Sunday, January 24, 2010

Satsuma Shochu Dining Bar, Gallery Hotel

The very first time I was introduced to Satsuma (1 Nanson Road, #01-10 / #02-10, The Gallery Hotel, tel : +65 6235 3565) some years back, I was with a friend who was into the finer appreciation of alcohol and we spent some hours in their shochu bar drinking with me trying to figure out the subtleties of the various potato and sugar based drink. I had guessed that most of those finer qualities of the distilled drink were lost to me, but I did notice that there was a dining room on the second floor which I would be interesting in coming back to because it was an izakaya styled place. A few years later today, I've finally visited. Yes, I sure took my time about it.

In retrospect, I've to say that I like this place. Service was polite and not pushy when it came to recommendations and there were definitely wait staff that knew the menu. The overall impression with an inevitable comparison to Kazu Sumiyaki was that, Satsuma was in possession of more finesse while the former was the smoky and laid back joint that was a closer fit to the depiction of a traditional Japanese izakaya place. Not that any of them were traditionally cheap as both locations met their respective price points rather competitively. Note that Kazu does have a more extensive menu as well.

chicken liver sashimi

chilled pork belly salad of sorts

We started off with some nicely chilled chicken liver sashimi and what was described as pork belly in special sauce. To digress onto the point of special sauces, it's a personal peeve of mine to see them. Who knows that "special" ingredients go into them? And with this particular one tasting very nutty, I would guess that it's another sesame based blend which was actually not bad in a very appetizing manner. It was all good with the varied textures of shredded crunchy vegetables and the chew of the pork belly strips.

This is the first time I'm trying those chicken liver sashimi and I was really wondering how they would be raw. The taste was unexpectedly for me, very much like the cooked one. Albeit, being raw did come with less of that livery taste and that the texture was smoother than fish.

beef wrapped golden mushroom

some call this oysters in pig blanket

grilled chicken skins

quail eggs in sliced pork

grilled ox tongue

grilled chicken hearts

scallops, prawns, bacon and foie gras...all on sticks

grilled shishamo

Heading into the kushiyaki, it was definitely some nicely grilled stuff that was churned from the kitchen. Noteably, the juicy oysters wrapped in thinly sliced pork, greasy yet crispy chicken skins, nicely cooked quail eggs which didn't have overly dried yolk wrapped in more thin sliced pork, chewy ox tongues and nicely salted chicken heart, foie gras and egg filled shishamo.

mentaiko supageti

I haven't had real success with making my own mentaiko pasta and this one, in it's roe-ful goodness was definitely much better than my own. It was noticeably less spicy but was also creamier than the one down at Ma Maison which was additionally flavored by bacon and onions. Simpler in flavors, but one could taste more of the roe. The chilli powder condiments that's provided on every table does help quite a bit if you're looking to up the notch in spiciness.


XY said...

Hi there! My favourite dish there is their mentai tofu gratin. I like the mentaiko spaghetti, too, although I found it too salty.

XY (Rexic)

LiquidShaDow said...

I personally didn't find it too salty, but then again, I had been eating salted and grilled stuff with beer before the pasta was served.

ratatouille said...

your review and pics have made me want visit an izakaya in SG.

red fir said...

Well done dude (or camera). First it's the Tunisian, now you make me want mentaiko pasta.

Yeap. I've tried Satsuma's mentaiko pasta before & I thought it's pretty darn good.