The Place We love Japanese yakiniku. When I walked past Niku Kin at Craig Road one fine evening, I decided to head down the next day to check out the few days old restaurant. The location of Niku Kin is opposite Bearded Bella, and it spots a long layout with mainly tables for four.
The Food As a yakiniku restaurant, the main focus here is the Hokkaido wagyu beef, where you can find more than a dozen parts of the Hokkaido-bred Wagyu Cow. The menu as we understand is curated by a Hokkaido chef, which probably explains why it is so comprehensive and specialised. I started with an Umeshu drink, the Ozeki Yuzu Umeshu (S$9), which taste like a diluted soda drink with not much punch and yuzu flavour.
Other than meats for the grilling action, the side dishes are also pretty diverse. We started with the Wagyu Aburi Sushi Set (S$17/5 pieces). The wagyu beef here is torched over gently, along with Japanese rice. I find that the meat here is a tad too tough to chew, even though the marination and flavour are decent.
Another side I had was the Wagyu Tartare (S$12). The raw wagyu beef here is served with a raw egg yolk drizzled with truffle oil and served along with seaweed sheets. After my stellar experience with beef tartare at Kimme, no other versions quite come close to it. Suffice to say, this version is good enough but not outstanding. I enjoy the beef tartare on the seaweed sheets which provides another dimension to the flavour.
For the Miso Soup (S$2), it was served lukewarm instead of hot.
Moving to the highlight of our dinner, we started with the Hon Misuji (S$24). This chunk tender cut is the part behind the shoulder blades of the cow, and it turns out to be surprisingly good. I’m estimating the portion to be between 100-150g of six beef slices here, which goes well with the beef sauce, a little lemon and some truffle salt. It is definitely not that fatty itself, and the flavours are best brought out with the condiments. The way to grill the meats is to first smear the beef fats on the grill!
I also tried another rare cut, the Gomu Suji (S$18), which also comes in six slices. This cut is the abdominal muscle part located near the skirt, which is thinner in slice than the Hon Misuji and much fattier. I enjoyed this cut more, as the flavours have more umami. Given that it is more thinly sliced with more beef fats, the fire was visibly bigger as we grilled this and it probably retained more of the nice char aroma on the meat.
The most premium and common cut I had was the Sirloin (S$28). With only four considerably thick slices, the meat here is very tender and the most flavourful of the lot I tried. Suffice to say, you can’t go very wrong with the sirloin though it is also less adventurous. The best way to enjoy the sirloin is to just have it with the truffle salt.
Rants As I visited the restaurant on day two of their operations, teething issues with the service is understandable yet somewhat perplexing to me. I arrived at 6pm sharp, which is the stated opening time and I also reconfirmed that when I called to enquirer prior to my visit. However, we were told that the restaurant would only be ready between 6:15 to 6:30pm during my visit and received no further updates from any staff while we continued waiting outside the restaurant. In the end, we have to take the initiative at 635pm to enter the restaurant to reaffirm if they were indeed planning to operate that day. I guess teething issues is one, but the communication here could most certainly be improved. I was also perplexed if there were to be any concerns if they were to offer us a seat in the restaurant to wait instead.
We also notice that the tables are mainly designed for four or two diners, which limits to bigger dining groups.
Will I Return Again? We love our yakiniku, and will continue our hunt for our favourite yakiniku restaurant in Singapore.
Taste bud: 3.5/5
Hole in the pocket: 3.5/5
Overall Experience: 3.5/5
Niku Kin (肉金)
53 Craig Road
Tel: +65 9817 0591
Monday to Saturday: 5pm to 10:30pm
Closed on Sunday
Ranted by The Ranter