Nobiro Japaneses Restaurant and Sake Bar: Hidden Gem in the West

I distinctively remember the day we ventured into the secluded vicinity of Nobiro Japanese Restaurant and Sake Bar. The driver starred at us with bemusement as we forced halted the cab at a rather peculiarly situated bus stop across the highway from the restaurant, supposedly rested within residential property. Sure enough, a little walk up from the bus stop found us starring with rare wonder at a small stretch of shops along Faber Hill estate, housed below an old albeit spacious looking residential apartments.

A very well-guarded secret, this 1 year old Japanese diner remains an unknown destination to even the most avid foodie within our group - needless to say, I was totally kept in the dark on this one. Impressed, albeit apprehensive about the quality of food we're about to receive. Truth is, it's hard enough serving up decent sashimi to discerning diners in hot spots located in town; but to acquire a fresh supply on top of attracting a regular cliente in this part of town proves to be an unimaginable mean feat. With that in mind, I waited in trepidation as the kind hosts Michele poured us a sweet, dry Dassai Junmai Daiginjou 50 (300ml for $49, 720ml for $98) to calm our nerves. Was this a ploy to get me drunk?

The restaurant dives straight to the point, dishing out a spread fit a prince as soon as we had settled in. The Sashimi Salad ($16) hits the spot with a wide spectrum of fresh fish tossed in piquant dressing with a ring of fragrant pesto for dredging through. I also enjoyed the Nama Kaki Yonshiki ($20) - a platter of 4 gargantuan oysters prepared four different way; onion salsa, pesto and ponzo with pink sea salt for wildly satisfying experience fueled by plump creamy oysters in each bite. The oysters continue to dazzle in the Mushi Nama Kaki ($20); where the freshness is extremely crucial as it provides self-saucing purposes in the steaming process.

Things get a little more interesting when the Cheese Menchi Katsu ($16) arrives as an innocuous looking treat on the table only to be met with squeals of delight as a ginger split reveals creamy mozzarella cheese stuffed between moist homemade beef patty mounds. Resistance is futile where the minced beef balls are concerned and we would strongly recommend this.

Excellent companions to the excellent selection of sake here are the Yakitori Sticks (7 for $23, 12 for $39 and 15 for $45) - the selection is devastatingly extensive and debate inducing. To help you out a little, the Tebasaki, chicken wing ($4.50), Tsukune ($4.50) and Tebamato, chicken drumstick meat ($4) are our personal preferences, each presenting a quality that surpasses some of the better izakayas I've come across in my foodie escapades. More adventurous palates can opt for the Chicken heart, Hatsu, Sunagimo (chicken gizzards) or Soroban (chicken neck).

 One of the best dishes I had at Nobiro is the Tonpei Yaki ($13) - bacon, prawn and cabbage omelette - deep mounds of fresh ribboned cabbage topped with sauteed bacon, perfectly cooked prawns and saucy soft cooked eggs. Inhibitions get thrown out the window with this dish and you'll be chuming with your next table neighbor over this one. The effect is thrilling: like setting off fireworks of taste and textures in your mouth.

Equally unforgettable was the Omakase Sushi ($38 for 6 types) - an unorthodox rally of freshly sliced fish over japanese sushi rice. Steep the rice in soy sauce and the amalgamation of flavors in one mouthful will tempt you to order another round. Wash this down with Tanigawadake Junmai Cho karakuchi (300ml for $39) -  crisp and bluntly dry sake which sings in harmonious tunes with the fresh sushi.

The Mentaiko Pasta ($20) succeeds the meal in a brilliant finale. An intense, comforting dish puctuated by savoury cod roe pasta, showers of spring onion, nori and more ikura. Because that, when all is said and done, and the rambunctious peals of laughter die down, is why you go. Sure the interiors are a little dated and unexciting, but you didn't come for sexy decor. You came because once you've eaten at this Westie Japanese joint, you may never have to venture out of the neighborhood in search for Japanese food again.

Nobiro Japanese Restaurant & Sake Bar
Faber Hills
108 Faber Dr
t: 6873 0095

Operating Hours:
Tues - Sun: 6pm -12am


Anonymous said...

Hi! Sounds like an interesting place.

I would recommend you don't steep your sushi rice in soy sauce though. It's supposed to only go on the raw fish.

SiHaN said...

Dear anonymous, you're absolutely right. a blunder on my part...