Box n Sticks

One thing you can’t fault this tiny bento and yakitori joint in the heart of Kampong Glam for is the emphasis on fun. Everything from the constantly changing menu to the Asahi mini-can beer drinking challenge is in keeping with their promise of delivering a whole box of surprises. So what can you fault them for? (Always a more interesting question, right?) Well, the sashimi morawase ($15.80) was somewhat under-inspiring, semi-frozen fish stuck unnecessarily to ice packs like a “wounded” EPL player. We didn’t think much of the underdone tsukune chicken ball skewers ($7.80) either. The aesthetic of the place leaves a little to be desired, too, with its unforgiving chairs and a bit of a fishbowl feel; though once you accept that this is just a funked-up diner there’s a lot less to complain about. Price for one thing. With no GST and no service charge (not that they don’t deserve it), you’re consistently paying bottom dollar here. A nicely balanced salmon teriyaki onigiri goes for just $9.80, a crunchy house special temaki (hand roll) for only $3.80. Prices like that mean you can afford to experiment, and their monthly specials are a good place to start. We weren’t won over by the furikake aglio olio ($9.80), but the combination of fish flakes, chicken bits and pasta is tough for anyone to pull off. Better was the chukka idako or seasoned baby octopus ($8.80), which dodged the problems of over-icing that bedeviled the other raw fish dishes we tried. Another bargain—the $3.80 top-up which offers a choice of two side dishes (standouts include the cold tofu and the edamame; always the edamame), and a soft drink to go with your main. Don’t take it too seriously then (the owners wouldn’t want you to, after all), and this is an attractive lunchtime or late-night option.