Thursday, June 18, 2009

Food_Glorious_Food: EBiSBoShi SHoTeNGai 惠比寿星 商店街



Japanese Food Amusement Street
201 Victoria Street Iluma @ Bugis
#04-08/09/10 Singapore 188067
Tel: +65 62381011

Had dinner with my husband, M, at Ebisboshi Shotengai on Thursday. Ebisboshi Shotengai is the latest Japanese dining concept where diners get to sample and enjoy Japanese cuisine from seven different brands under one roof in a street amusement setting. The seven brands are Sweet Brothers (Japanese desserts), Teppan No Hoshi (Teppanyaki), SanShiGo (Sushi), Katsumiya (Tonkatsu), Menya Manpei (Sapporo Ramen), Tora Shabu (Shabu Shabu) and Tsubohachi (Izakaya-style dining).

Ambience & Service
I must say that I'm quite impressed with the decorations found at the entrance. An extremely large red traditional Japanese lantern and sculptures of Japanese gods adorn the exterior. The interior is also decorated with traditional Japanese paper lanterns, bamboo fences and wooden screens. There was also a short performance on the Japanese drum by one of the service staff when we sat down at our table. The ambience is quite different from the other Japanese restaurants which I've gone to.Another thing worth mentioning is that Ebisboshi Shotengai offers diners a different way to order their food. Instead of a service staff taking down orders, diners can place their orders by tapping a stylus pen (provided at every table) on the barcodes next to their choices of food on the menus. Upon confirmation of the orders, the information will then be sent to the kitchen and you just have to sit back, relax and wait for your food to be served. This is one innovative system which I like. All our orders were served without a hitch.

M ordered a Tonkotsu Karamiso (spicy) Ramen. As he has been well trained by me in eating spicy stuff, he felt that this ramen is not spicy enough as compared to the volcano ramen from Ajisen. So if you have eaten the same ramen from Ajisen before, you would be able to gauge the spiciness of this Tonkotsu Karamiso Ramen. Nonetheless, M liked the taste of the miso soup, the crunchy bamboo shoots and the tender charsiew. But he felt that it would be better if there's a Japanese soft-boiled egg too.

*Please pardon me for the lousy quality of the photos as these were taken with my mobile phone camera.

Tonkotsu Karamiso (spicy) Ramen

As for me, I settled on a Mini Shoyu Ramen and Unagi Don (Set) as I couldn't find a non-spicy miso ramen set on the menu. The unagi don was served to me first. Although the unagi was grilled but it still remained tender. Not tiny bones and fishy smell either. The sauce was excellent too. Not too cloyingly sweet. The rice, on the other hand, was a tad dry. It could do with more of the sweet sauce. That would be perfect.

Next was the shoyu ramen. This shoyu ramen was different from the other shoyu ramen which I've eaten. The soup was not the usual clear, black soup but was instead a thick, brown soup which somehow reminded me of a milder version of the miso ramen. Which is good for me as I normally prefer miso ramen to shoyu ramen. This ramen also came with crunchy bamboo shoots, tender charsiew and Japanese fishcake, just like the spicy miso ramen M ate. Just like how M felt, it would be excellent if a Japanese soft-boiled egg was included too. So greedy of me, right?

Mini Shoyu Ramen & Unagi Don
Set SGD14++

We also ordered a plate of Gyoza (10pc) to share. If you are a gyoza lover like me, you would probably have eaten gyoza cooked by different methods, i.e. the deep frying method, the boiling method, the steaming method and the pan-frying method. I prefer the latter method which was exactly how these 10 pieces of gyoza were prepared. However, the bottoms of these gyoza were only slightly brown and not really crunchy. I would also have preferred them to be more than bite size as this would mean that they come with more filling. The sauce provided was only shoyu mixed with white vinegar. Togarashi and hot sesame oil were not provided and this added to my disappointment. So far, my holy grail for gyoza is from the defunct Nandaiken restaurant at the basement of Liang Court. Hopefully, I can find a restaurant which is able to serve my ideal gyoza soon.

Just a note to add, the gyoza sold here also comes in two other versions - one is sprinkled with chopped spring onions and mayonaise, and the other is the garlic version.

Fried Gyoza (10pc)

Finally, for drinks, M ordered a lime juice and I ordered an iced green tea. Something which I think worth mentioning, is that the iced green tea came in a tall glass similar to the one M had for his lime juice, quite unlike those served in other restaurants I've visited. Moreover, the price of it is similar to the rest at SGD1++.

1) Iced Green Tea

2) Lime Juice

Overall Comments
I would probably visit Ebisboshi Shotengai again, not to eat the food which I've eaten this time round but to check out Tora Shabu, a maid theme restaurant in Akihabara-style that serves shabu shabu (Japanese hot pot). The restaurant is offering lunch buffet @SGD15.99++ during weekdays and @SGD18.99++ during weekends. Word of note to those who sat up after hearing "maid theme restaurant", phototaking is not allowed in this restaurant. I guess it means you cannot take photos of the waitresses dressed as maids here. Hopefully, they will allow me to take photos of the food though. =P