ON-YASAI @ Chijimes: A Welcome Relief

Weekends are when the guilt sinks in, a culpability towards the stress that I put my body through with my horrendous diet during the weekdays. Take today for example where I followed a Chicken Tikka Naanwich from Fix with Pulled Pork tacos from Mex-out and then rounded up the whole sinful affair with the BEST fried chicken and waffles at The Beast. All this washed down with copious amounts of alcoholic beverages... hey.. don't judge.. after all #TGIF folks! Continuous days of dietary insurgence with hardly any greens in sight usually leaves me feeling sluggish and out of shape. Then, as my mind shifts to the notion of healthy eating, I am deterred by the thought of bland tasteless dishes. Well, if some of you out there are faced similar dilemmas, fret not, I reckon I've found a solution to this problem.

ON-YASAI is a shabu shabu joint hailing from Tokyo. With origins since 2000, this chain currently has more than 300 outlets in Japan alone. ON-YASAI aims to challenge the common concepts, firstly that shabu shabu is an expensive affair and secondly, to delineate the all-you-can-eat steamboat experiences you often get in Singapore brimmed with cheap ingredients and frozen meats. Targeted at the families, couples and the professional woman, they strive to provide a healthy selection of ingredients driven by seasonal produce with a creative array of soup bases.

Besides its usual ala-carte menu, there is the buffet option which comes with 40 different types of vegetables and appetizers. Each diner also receives 1 tray of meat, 1 Chicken Tsumire (Japanese minced chicken in bamboo stick) and 1 dessert. Priced at just $49.90++ on weekdays and $54.90++ on weekends for adults; this is a wallet friendly manner of eating healthy yet eating well. Do take heed that there is a time limit of 1.5 hour per table on the buffet so pace yourselves.

Japanese hospitality meant us trying a multitude of appetizers before the real deal. Jagakara ($8.90) was a peculiar combination of potato and pickled squid that was very much acquired taste, the distinct poignant taste of the sea with the squid kicking up an appetite. Another stellar dish to order with your beers is the Brown Sugared Broad Beans ($3.90), sugar coated with a brief touch of salt, this crunchy snack is extremely addictive and I dived at it continuously much to my embarrassment when the host offered to refill my bowl.

One of the main characteristics of ON-YASAI is the assortment of soups, there are Tomato Soup, Citron Soup with Collagen, Japanese Style Spicy Soup, Golden Soup (truffle flavored), Seaweed Soup, Sichuan Spicy Soup, Soyamilk Soup and secret Sukiyaki Soup. Best part is.. you get to select 2 soups for every pot! 

Soon, the pots of soup (we chose the citron soup, golden soup, seaweed soup and soyamilk soup) placed on the induction stoves had reach a rolling boil and we proceeded to cook our meats with gentle precision. The Japanese Wagyu Chuck Roll ($34.90) and Australian Wagyu Chuck Roll ($23.90) both had excellent marbling and cook within seconds of its interaction with the hot stock. Boosted by a refined setup, we were encouraged to leave our meats on a drip tray before dipping in our choice of goma or ponzu suce to prevent watering the sauce down. Utter brilliance and such attention to detail on the restaurant's part. The Japanese Momoiro Pork Collar ($18.90) was best savored in the soyamilk soup, the milky richness of the soup enhancing the fattiness of the protein. I found refuge in the exquisite goma sauce, the use of foie gras adding an extra flavor dimension. Truth be told, I would have loved to take a swim in this sauce had it not been for my nagging reminder to maintain proper table manners in front of my hosts.

The Chicken Tsumire ($6.90)  is a house special of chicken mince stuffed in a bamboo skewer that eventually becomes meatballs as you carve them with a spoon into the pot of soup.

Let the feast begin.

The assortment of fresh vegetables and mushrooms filled us up quickly. The excellent broths adding to the pageantry of the dish, the restaurant's consideration for every aspect of the meal pushing it past any type of expectations I've had for a shabu shabu experience.

The Soya Milk Cheese Risotto Set ($5.90) hit the nail right on the head with a grand finale that I've yet to encounter anywhere. At the end of the meal, instead of letting a good rendered down broth with the essence of all that cooked meats and vegetables in it go to waste, we are given cheese, rice, condiments and an egg. After a few magical whisks of the wrist, we were presented with a bowl of silky smooth risotto. As simple as it sounds, it's an ingenious and satisfying way of appreciating the entire shabu shabu experience at ON-YASAI.

The meal concludes in a wave of gustatory pleasure capped off with a dazzling cat-walk of light desserts to sweeten the deal. The Homemade Pumpkin Pudding ($8.90) comes strongly recommended, the dish entailing a restrained sweetness with elegance, stacking earthy flavors from the steamed pumpkin to comforting nuances of cream with the warm toasty notes from the brown sugar syrup.

We also indulged in the Peach Sorbet ($6.90) and the ON-YASAI ice cream ($7.90),  a pleasant way to round up the evening of food festivities.

ON-YASAI on the grand scheme of things offers up a holistic experience that intends to debacle some old school shabu shabu controversies. With the backing of such an excellent array of soup bases to boot, I reckon that factor alone seals the deal for many return visits.

30 Victoria Street
t: 6336 4002


Derrick Tan said...

hahaha this article you wrote with a touch of humble. I enjoyed reading it.

SiHaN said...

Awww. Thanks Derrick. It really was quite a food meal! An eye opener! Thanks for the invite.