Japanese BBQ Yakiniku Yazawa
You can’t swing a bat without knocking into a Japanese eatery in the Robertson Quay area, but this BBQ establishment is a standout, despite the pretty ordinary setup (think black booth seats, dim lighting and wood accents). Grilled everything is the order of the day, from seasonal fish to Kurobuta to Saga beef. The Yazawa meats on offer are reason enough to warrant a return visit, as are the set menus at lunch and dinner.
You can’t swing a bat without knocking into a Japanese eatery in the Robertson Quay area. And not all are as good as we’d like them to be. Sure, the menus look similar enough and most have the usual décor, but when it comes down to it, the food is often lackluster and uninspiring. So when we found ourselves positively ravenous after a long hard day at work, we decided we ought to give in to our carnivorous tendencies at this Japanese DIY BBQ establishment.
The set up is pretty standard, with black booth seats, dim lighting and of course, wood accents. We got right down to business and ordered beef, pork and chicken. While we waited, our helping of chanjya—raw codfish innards ($8)—arrived. The rubbery entrails were seasoned with a spicy sauce that was reminiscent of kimchee marinade, while the sprinkling of sesame seeds, sliced onions and scallions provided elements of sweetness, astringent bite and texture.
Our slices of Kurobuta kalbi, Berkshire pig rib ($15), appeared with an equal proportion of fat to meat. After cooking it up, we found the porcine flesh both succulent and tasty. The tan, ox tongue ($18), was less impressive, and proved to be a tad too chewy for us. Our tori momo-niku—sliced boneless chicken marinated in spicy miso sauce ($15)—was flavorsome, with just a hint of heat that didn’t overwhelm the meat. However, the true star of the evening was the nakaniku—black cattle beef brisket ($40). These handsome slices of marbled meat earned their stripes after a strict three seconds on each side as instructed by our waitress. Simply put: Exquisite.
Another noteworthy dish was the tokusei reimen ($18). While we’re not normally partial to cold noodles, this version in a chilled chicken broth had a chewy texture that was most appealing. Topped with half a hardboiled egg, slivers of chicken, sesame seeds and punctuated with aromatic garlic oil, it all went down easily.
We can’t claim that the service staff here are a cheerful bunch, but they’re more than competent. The quality of meats here is reason enough to be back; hell, we’d come back for a bowl of noodles alone. Did we mention they’re open till late?
Have you tried the tokusei reimen? It's one of I-S Magazine's 50 things to eat in Singapore before you die (2011).