KERIA IZAKAYA.. SMALL PLATES & SAKE ALL NIGHT!

If you enjoy a long drawn dinner coupled with endless sake, you’ll be spoiled for choice with the number of Izakayas hiding within this old forgotten building along Orchard Road in Singapore. But be warned.. you probably won’t score a seat without prior reservations cuz these small establishments are ultra popular amongst the Japanese community. So book ahead! We walked past Keria’s inconspicuous entrance twice before realizing we had arrived! Having made reservations a week in advance with the kind Yoshi San, our party of 6 was psyched up for some authentic Japanese fare. We went with pretty much everything that was recommended. Some hits, some misses and some hell-yeahs!

It was a rather huge menu. And there are nondescript English translations to help us non-Japanese along.Start with whatever seasonal Sashimi that’s available. Check out our platter of buttery cuts! Fried Bacon – The faint photo on the menu looked nothing like the irresistibly crispy breakfast bacon everyone adores. Yet, Fried Bacon was simply calling out to us! Besides… it’s BACON. And it’s FRIED! Seemed like a no brainer! And we were right! Large cubes of golden bacon… juicy and flavorful.. eaten with a dab of mustard to balance the saltiness, followed by a little hot Sake to cleanse the palate! Bam! This first dish set our hopes up for a great evening.Kaki Furai /Fried Oyster … Literally, that’s all they could come up with on the menu. Just two little words, when they should’ve gone with “Big Fat Juicy Can’t-Stop-at-One-Damn-They’re-Good Fried Oysters”! Take a bite through the thin coat of golden crispy panko, and sink your teeth into a sweet squishy voluptuous oyster! Watch out as hot ocean fresh oyster juice explodes within your mouth! Nobody speaks at this moment. Eyeballs roll back in pure ecstasy! Must order!

Natto is fermented soybeans made by using bacteria called “Bacillus subtilis”. It sure doesn’t sound very delicious. Plus it’s icky stickiness, weird texture and funky taste is a big turn-off for many people too. I’ve learned to enjoy this unique food over time. But if you haven’t and want to give it another shot, Keria’s Natto Tempura might set you on the right path! Natto Tempura– Natto beans are wrapped/ smeared in seaweed, coated in Tempura batter and fried. Dunk it in the daikon laced tempura sauce and much (but not all) of that icky, sticky, funk diminishes. For me, it was absolutely delicious. I’ve never had natto this way, and I do love Tempuras. You get subtle bursts of the soybeans in between bites. It was pretty perfect and in my opinion, a gentle introduction to those new to Natto! Take a bolder step and try Keria’s Natto Omelette which was oozing gooey natto mucus within a perfectly cooked, slightly runny, omelette. Yep, ’twas a sea of runny alright!! Most of the beans’ natural taste and texture remained intact. It was lovely!Cold Okra– I might just be a fan of gluey sticky foods. This seasoned cold okra was also right up my alley. It’s probably simple enough to make at home even! Just slice and mix in a good dose of salty mentaiko. Chill and serve!Mentaiko Cabbage– found in most izakayas, this Stir fried cabbage in spicy pollack roe gives quite a kick! For when you feel you need the mandatory vegetable dish…!

Mentaiko Pasta & Tomato pasta. These simple pastas tasted better than expected!The Mentaiko Spaghetti was well coated in a silky creamy sauce with a dollop of mentaiko on top. Mix it up and experience spicy crunchy bursts in every mouthful. As uncomplicated as it may sound, the Tomato Pasta packed a rich tomatoey punch that whet our appetites! You’re not blown away, yet you keep picking on it!!Fried Surimi Cake/ Chukuwa Isobe Age– Fried in a light crispy batter, processed fish meat never tasted this good!!Grilled Ox Tongue– if there’s ox tongue on the menu, chances are I’d order it. Keria’s Ox tongue was delicious! This delicacy does not need much and Keria knows it. Thinly sliced and grilled with just a sprinkle of salt. It was a soft with just a little springiness to the bite. With bits of sliced fresh scallions for contrast. Shirako Soup– Cod milt is seasonally available and we were fortunate to be in the right place at the right time! The shiny white crinkly sacs are cooked in a clear leek soup with a clean sweet taste. Bite into the sac of milt and a creamy custard flows. It doesn’t carry much flavor on its own. You’re going for that smooth creamy texture. And no, not icky at all in case you’re wondering!!Grilled Sanma– This seasonal Mackerel Pike turned out to be a hot favorite despite the worrisome tiny bones. The fish was beautifully grilled, with skin charred to a nice little crisp. The meat was firm and super sweet with a tinge of smokiness. We had to be very careful with the needle-like bones but the deliciousness brought out the determination in us, and we cleaned out the yummy fish good and proper, like cats!!Deep Fried Fish– More fish! Recommended by Yoshi San, i can’t recall if these were Iwashi (Sardines) or ..?! But bring this photo with you when you’re there cuz these were fantastic! They may be small but the meat is sweet and plump! Less bones to deal with too! Atsu Age– Technically just fried tofu but again they were absolutely delicious! The tofu is fried twice so it is soft and smooth (inside) and crispy (outside) all at the same time! Bonito flakes for that little extra flavor. Goma Ice Cream– The only way to wrap up the meal here. The Goma (Black sesame seed) ice cream is such a treat! It was rich and nutty, creamy and not overly sweet, the sweet Azuki mash (red bean paste) was perfect with it.

Try these other dishes if you’re more of a conservative eater. Clockwise from top left: Beancurd Puff Soup; Pork with onions and peppers;  Stir Fried Bittergourd with spam, tofu and bean sprouts; Fried Squid; Sautéed Mushrooms in butter and garlic; and everyone’s favorite Katsu Curry Rice.

I like Keria for the authenticity of their food and flavors, the unostentatious ambience and the warm hospitality. Not to mention the quality Sakes offered on their menu! And I always call in early to try and clinch the tatami seats at the end of the room! Best seats in the house, imo 😉!

Keria Japanese Restaurant @ 5 Keok Road, # B1-28 Cuppage Plaza, Singapore 228796

Phone:+65-6733-0654

Disclaimer- This is not a sponsored post!

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