Hibiki: An Hour of Mad Frenzy

Hibiki: An Hour of Mad Frenzy

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1 hour, 60 minutes , 3600 seconds. A full encircling of the minute hand around the clock, an almost lackadaisical process considered by many. But things just weren't the same. Not since we rested our tushies on the comfy sofas lining the modern lit restaurant. No, it ain't your typical laid-back lunch. This was a race for time... and one at the expense of our stomach linings.

I usually would condone the idea of a lunch constrained by time limits. Especially with the settings of an ala carte buffet. Owning the characteristics of any typical 'Kiasu' Singaporean, I suppose anyone would tend to over order in a bid to get back his/her money's worth. But with a clear warning from the kimono-clad maître d' that unfinished food will be charged to the bill according to ala-carte prices, we held back our reservations and seriously.. I mean seriously contemplated the menu.

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Hibiki has began offering ala carte buffet lunch and dinner sets at $20.90++ and $26.90++ since a while back. I would guess that it was a move made, in order to grab a piece of action in the realm of executive and business dining. The push factors for me in contrary were, a reasonable price tag, an extensive menu and a hungry boyfriend kicking from his nagging cravings for Japanese cuisine. Now, who would deny that my visit is unjustifiable?

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The meal started off with a pot of Genmai Cha ($5.00, unlimited refills). The tea, served as a great compliment to most of the other dishes later, as it had a cleansing yet refined undertone to it. This provided the drinker, a teasing of the taste buds via the roasted rice grains soaked with the tea leaves. A gem in my books definitely.

We had sashimi moriwase (salmon, maguro, tako and sweet prawns). All were excellent of course, most probably since it was a friday and fresh fish leaked into Japanese eateries on Thursday. With the thick, fatty cuts of fish tickling our sensitive taste buds. We were geared up for more! So on with the Ebi Tempura, Soft Shell Crab Temaki, California Maki, Yasai Tempura, Torinabe, Agedashi Tofu, Nankotsu Karaage, oh gosh.. was I blabbering?

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How about a thumbs ups for all the better food items? The Soft Shell Crab Temaki was gorgeous.. with deep fried soft shell crab, still warm and crackly wrapped in japanese vinegar-ed rice, cucumber sticks and a devilish dab of mayonaise, this could have easily been one of the best I've ever eaten. No kidding... the assorted tempura was again nicely done with the batter being light and fluffy.

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Food aside, one thing that grabbed my attention about the place, was its sophisticated touch of style. The use of heavy colors and modern furniture that spun a tale of modern meets chic. All was appeasing.. from the glass entrance to the leather couches, the glittery cutlery and the whimsical transparent tea pots. It created an atmosphere so endearing, so at ease that it made tucking into the fine cusine so much more pleasurable.

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From the outdoor grill to the large section of sumiyaki items on the menu, one could generally make a sensible assumption that this was probably the restaurant's speciality. As such, I conceded and called for the Yakitori, Tsukune, Nasu Miso, Salmon and Tebasaki. The yakitori was acceptable; the tsukune bordered on tasteless; the salmon was excellent in terms of exection and spot on in the taste department, the salmon flesh possesing an amaingly sumptous texture almost like melting whip cream in the mouth; the Nasu miso (japanese eggplant with a generous slathering of miso paste) was definitely up my alley as the salty paste complimented the soft egg plant slices perfectly.

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The other sides were served, and the circus act ensued with a mixed performance of arts and flaming fireworks on our palettes.

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One argubly cunning dish would be the Nankotsu Karaage, well, if you didn't have a linguistic background in Japanese, You probably would not have a clue that this was essentially chicken cartilage. Darn it... and I though I could get some decent fried chicken here. *rofl* Worth trying if you are not irked by chicken 'spare parts'.

Worth commending, are the Agedashi tofu and Torinabe, the former as pictured above, had deep fried skin that essentially wasn't too gelatinous. As a result, the freshness of the tofu and the right seasonings came into play, boosting the dish from it's humble standings to something out of proportions in my ideals. Nearing the end of our meal, with the clocks ticking on us, our waitress set down the gargantuan pot of hot soup. A homely scent whiffed thru my nostrils, and before I knew it, my exhausted appetite was back up and running again. The soup, had an amazing clarity to it, the sweetness of the broth coupled with the essence of the chicken was indeniably comforting.

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A quick time check revealed that it was already 2 40pm. Wait a minute? Isn't the restaurant supposed to close at 2 30? Surprisingly, there wasn't an ounce of anxiety in the air. The maitre d' returned a smile of assurance when I expressed my uneasiness at being the last table still seated within the inner compounds. With that, I kicked back my heels and slurped down my last spoonfuls of chicken broth. Rubbing my tummy in sheer satisfaction.

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"You must have our yuzu jelly for dessert," the waitress behind us said.

Of course we had to have that. Yuzu lemons hail from Japan exclusively, tart in flavor, it closely resembles a grapefruit with overtones of Mandarin Orange. Rarely eaten as a fruit itself, Yuzu lemons are priced for its aromatic zest used to flavor desserts and garnish dishes. The Yuzu citrus jelly was the final and most dramatic curtain call I had ever encountered in a dessert of sorts. With jelly cubes filled with the tangy essence of the lemons and further studded with yuzu lemon rind, it made for a certain kind of flavor combustion. Paired with fresly granited ice shavings, it was indescribable. How an ingredient so simple could present such delicious results.

All I wanted was an encore...


Hibiki (Cuppage Terrace)
21 Cuppage Road
Cuppage Terrace
Tel: 6736 0326

7 comments:

ladyironchef said...

eh, the 20 for a la carte buffet lunch is limited to one hour or because u all went late so left one hour? LOL!

a la carte buffet is those u order from the menu then they serve u one right? haha. i tot hibiki used to be 35? hmm

SiHaN said...

it's not becoz i'm late lar!!! rawr. haha. It has limitations for a hour of dining only.

Apparently the price went down to attract the crowds in. It's quite effective too. The place was rather full when i was there.

.elaine. said...

i liked the food at hibiki too! (: wow the yuzu jelly looks really nice.. regret not ordering that last time =p

SiHaN said...

elaine: yeh.. what's not to like. It's of certain standards i feel and at a reasonable price too.

the yuzu jelly is really awesome. you must get it the next time you visit hibiki yesh? if not you'll regret it again!

pinkstripes said...

Sounds like a great meal. I love the pictures.

Ed said...

Hi there, i was browsing for hibiki jap restaurant then happens to come across your blog...gd infos u have..and i read ur profile...u into jogging? Are u in sgrunners forum? =)

SiHaN said...

ed: thanks yar! I'm glad that you find the blog helpful.

I'm not in the sgrunners forum though. haha. not that a hardcore runner. haha.