The Place Located in Ngee Ann City, Hanare by Takayama is a new and relatively casual concept by Chef Taro Takayama, who is behind his eponymous omakase restaurant Takayama. The main entrance of Hanare by Takayama speaks Japanese and I like that you can’t catch a glimpse of the situation inside the restaurant from the entrance. I was ushered through the walkway after the entrance, passing by a few private rooms which can accommodate 4-6 persons. The main dining area is decked in wooden furnishing and the overall interior is simple, yet minimalist and elegant.
The Food The main highlight of the concept is the signature Kamameshi dish, a rice dish slow-cooked in a kama – a traditional iron pot – along with various ingredients.
Other than Kamameshi, there are other dishes such as tempura, sashimi, and various grilled dishes to choose from. For sake lovers, there is also an extensive range of sake to pair with the food.
The lunch menu is more value for money as compared to dinner, as each Kamameshi set include the rice dish, Chawanmushi, Seasonal Sashimi, Saikyo Miso Black Cod, Daily Soup, Pickles and Dessert.
I went for the Wagyu Kamameshi (S$58), where some of the appetisers were served first. My favourite of them all is the cod, cooked to a nice texture and it is quite a pleasant surprise to have it as part of the appetiser.
The Wagy Kamameshi comes with slices of the Wagyu beef. I was told to mix the sesame condiments into the iron pot and stir. The Kamameshi uses koshihikari rice from Niigaka along with a specially brewed dashi stock. Firstly, the beef is expectedly flavourful and well-marbled. I also like the beef sauce which also adds more flavour to the rice, which boasts a nice dashi flavour.
I also tried the Chef’s Choice Of Daily Kamameshi (S$68) set, which happened to be snow crab during my visit. As compared to the Wagyu, the rice here is much lighter in flavour and the taste of the dashi stock from the rice is more pronounced. Personally, I prefer the rice to be more flavourful, so I do recommend the Wagyu over this. Do check with the staff on the daily Kamameshi option, which may not be snow crab all the time.
Other options for lunch include the likes of Unagi Kamameshi (S$52) which uses freshwater eel from Kagoshima; Awabi (Abalone) Kamameshi (S$72); Salmon Ikura Kamameshi (S$48).
Dessert is a simple Yuzu sorbet.
Rants Service seems a little choppy during my visit and hopefully as the staff gets more familiar with the menu, this is merely a teething issue.
Will I Return Again? Definitely head here for the lunch set if you can, where the value of the set lunch is not too far off from other casual Japanese restaurants. I am keen to try the unagi, so that is on my wish list for my next visit.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Taste bud: 4/5
Hole in the pocket: 4/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
Hanare by Takayama
391 Orchard Road
#03-07 Takashimaya Shopping Centre, Ngee Ann City
Tel: +65 8298 9369
Monday to Sunday: 12pm to 10pm (last order at 9pm)
Ranted by The Ranter