This was the question that I was asked most by friends and colleagues days after the 1st of June. Well, unlike the past years when it was admittedly more festive and loud, my birthday this year was much more private, more intimate yet I had the most important people of my life sending me the sweetest birthday greetings and wishes. What more can I ask for?
Luckily, Paul didn't had to go to work on my birthday so he told me that he'd like to take me out for lunch. The best part was, I get to choose where we're eating! Yay! So days leading up to my birthday, I started shortlisting restaurants that I've been wanting to try. Should we go have steak? Perhaps indulge on pots after pots of Chinese steamboat? How about Japanese? Since I'm clearly not over my Tokyo hangover yet so sushi and sashimi was the final choice for my special day.
The drill is simple. All we had to do was to order from the tablet provided on our table and our orders are expected to arrive within minutes. I got to admit that Shin Minori is definitely not a very fancy Japanese restaurant and I have doubts on its authenticity too but hey, the sashimi looked pretty fresh and we found a couple of favorites too.
Let me share with you some of the things that we tried from the menu:
Since we couldn't decide what type of sashimi to try. We opted to go with the platter where we got to sample an array of salmon, tuna, swordfish and cuttlefish. The salmon was the yummiest and the cuttlefish (ika) was just too chewy to be fully enjoyed. After this, we ordered another plate filled with all salmon since it was so good.
Paul and I love grilled eel (unagi) very much so when we saw that it was part of the buffet menu, we couldn't resist but to order it.
I know, I know. Not a very smart thing to order but I'm crazy about edamame and I can definitely finish one entire bowl in one meal. This one was pretty good as it was lightly salted making the edamame beans so addictingly yummy.
Now, this was the highlight of our meal. Thin-stips of beef with a just-right amount of fat served on a hot skillet. It was so yummy and we love the sweet sauce underneath. It reminded us of good sukiyaki beef which we both love. Now, the best way to enjoy this is to have it with rice. No kidding.
...and so I got a bowl of garlic rice which I got to admit was a bad idea. The rice wasn't fragrant at all and it tasted really old. While I know that you use cooked/one-day-old rice to make fried rice, this one had a weird "stored-longer-than-a-day" taste. The texture wasn't even sticky as I was expecting a Japanese restaurant to serve Japanese rice but well, it was just so bad that I had to enjoy the beef minus the carbs. I should have just ordered Plain White Rice instead.
Paul, on the other hand, wanted noodles so he tried the Beef Strips with Soba Noodles. The beef was exactly the same as the Gyuniku Shogayaki but after enjoying all those beef pieces, the soba noodles tastes really bland and not so good. It's the type that's obviously not made fresh and despite being a packaged noodle, it has a weird aftertaste and smell. Carbs was clearly not Shin Minori's forte so I recommend that you steer clear of these.
While they pretty failed in the carbs category, they made up in other dishes. I'm a big fan of shishamo (pregnant capelin) and their grilled version was delicious! It was Paul's first time to have it and he was hooked! After having two shishamo each, we went ahead and ordered the deep-fried version and more of the grilled type as this was definitely much better.
For our veggies, we tried this very Korean-inspired stir-fried dish with kimchi, beanspouts and pork. It wasn't so bad but it's not one that I'd order again.
Over-all, Shin Minori is the place to go to if you want something really cheap and quick. Don't expect Michelin-level Japanese cuisine here as I'd honestly say that their authenticity is not quite there yet. Will I go back? Perhaps for more of the Shishamo and the delicious Gyu Niku Shogayaki.
Lunch: S$37++ (adult) / S$27++ (kids)
Dinner: S$39++ (adult) / S$29++ (kids)
Check out Shin Minori at 81 Clemenceau Avenue, 03-15/16 UE Square, Singapore 239917. Call them at +65-67332272.