. It was good fresh fish in a fusiony dressing. This was followed by an uni (sea urchin) chawanmushi which was deliciously creamy and subtle. The final appetiser was seafood in a clear plain Japanese dashi broth. It came beautifully wrapped in parchment paper in the style of an Italian seafood pasta but inside was the fresh seafood in the clear and tasty dashi. 

Hamachi Carpaccio
Uni Chawanmushi
Seafood with dashi


Next to come was the pasta course. It sounded simple : spaghetti in tomato sauce – but what a spaghetti in tomato sauce! We are big fans of Japanese style pasta and this lived up to our fairly high expectations. The chef, who hails from Tokyo, used to work in an Italian restaurant there. He made the tomato sauce in front of us using his various dashi broths and the nicely al-dente spaghetti (bubbling in said cauldron in front of us) was then added to that. The pasta was then topped with shiso instead of traditional Italian basil. We are still dreaming about it now and it’s been a few weeks. 

but what a spaghetti in tomato sauce!”

Wagyu Course

The final course was a Wagyu steak course. This was beautifully cooked, sliced and presented with tomatoes, endive and a very good horseradish sauce which had something crunchy in it (the way Tsukune does sometimes). If I had to guess, which I didn’t, I would have said that this was quite likely chopped cartilage. We didn’t ask – just in case it put off the more squeamish amongst us. 

Wagyu steak course

Dessert and Drinks

The meal ended with a custardy burnt caramel dessert with sea salt on the side. It came in a little espresso cup and was a perfect end to the meal.  

We had our meal with a bottle of sake.  To this day, we are undecided if wine or sake goes better with an Italian-Japanese meal. The only way to find out is to try the different permutations again in future – a good reason to return. 

Custardy burnt caramel dessert with sea salt on the side.
“…undecided if wine or sake goes better with an Italian-Japanese meal”

Overall: The service was very friendly and it was enjoyable to watch the chefs creating each beautiful plate. 

Favourite dish: Pasta. Will have to return for the Omakase pasta menu. 

Price : $$$ (Expensive but not exorbitant for Omakase)

*Our meal was $98 pp. Price of sake: about $120 for the bottle we chose.