Megumi Japanese Restaurant @ Upper East Coast Road: Japanese nosh with a local spin

I'm just going to dive straight into the food. Because that's mainly what it is about at this no-frills Japanese eatery tucked away in the Upper East Coast Road region, flanked by the ever-so crowded Perle Noire and Strictly Pancakes on the other side.

Focus on the sashimi, and not the stiff faces of the floor staff, whom not once in my time spent at the joint even lifted the corners of their lips. Since the ordering is done through an IPAD system, it more or less lessens the interaction between these drones and the diners, so I'm not complaining. It just bugs me a little that the kitchen which bears so much soul in its cooking is cold and barren on the outside.

My orders of Mekajiki ($14 for 5 slices) and Salmon Belly ($12 for 5 slices) was inspiring. Thick slices of omega-3 laden treasure pots on a single dish definitely is a sight for sore eyes. We could have eaten 5 of these and begged for more. The Ebi Tempura ($15) was your run off the mill regular fare, the light batter not possessing as much crispness as I would like, however, the stiff, crystal snap of the prawns within, do make a difference. 

Try the Yaki Udon ($9.80) - a quick carbs decision that I was most pleased about the rest of the night. Cooked with a deft hand and an implicit acquaintance to Hokkien Mee; the rendition here hosts a remarkable wok hei flavor, accentuated by rich seafood stock that have permeated the thick strands of udon so beautifully. Ringed round the strands are chunky bits of fluffy scrambled eggs, glistening cabbage, prawn and chicken; all of which are imbued with the wok's smoky flavor. Chock full of ingredients, you'll find yourself eager to fish out the strands of udon first in order to acquire a stockpile of jewelled ingredients at the end. A must order when at Megumi.

There is an impressive menu of rice bowls, ramens and bento sets at Megumi, which really makes you wonder about the expanse of the kitchen kingdom;  puny, that I can vouch for. So whatever the chefs are doing, they are doing right as our random order of the Kaisen Ramen ($17.80) delivers a superior bowl of milky soup with skinny ramen, jam packed with assorted seafood from mussels to prawns, scallops and  poached salmon. For those looking for a change from the usual overly salty Tonkatsu broth, this is your calling.

Looking slightly dull and low key, but when you taste it, recognizing the silky texture and balance of flavors, you realise that much more work has gone into it than the effort raised by the staff to even dispatch a single smile. It's humble stuff, and you feel relaxed. That's Megumi. 

Megumi Japanese Restaurant
77 Upper East Coast Rd
t: 6243 0700

Operating Hours:
Daily: 11 30am - 2 30pm; 5 30pm - 10pm

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