Despite a dingy facade and racy associations, Orchard Road’s Cuppage Plaza hides a Japanese gastronomic haven.
Cuppage Plaza has remained largely unchanged since its construction in 1983, making it a familiar haunt for the Japanese community in Singapore. Quality produce is a priority at the mall’s Japanese restaurants. For example, Kappo Shunsui flies Japanese ingredients two to four times a week.
Does the sound of this make you hungry? Here are some restaurants you should not to miss!
One of the oldest restaurants in Cuppage Plaza, 22-year-old Kazu Sumiyaki is also one of the most popular spots in Singapore for char-grilled meat skewers. Some of the must-orders here are foie gras skewers, yakitori and grilled sweet potatoes from Hokkaido. While sumiyaki meats are the highlight, the restaurant has other fare, such as sashimi. Reservation recommended.
#04-05, 5 Koek Road, 228796
Kyoto-style exclusivity created by a nondescript grey door accompanied by a biometric scanner makes Kappo Shunsui a comfortable VIP retreat from the other activities in the building. Here, chef Tomo Watanabe serves kappo cuisine which focuses on grilling, steaming, frying, simmering and raw preparation. Sake here is a highlight: from a unique collection of flasks and cups to Watanabe’s steampunk-style copper pot for warming the drink.
#04-02, 5 Koek Road, 228796
Located on the top floor, this 11-seater offers privacy for business meetings or intimate dinners. Tokio Endo, a fourth-generation chef, serves Edo-style sushi. The degustation menu offers fare such as Endo’s sweet sake-marinated kanpyo (calabash) maki and a briny komochi kombu (herring roe on seaweed) with sashimi. The restaurant stocks a good selection of sakes, including a Hakkaisan junmai ginjo sake aged in the snow for three years.
#06-03, 5 Koek Road, 228796
The izakaya is a hotspot for Japanese chefs and businessmen alike. The Japanese-only menu may seem intimidating, but the restaurant’s English-speaking team is helpful in taking non-Japanese speakers through it. Only omakase menus are available during peak hours; the a la carte, while not stated on the menu, can be had on request after midnight. Shochu is offered alongside sake. You can choose to have the spirit aged in an earthenware pot to develop a more intense flavour profile – but be prepared to be on the waiting list.
#02-22, 5 Koek Road, 228796
The extensive menu here is best for those looking for a la carte bites. The otoshi, an optional seasonal hot or cold starter, is available for a small fee. Other than grilled and rice dishes, and sashimi, the izakaya does tempura well: such items are lightly battered and crispy. Other, more contemporary items, such as the mentaiko pasta and carpaccio dishes, are worth a try. A private dining room is available.
#02-01, 5 Koek Road, 228796
By Jasmine Tay, The Peak, October 2017 / Updated by Muneerah Bee, February 2019
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