Shaburi and Kintan: In the mood for a meat fix?

It's been almost 2 years since my last visit to the much lauded shabu shabu establishment Shaburi and Kintan in JEM mall and judging from the crowds that have amassed in the premises at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon, the folks of Jurong East have taken to the concept very well. The place is filled to the rafters with enthusiastic diners filling up at the new and improved greens section of the side-dish buffet. On top of that, main menus for the Shaburi have seen drastic improvements with the inclusion of a larger variety of meat choices such as chicken and seafood shabu.

What is it about picking from an assortment of bits and bobs that makes eating just a little more exciting. Whether you choose from the regular shabu, seafood shabu or the exquisite special wagyu shabu, we just can't help being drawn to meals that offer a choose-your-own adventure.

Unlike the usual side dish spread at most other shabu shabu joints, Shaburi and Kintan is a significantly flashier operation. It's massive centerstage housing everything from a tempting array of Japanese side dishes like corn tempura, Agedashi tofu, chikuzen ni and niku jaga (meat and potato stew) to Japanese curry and my favourite Chicken Karaage. It's honestly a visual spectacle as your do your rounds of the vegetable section, loading up on everything from lotus root to beansprouts, soft tofu to cabbage,  leafy outcrops of kai lan and black fungus as your outreach is moistened by a soft spray of cool mist.

The process here is fool proof and runs the gamut of all budgets under the sun. Prices dip to an affable $19.80 at lunch and go up to $49.80 at dinner time for the most premium Wagyu Shabu option. After settling on the price structure of your meal, move on to the soup options which means having to choose between 5 drastically different brews. My money is on the Original Kombu and Chicken Collagen Paitan which allows for most ingredients to stand out. The Sukiyaki, the usual sweet soy sauce broth is good for all things beef related, a quick slap through beaten egg yolks make for an enriched experience. However, when paired with seafood, salmon for example might just be too confusing for the less adventurous palate.

Some new members of the cast include the seafood platter, salmon and homemade meatballs (chicken, shrimp and salmon) as well as the highly disregarded chicken which sheds its usual generic image to steal the limelight with it's paper thin impressions that allow for the full flavoured stock to penetrate it with a mere swish through the simmering broth. Can't get enough.

Regular Buffet - $19.80 at lunch, $28.80 at dinner
Seafood Shabu - $35.80 at lunch, $39.80 at dinner
Wagyu Shabu - $45.80 at lunch, $49.80 at dinner

With a ravenous appetite, we moved on to sample the best of what the Kintan buffet has to offer. As in my previous review (read here), the standouts include the Shimofuri steak, Wagyu Karubi, Pork Belly and the more obscure Atsu Tongue - all these remains perched on its pedestal with equal if not better, more illustrious care bestowed on these beasty cuts.

I can't get past the shimofuri steak, it's visually pleasing with webs of marbling distributed with care demonstrating the breeders fastidious nature in the overall weight gain of the cow. The wagyu short rib is anything but pedestrian, it's ridiculously rich, intensely flavoursome and meltingly tender, so much so that a quick dab of salt is all that is required to elevate its richness. While tenderness is analogous to luxury, most cuts ignored in the Western culinary world are prized in yakiniku for their variance in texture and flavours. The Atsu (wagyu tongue) for example, is unexpectedly sliced thicker than normal and grilled till medium rare to retain a slight chew that spills out a rich, darker intensity that is synonymous with the pedigree of the cow. 

Regular Buffet: $22.80 at lunch, $29.80 at dinner
Kintan Buffet: $29.80 at lunch, $38.80 at dinner
Premium Kintan Buffet: $39.80 at lunch; $46.80 at dinner
Special Wagyu Buffet: $54.80 at lunch, $59.80 at dinner

Make sure to stop over for soft serve and fruits before you cal an end to your meal!
Plan a visit during off peak hours. With plenty of space, great ventilation and a tight quality control over meat choices, Shaburi and Kintan is a goer. Leave your willpower at the door, the meat fest is definitely worth splurging the calories over.

Shaburi and Kintan Buffet
50 Jurong Gateway Road
t: 6262 4329

Operating Hours:
Mon - Sun: 11 30am - 10pm

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