Ninja Bowl: All the right moves

Sitting around awaiting news can be agonising sometimes. At times when I encounter predicaments like these, my mind instantly drifts to an encyclopedia reflection of comfort food types such as the one I'm about to mention.

Ninja bowls takes over Department of Caffeine's plush albeit smokin' hot pad along Duxton Road. Just over  a month old, the minimalist cafe looks to woo the same target audience of trend chasers who, over the year have seen a graduation of palette from waffle-depraved souls to atas rice bowl hunters. The region, seemingly reaching a saturation of similar concepts such as May May and Grain Traders, still receiving a respectable traction with busy executives looking to squeeze in a bit of nutrition during short lunch hours.

Speaking for myself, I'm not usually such a go-getter for rice bowls. The mere fact that I've not tried neither of the two above-mentioned establishments proving that claim firmly. So my recent invitation to suss out Ninja bowl and their infamous donburis really cause me offguard (ninja pun).

Where the mainstay bowls are concerned. Ninja Bowl is happy to vouch that none of their combinations go above $20. Not that I'm surprised, because anything more for a quick meal would just be considered daylight robbery. The winning factor lies in that there is no GST nor service charge to your total tally; NOW, that's a great deal. The Ninja Bowls come in an assortment of 8 different styles, ranging from the vegetarian Geisha ($14), braised-beef option - Noka ($14), Salmon poke-fied Yasai ($16) to the Buta ($14) for the porcine aficionados. And it treads on a basic naked platform till you decide to pimp it up with carbs or veges like quinoa ($3), Ninja rice, orzo or garden greens ($2 each). 

We were not disappointed by the Buta ($14) Bowl - the orzo (a short grain-like pasta), a good foil for slathering in egg yolk and aburi chashu juices. The creme de la cream - ume pickled apples cut through the imminent richness. 

The Kabuki ($14) stole my heart almost instantly. A generous slab of sliced chicken marinaded in soy, mirin, honey, garlic; sous vide and seared till sporting a beautifully caramelized exterior. This accompanied by pickled beets, baby corn and sprouts' the quintessential presence of onsen egg providing glorious coats of sunshine to the mis-mash.

If it's not rice bowls you're after, the all-day brunch menu may be where your scene is at. Take the Gyu and Tama ($17) for example, this contemporary partnership of creamy mushroom scrambled eggs with 24hour Braised beef cheek is easily a dream for any gym buff. Loaded with protein lauded with a good comfort kick from spices unleashed in the braised beef; this works well even for an early dinner.

For an more extravagant lunch affair, there is the choice of Ebisu ($18) which miso butter cream sauce does go a long way in flavoring the extra grains or ninja rice you have left in your bowl. Adequately sized and portioned Hokkaido scallops and mussels grace the marbled bowls with a flourish of dreamy cream sauce. Now, if only there was an added option to throw in pasta into the dish instead of those door-stopped likened toast that certainly worked the role of an eye-sore too.

The Fancy French($16) puts in the right frame of mind whilst you're entertaining thoughts of weekend brunch, every time. Brioche stuffed with homemade fig jam, drizzled with honey infused umeboshi for that piquant salty-sweet deliverance and rounded up with sweetened slices of figs and grapes for an aesthetically pleasing treats that sits well in the tummy. I would have liked a more fluffy version as this leaned ever so slightly on the stodgier scale.

Bowls that never go beyond $20. I see the appeal now. Somewhat, since it's essentially high class economy rice with a little more finesse in deliverance and added attention to presentation in a chi-chi tranquil cafe settings. Why not?

Ninja Bowl
15 Duxton Road
t: 6222 8055

Operating hours:
Mon - Fri: 9 30am - 7 30pm
Sat - Sun: 9 am - 6pm

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