The Place One perk of working in Tanjong Pagar is the vast food options available for lunch. Located just a few doors from the ever-popular Tendon Ginza Itsuki, the relatively new Hokkaido Izakaya had a soft opening last December and only officially opened its doors last week. I was curious to check out its lunch menu as I stumbled upon it one fine work day, especially after seeing an attractive $12 lunch menu promotion – showcasing one of the main highlights, Soba! For an Izakaya, the space here is considered big, which I estimate has a seating capacity of more than 40 pax. If you love to watch the chefs in action, go for the counter seats.
The Food Buckwheat or Soba in Japanese term is produced mainly in Hokkaido, so it came as no surprise that one main highlight at Hokkaido Izakaya is the hand-made soba noodles. For lunch, expect various soba options such as the Cold Kakiage Tempura Soba ($12), Hot Kakiage Tempura Soba ($12) or Zaru Soba ($10 – cold soba served the Japanese traditional style).
I went for the Hot Kakiage Tempura Soba, which you can customize how much soba you can stomach on the order sheet (100g, 200g or 300g), with no additional price. The price is also sweetened by the unlimited soft boiled eggs servings and extra tempura crunch placed on every table. Kakiage is a type of mixed tempura, typically containing some mixed vegetables and shrimps. I was shocked by the gigantic size of the Kakiage Tempura served over my soba bowl, which is definitely not for the health conscious. The tempura was fried and prepared a la minute, so it was really crispy. That said, do expect a reasonable waiting time for your order. I profess that I am not a huge soba fan, but this freshly made hot soba warmed my heart at least. It may not be the best, but it was comforting.
Rants The kitchen takes awhile to cope with the surge of orders when I was there during a packed lunch hour, which I had to gently remind the busy staff of my order before it was expedited.
Will I Return Again? Japanese restaurants which specialise in a specific regional cuisine is always a promising one. Not so sure about the dinner menu at Hokkaido Izakaya, but at the very least it was a pleasant lunch dining experience for me. I will not mind checking out the dinner menu on my next visit.
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 3/5
Overall Experience: 3.5/5
95 Tanjong Pagar Road
Tel: +65 6221 7118
Daily 11:30am to 2:30pm
Monday to Saturday: 6pm to midnight
Sunday: 6pm to 10:30pm
Ranted by The Ranter, photos by iPhone