The Place Located in the revamped Funan mall, Noka is the latest concept by Spa Esprit Group, and it occupies the rooftop level of the mall. The name Noka means farmhouse in Japanese, which is apt because it is Singapore’s first rooftop urban farm-to-table Japanese restaurant, beside the urban farm area managed by Edible Garden City. It is also the sister restaurant to Open Farm Community in Dempsey, and the Japanese restaurant is helmed by Head Chef Seki Takuma from Niigata prefecture. Chef Seki has more than 20 years of culinary experience around the world, and he brings to the table traditional Japanese cooking techniques.
Expect a Japanese inspired wooden interior, which has a mix of counter seating and table seating, along with a private room which fits up to 12 diners.
Do note that the restaurant is located on level 7, though you can only access the restaurant via the lift lobby on the same side as where Godmama restaurant in the same mall. If you are on level one, it is the lift lobby which is closest to the main entrance of Funan mall if you are walking from City Hall MRT.
The Food The menu is hugely Japanese inspired, paired with local ingredients and as much as possible, farm-to-table ingredients from the adjacent urban farm. Three-course Set Lunch starts at S$45++, Omakase at S$150++, and an all carte menu. I managed to try a couple of dishes from the ala carte menu for dinner. Some salads to start the meal for me, where I had the Refreshing Tomato Salad (S$15), which uses Malaysia organic tomatoes along with yuzu pepper vinaigrette.
The Organic Mushroom Salad (S$18) is one to showcase the local produce, with Edible Garden City golden mushrooms and kale, paired with goji berries and fresh wasabi dressing.
The Cod Popcorn (S$18) is probably the “healthiest” popcorn I have had. It is crispy and addictive, served along with sweet chilli and roasted sesame. This make a good bar bite for sure!
Other bar bites inspired starters I had include the Kampong Yakitori (S$12), where you get charcoal grilled chicken thigh with Edible Garden City mushrooms; and the Charcoal Calamari (S$15), a crispy texture of squid ink tempura with Japanese garlic aioli which I really love.
For something comforting, go for the Oden (S$20), which is what I would call the Japanese version of our local Yong Tau Foo. The only exception is that this version at Noka is quite a luxe one, as it comes with a thick slab of wagyu beef, along with the usual oden offerings like daikon radish, itokon, satsumaage and okura. The dashi base broth is light, which makes it a good balance if you are already having other heavily flavoured dishes.
From the sushi bar, I had the Tuna Taku (S$25), a sushi roll made up of fatty tuna, tuna tartare and rice cracker.
For meats, I enjoyed the Koji Ton-Toro (S$38), where you get tender slices of pork jowl with Edible Garden City kale, roasted potatoes and lemon garlic pepper sauce. The pork is jowl is flavourful, and the presentation is visually impressive as well.
Another crowd’s favourite is the Black Cod Saikyo-Yaki (S$38), where the cod fish here is marinated in miso, served with ikura, pulut hitam furikake and white sesame sauce. The miso marination works wonders, which elevated the flavour of the cod.
For desserts, there are a few options to consider which include the likes of Wafu Parfait (S$15), consisting of green tea gelato and red beans; Yuzu Cheesecake (S$15) and Lime in the Coconut (S$15). The latter has elements of calamansi mousse, yuzu jelly and Niigata rice sorbet. Desserts are fairly passable for me in general.
Rants There were some teething issues during my visit, a factor of the restaurant still being fairly new. There were slight issues with the air-conditioning, and one more improvement for Noka is for the service staff to introduce the dishes in a more audible tone.
Will I Return Again? Noka has the potential to be a good farm to table restaurant in town.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Make your reservations instantly at Noka here.
Taste bud: 3.5/5
Hole in the pocket: 4/5
Overall Experience: 3.5/5
109 North Bridge Road
Tel: +65 6877 4878
Monday to Sunday: 11:30am to 2:30pm; 6pm to 10pm
Ranted by The Ranter