Food Review: Wagyu Express by Aburiya in Tanjong Pagar | Affordable Japanese Yakiniku and the Delectable Hokkaido Pork
The Place By the team behind Aburiya, Wagyu Express is a one month old Yakiniku dining concept along Tanjong Pagar serving Japanese imported meats from Hokkaido at relatively accessible prices. The idea of Wagyu Express is not for diners to rush through their dinner, but rather to provide a fuss-free Yakiniku experience along the buzzing stretch hugely denominated by Korean restaurants, including Sikdang down the road. The interior of Wagyu Express is simple, resembling some of the Korean barbecue joints along the same stretch.
The Food Expect a wide selection of various cuts of beef and pork on the menu, along with limited side dishes selection. In any case, I usually overlook the sides for Yakiniku as I really just want to dive straight into the meats. Regardless, I tried both the Kimchi Mori (S$10) and WX Salad (S$7) for a start. The former is an assortment of kimchi with elements like daikon soaked in dashi, which is overall not overly spicy.
I enjoyed the WX Salad more, as the Romaine lettuce with red onion is crunchy along with the addictive deep-fried eggplant cubes tossed in balsamic dressing.
For meats, go for the Wagyu Moriawase (S$38/180g) for an assortment of cuts. The restaurant purchases and imports the entire cattle of Wagyu from Hokkaido. The various cuts for this platter are the Jo Karubi (prime short rib), Tonbi (a cut from the part of shoulder clod), Jo Rosu (inside thigh) and Karubi (short plate). The meats here are grilled over ‘bincho’, or white charcoal, which supposedly makes the meat more flavourful.
You can opt to have the meats along with various choices of condiments like ponzu, garlic butter or dark soy sauce. Of the various cuts here, my favourite is the prime short rib as it is the most flavourful and well-marbled. That said, the rest of the cuts are relatively commendable too.
For fans of sukiyaki, the Wagyu Sukiyaki (S$20) is quite a unique dish to have. This is usually enjoyed by dipping the thinly sliced A4 wagyu meat into a hotpot, though the version here is to grill the meats before dipping the the sukiyaki beef slices into the egg sauce.
Wagyu thigh is used here for the sukiyaki, which is well-marbled and tender. The egg sauce dip here has a tinge of spiciness to it, so mild that I couldn’t really taste any spiciness in the sauce. Top marks for the beef, but the sauce did not seem to enhance the flavour much.
For pork, I had the Hokkaido Buta Mori (S$24), an assortment of Buta Sirloin, Buta Kata Rosu, Buta Karubi, Tontoro and Arabiki sausage.
In general, all cuts of the pork are very juicy, with a slightly crunchy texture if you grill it long enough. I like my pork to have a little char at the edges, and I am surprised by the quality of the pork here – with some of the cuts outshining the beef.
To conclude the meal, I had the Garlic Chahan (S$11), a simple bowl of fried rice with garlic and beef.
Rants The seating capacity is not big, and it may be tough to snag adjacent tables for big groups. The ventilation is modestly done, and things can get a little smoky.
Will I Return Again? Wagyu Express is perhaps of the rare few Yakiniku restaurants in Singapore which is affordable, yet serving up quality cuts. Trust the owner here, whom is a Hokkaido native to bring the best cuts here at wallet friendly prices.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Taste bud: 3.5/5
Hole in the pocket: 3/5
Overall Experience: 3.5/5
108 Tanjong Pagar Road
Monday to Saturday: 5:30pm to 11:30pm
Sunday: 5:30pm to 10:30pm
Ranted by The Ranter