Hokkaido Izakaya @ Japan Food Town: Worth queuing in line for

Hokkaido Izakaya in Japan Food Town is an extension of its exuberant culture displayed on Tanjong Pagar road. Yet, even with it branching out into a less exciting venue (in a mall), the restaurant always sees the backing of long lines. If that doesn't say something about the quality of food here, I really don't know what else justifies as valid proof.

Relying on Hokkaido's produce as vision, the establishment dishes out the best of ingredients from towns such as Yakumo, Akkeshi, Furano and Kamishihoro - albeit not in your usual omakase fou-fou but in a more approachable manner with wallet friendly prices to boot. Hence the long lines that you'll have to endure. But let's get this straight, if you're looking to kick off an illustrious night with friends, then a meal at Hokkaido Izakaya would be 'it'. Bearing in mind that they do carry a rather pervasive list of sake and shoju to fuel any conversation.

Skip the Japanese Milk Omelette ($10) which seems to be a hot favourite with most diners. While the innards are suitably creamy and the image almost sensuous with the knob of butter melting overhead, the result lacked flavor and was only passable. Swap that for the Potato Salad ($9) instead. Still shrouded in billowing smoke, the whole Hokkaido potato - steamed to perfection - is broken down table-side with a myriad of toppings including bacon chips, seasoned cod roe, smoked egg and Japanese mayonnaise. Sure, this doesn't make for a photo-worthy moment but you palate receives top-notch treatment with this dish.

We were also suitably impresseds by the Hokkaido style Chicken Karaage ($6), where there is less oil present than usual and the puffed up crisp crumb surrounding juicy chunks of chicken deliver the salty notes in just the right amounts.

The husband enjoyed his Tsuke Ra-yu Niko Soba ($15) which comes with an onigiri to fill in the gaps. Using only 100% buckwheat flour from Hokkaido in its Soba, the attention to detail is admirable and it pays off with a very addictive bowl of noodles that took my husband a little less than 5 minutes to finish after swooping in.  I took a tad longer with my Wagyu Roasted Beef Rice Bowl ($19), luxuriating between lardaceous slices of tender wagyu mixed in with the wobby onsen egg positioned strategically. This comes highly recommended especially when such a humble price tag is associated with it. Another bonus point: Free flow Onsen Tamago (not just your regular hard-boiled egg) available at the table. I had no shame whatsoever as I decorated my beef bowl with 2 additional molten eggs.

For something a little steamy when the wet weather program kicks in, order the Wagyu Beef Shabu Shabu soba ($15). Swish your semi-cooked beef slices through the scorching hot broth almost like you would in a pho and give it a few moments before taking your first slurp, cause we would prefer not to get burnt in most instances. Please note that you can upsize your soba for free, so all your body builders out there, take heed. 

With excellent service, well-informed waitstaff, a tight and concise menu that highlights the districts best, Hokkaido Izakaya is a great address for all sorts of meetings, gatherings and even your awkward blind dates.

Hokkaido Izakaya
Japan Food Town @Wisma Atria
435 Orchard Road
t: 6262 3461

Operating Hours:
Mon - Fri: 11 30am - 3pm, 5pm - 10 30pm
Sat - Sun: 11am - 3pm, 5pm - 10 30pm

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