The Place Izakayas are pretty underrated in Singapore at the moment, which is quite surprising going by how popular Japanese cuisine is. Finally, we are seeing this particular Japanese cuisine slowly taking its space in Singapore after Uma Uma launched an Izakaya concept in Millenia Walk last year. Meet the few weeks old JINzakaya, a brand new Izakaya concept by the Les Amis Group, located in Owen Link just beside Farrer Park station. I thought the location is quite understated, which is perfect for me as I am not a fan of big crowds. With a small seating capacity of less than fifty, the vibe of JINzaya is like posh Izakaya to me, as opposed to the dodgy, cramped and rowdy ambience from Tokyo suburbs. There is a main dining area and some counter seats where you get to watch the chefs in full action, we chose the latter.
The Food What else but yakimono (grilled items), ranging from Tori Momo (chicken thigh – $2.50), Enoki (enoki mushroom wrapped with bacon- $2.50), Butabara (pork belly – $2.50), Hotate (fresh scallop wrapped with bacon – $5.50), Foie Gras (goose liver – $9.50) and MBS 4 Wagyu Kushi (skewered wagyu beef – $9). Prices are not cheap by Izakaya standards, even though there are a wide range of options depending on how luxe you want to go. Yakimono aside, there are the other bar bites like Tori Karaage ($10) and Gindara (deep fried codfish fillet – $15) and of course, noodles.
We started with a range of yakimono – Tori Momo, Enoki, Hotate, Butabara and MBS 4 Wagyu Kushi. The standards of the grills were genarally all above average, with my favourite being the Wagyu Kushi and Tori Momo. I reckoned that juicy grilled meats work best for me at Izakaya.
Try this as well, the Kitsune Natto ($3.50), fried bean curd stuffed with fermented beans, so good.
In a feeble attempt to balance the grilled items we had, the Jin Sake Harasu (salmon belly x fresh garden greens x homemade ponzu dressing- $12.80) was a refreshing intermission. There were chunks of salmon belly sashimi.
The Gindara was not exceptional, it reminded me of Fish and Chips in Japanese Izakaya style, and an expensive version in this instance. I will suggest skipping this.
Talk about saving the best for the last, we absolutely adore the Kimchi Ramen ($12.80). The thing about sitting at the counter is that we can direct our burning questions to the chefs directly. We quipped that we don’t think Kimchi Ramen is an authentic Japanese flavour and true enough, it was customised for our local palate in Singapore.
There is no tinge of any spiciness of kimchi at all, but rather a very appetising white chicken base broth cooked for over six hours. It was a real pleasure digging into this kimchi paste ramen packed with chargrilled chicken thigh and onsen egg at the end of our meal.
Rants We bet it is because of teething issues, but the service from orders taking to billing were met with hiccups along the way – from our own experience and from observing other tables. That said, the service staff tried very hard, and we hope the operational aspects will get better over time. Another worthy rant is that we were charged $3 each for the cold towel and cabbage appetiser, not sure if it is compulsory on every table but we felt slightly cheated when the bill came.
Will I Return Again? JINzakaya ticks almost all the boxes for me in terms of dining experience and food standards, except for some gripes. In fact, it is probably one of the best Izakaya I have tried in Singapore so far. The lunch sets are pretty awesome too at $12.80 inclusive of a choice of cold or hot tea. Let’s go!
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 4/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
Connexion at Farrer Park
1 Farrer Park Station Road (off Rangoon Road)
Owen Link, #01-08/10
Tel: +65 6443 1173
Monday to Saturday:
Lunch: 12pm to 3pm (last order 2pm)
Dinner: 7pm to 11pm (last order 10pm)