QUIET EXCELLENCE AT IZAKAYA SHUN

The inconspicuous facade of Izakaya Shun.

Izakaya Shun sits quietly next to her celebrity sister, Kappo Shunsui, in one of Singapore’s oldest building along Orchard Road. Even during its “hay days”, Cuppage Plaza never really stood out in any way. But silently, it has became an alcove of Japanese bars and izakayas known first only to the Japanese community, and now, inquisitive locals as well. The seedy building is my favorite haunt for authentic Japanese cuisine. Before Shun Izakaya, I frequented Keria, the mother-daughter run Izakaya I reviewed a few months back. They are unique in their own ways. But I was quite bedazzled by Shun’s distinctive taste.

Receive full attention from Shun’s skilful chefs at the counter.

The restaurant that seats barely 20 people boasted a menu consisting mainly small plates with a full page dedicated to specials of the month.

The compulsory Otoshi at five bucks, much like a cover charge, was worth every dollar.

An Otoshi (S$5) of an open-face sushi to commence our meal. I popped it into my mouth before finding out what fish it was. Whatever it was, it sure tasted yummy; brushed with fragrant shoyu and accompanied by scallion dusted rice on a crisp seaweed. We’re off to a good start.

Clockwise from top left: Salt pickled Red Snapper Guts; Snow Crab Mixed Crab’s Liver sauce; Red snapper mixed Salt and wasabi; Chopped Amber Jack mixed sweet Miso and Sour Plum.

Our four starter dishes each had a unparalleled flavor, texture and taste. A real treat with some sake to whet your appetite!

A seasonal delicacy.

Kujo Leek and Firefly Squid with Miso Vinegar– Chef dresses the seasonal firefly squid in a tart salty sauce and compliments it further with refreshing leek. The amalgamation of flavors is delightful with the tender springy squid.

Fatty eel nugget encased in crispy yam crust… Divine!

Deep Fried Eel with Yam Potato– Wow! Eel should always be served this way! The batter coated nugget was light and crispy. A thin layer of yam wraps around a fatty chunk of eel.

Do not let the paleness fool you! 

Charcoal Grilled Pork from Miyazaki– This is exquisite pork! With barely any seasoning… just grilled over a strong heat to a pink doneness. The soft texture and sweet taste of the meat bursting with natural flavor at every bite!

Small Claypot soup of Chicken with Yuzu Pepper– Recommended as a crowd favorite, the chicken soup was the typical tummy warming, food for the soul! Tender chicken thigh meat amidst a clear broth with a subtle hint of Yuzu; Too subtle if you asked me… I would have preferred it just a bit stronger. But I do believe people are loving this soup for its clean, natural flavor.

This lil fella …Quite the highlight of the evening!

Yellow Egg marinated Soy Sauce– The surprising winner tonight was this egg yolk! Cured in a marinade that thoroughly penetrated the semi soft yolk. It’s totally magical! This aint no ordinary yolk and that sure aint no ordinary soy sauce! The texture, the ooziness, and the Ooooo-maminess of this humble yolk was sooo captivating, we had seconds! #screwthecholesterol

Crispy Chicken could be crispier.

Crispy Chicken– So aptly named, yet not as crispy as I had expected or it’d have been superb with that extraordinary Yuzu pepper paste it came with.

These chilled noods were definitely refreshing.

Cold Soemen Noodles Capellini Style with Tomato and Deep Fried Eggplant – I am a fan of Soemen and a bigger fan of cold noodles. So this was calling out to me the moment I spotted it on the menu. Contrary to its description, the eggplant had no sign or taste of having been deep fried. The noodles were just under al dente, chilled nicely to compliment the light floral broth.

Anyone for some Big fat juicy oysters?
Crunch! Crunch!

Oysters from Hiroshima.- Personally, I much preferred oysters fried to raw. I like the contrast between the hot crust and the cool oyster. These were so fresh and delicious! And so plump and juicy. It totally nailed the contrast in taste and texture that I aim for. I was determined for another round if we haven’t another 8 dishes in line!

And if you’re still hungry…

Carbonara using Bonito Soup Stock– Couldn’t pick out the bonito, but nonetheless, a very creamy and rich Carbonara. Skip this, if you’re thinking a classic Carbonara. They’re same, but different! A filler, this one, so maybe leave a little more room if you’re interested!

What excites me is the rotating specials that Shun Izakaya introduces monthly. And if that does not impress, there are plenty of repeats from the ala carte I am only too happy to indulge all over again.

Izakaya Shun 居酒屋旬 @ 5 Koek Road Unit 04-04, Cuppage Plaza, Singapore 228796 Phone: +65 67320195

Disclaimer- This is not a sponsored post!

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