The Place Taking over the now defunct Department of Caffeine along Duxton Road, the less than one month old Ninja Bowl serves up healthy offerings in the age of cafe overloads. The interior is pretty much the same as the previous tenant, retaining the casual industrial vibe which is perfect for your weekend brunch or a spot to keep your mind off work momentarily during weekday lunch. Superfood is the way to go, at least for me, which explains my excitement to check this place out after learning that it has a strong focus on Japanese infused rice bowls. The owners of Ninja Bowls are also behind other dining concepts including both Babette and Chillax Cafe.
The Food All nett prices and no service charge, what an awesome way to be introduced to Ninja Bowl. A quick glance at the menu on the wall shows that there is nothing over $20, and you will be surprised to find out the prices of some dishes here are relatively affordable. We started with some of the Japanese inspired Ninja Bowls, the Yasai ($14), Kabuki ($16) and Buta ($14).
Loaded with generous chunks of Salmon poke, mixed sultanas, onsen egg and tomatoes mixed in soy and ponzu sauce, the Yasai sounds like the perfect superfood combination for me. Yes, protein. That aside, it is definitely not filling for a regular guy on its own, but there is an option for add ons like quinoa ($3) as we did, Ninja Rice, Orzo or Garden Greens ($2 each).
The Kabuki comes with seared honey chicken leg, baby corn, pickled beetroot, onsen egg, fried shallots and Korean beansprouts. This is much more filling as compared to the Yasai for me, and the presentation is perhaps more visually appealing as well with the vivid colours of the ingredients at play. The tender chicken leg is the star ingredient here.
For the Buta, you will love this dish if you like your pork, especially one that is Japanese aburi chashu alongside roasted pumpkin. The chashu here is prepared from cured pork belly before it is blow-torched to give it the tender texture. I enjoyed all three Ninja Bowls and can’t pinpoint a favourite exactly as it really boils down on which combination of ingredients you prefer at that point. For sure, I do think every bowl is hearty on its own, and it does make me feel supercharged after a post gym day.
Ninja bowls aside, the brunch items here are not your usual cafe fares, which is such a nice deviation. The Gyu & Tama ($17) is easily something I will have again, loaded with mushroom scrambled eggs which is irresistible to me, alongside beef cheek braised for 24 hours. Served with toast, this is easily one of the more value for money dishes here, for the generous serving of the beef. The scrambled eggs are buttery enough, with a nice runny texture which goes well with the toast.
Something unique to consider for brunch is the Ebisu ($18), a predominantly seafood dish which I do not usually spot on brunch menu. I love the miso butter cream, which goes so well with the toast. Use your hands to dip the toast into the sauce, so good! You can also find fresh pan-seared Hokkaido scallops and mussels in this pot.
On desserts, we tried the Fancy French ($16), made of Fig jam French Toast, ume-boshi infused honey, fresh grapes, plums and topped with some homemade hazelnut butter. It would be better if the toast was more crisp, and I would have preferred a more buttery version.
Rants It feels deja vu all over again stepping into the space here, as there are no major refurbishment from the previous Department of Caffeine.
Will I Return Again? I always find it difficult to find a decent superfood option in Tanjong Pagar area for lunch, especially after my workout. Ninja bowl is definitely worth returning for as I love the mix of balanced ingredients instead of the usual salad offerings. That said, the reasonably priced brunch menu is worth a revisit too, which I will have to save for another day.
Make your reservation instantly at Ninja Bowl here.
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 3/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
15 Duxton Rd
Tel: +65 6222 8055
Monday to Friday 9.30am to 7.30pm
Saturday to Sunday 9am to 6pm
Dinner service will commence in late-May
Ranted by The Ranter