Shokudo, Japanese Coffee House at Cathay Cineleisure

Do you know the nursery rhyme that goes like this:
Jack Sprat could eat no fat.
His wife could eat no lean.
And so between them both, you see,
They licked the platter clean.
Sometimes, I feel that Paul and I are just like Jack Sprat and his wife. We can be very different yet at the end of the day, we know that we're truly perfect for each other. Those who knows us both would say that I could talk and talk all day while he can go about a day without uttering a single word. I'm definitely an extrovert while he's Mr Shy Guy. At the same time, I got to admit that I love the limelight and do not mind the attention while he tries his darnest to stay behind the scenes as much as possible. Still, these opposite traits make us get along so well. As the Law of Attraction has long proven -- Opposite Poles Attract.

For Paul's 30-something birthday, he made it pretty clear that he doesn't want a big, highly publicized birthday celebration. All he wanted was to have a simple dinner with me and his cousin J followed by another birthday meal with our friends I, C and O. That was it. He was really serious about it and so there goes my plans to throw him a street party along Orchard Road...kidding!

Sure, we're having dinner but I won't just allow him to choose some side walk kopi tiam to celebrate his special day in, right? He loves anything Japanese and so I began my search for the right restaurant for the birthday boy. After reading up on a number of local food blogs, I finally made my choice. Paul's birthday dinner was held at -- Shokudo.

Shokudo is not your regular Japanese restaurant. One look at the interiors and you'll instantly get a hip and modern vibe. Add to the fact that it's located at the second level of the Cathay Cineleisure building where it's surrounded by retail shops that caters to the teens and college crowd.

shokudo sg 1
I was the first to arrive and while waiting for the birthday boy and our one and only special guest J, I decided to order the Shiitake Karaage (S$5.80). Deep-fried shiitake mushroom done the tempura way. It was served with a creamy wasabi dip which made it so yummy! It's a good thing that both J and Paul arrived just as the appetizer was served. We happily munched on the crunchy mushroom "tempura" and what made it so good was actually the dip. We had to ask for a second refill halfway while enjoying this. I'm so glad this turned out good as I was simply hoping it won't be a tasteless, awfully oily starter.

shokudo sg 4
For our mains, I was in the mood for pasta that night so I tried the best-selling Seafood Avocado Carbonara (S$15.80). I got to admit that I wasn't blown away by this dish. It was very creamy alright and I liked that they were very generous with the seafood however there was nothing unique about it. The cream was too overpowering that the avocado has lost its flavour turning it into a mashed tasteless bit. I stared at Paul and J's orders as they obviously made better choices that evening.

shokudo sg 2
Paul went for another best-seller, the Mount Fuji Curry Omu Rice (S$16.80). Imagine a juicy piece of burger steak topped with cheese and cabbage and served with a creamy omelette (omu) rice underneath. What a perfect treat for the birthday boy! Guess it was good as Paul seemed satisfied with his dinner given that his plate was clean afterwards.

J went for the Garlic Steak (S$19.80) which he generously shared a slice with me. It was very tender and the fries was crisp and lightly salted, just the way I like it. Really, my pasta was the only disappointment that evening.

shokudo sg 3
To cap off Paul's birthday dinner, we shared a huge piece of Waffle with Red Bean and Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream (S$6.80). I guess they're pretty known for their waffles and after getting one quarter slice, I now know why. It was crisp on the outside and buttery soft inside. I love love love matcha green tea ice cream and it really goes well with the sweet red bean too.

It was a simple yet fun dinner just as the Paul has requested it to be.

Shokudo is located at Cathay Cineleisure Orchard, #02-06A/B, 8 Grange Road. They also have a branch at Bugis Junction. For reservations or inquiries, call them at +65-67360971.

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