Wednesday, March 01, 2023

Izakaya Torikin X Cafe Hachi

Izakaya Torikin X Cafe Hachi, matcha shabu shabu

There are some things to be understood here. Izakaya Torikin and Cafe Hachi (1 North Canal Road, tel : +65 6226 1182) operate in the same space but at different times along North Canal Road; in the very spot that used to be Trattoria La Vita and if you went further back, goo Italiano. Izakaya Torikin X Cafe Hachi operate in both the same space at the same time. In the evenings.

Izakaya Torikin also = Torikin X Cafe Hachi. Torikin, an izakaya at UE Square set up Izaka Torikin which collaborates with Cafe Hachi at night. The setup's an "izakaya" that still serves the matcha desserts that Cafe Hachi does in the day. Confused? We came here today for their matcha shabu shabu which I thought was delicious but overpriced.

Izakaya Torikin X Cafe Hachi, home made ginger ale

House made ginger ale was not bad. It had a nice gingery flavour and wasn't excessively sweet.

Izakaya Torikin X Cafe Hachi, goma kanpachi

Liked the goma kanpachi. I guess it was a kind of starter we got ourselves while waiting for the matcha shabu shabu. Amberjack with sesame sauce and grated sesame seeds. Delicious with the wakame, nori and the sweet grated wasabi.

Izakaya Torikin X Cafe Hachi, lamb chop

Lamb chop's not bad, a little pricey and they need to learn how to serve it sizzling like the other izakayas that do it in air conditioning. This one came with a sweet black pepper sauce which was actually kinda nice. 

Izakaya Torikin X Cafe Hachi, matcha shabu shabu

So why did I choose to call them an "izakaya" instead of an izakaya? Kitchen looked severely understaffed and food prep management looked very very lacking in experience. Uncoordinated even. Menu was very limited. The shabu shabu which has technically close to zero setup time took a long time to prepare. Throughout that time, they had somehow decided to start the fire going on the pot while the broth was evaporating away. All these as they rushed to assemble a platter of vegetables and sliced meat. I don't understand why.

Izakaya Torikin X Cafe Hachi, matcha shabu shabu kurobuta

I mentioned them being overpriced. This was meat for two. Kurobuta belly and loin. In my not so humble opinion, I would have considered it portion for one because it wasn't that much. And each portion of the matcha shabu shabu is $55 before service and tax.

Izakaya Torikin X Cafe Hachi, matcha shabu shabu vegetables

So those meat and these vegetables costed $110. Feels like prices from a nice Japanese restaurant in a hotel than an izakaya, doesn't it?

Izakaya Torikin X Cafe Hachi, matcha shabu shabu

The broth was matcha in dashi. You can taste it when you drink it on it's own. Not apparent when it's with the food. And totally indiscernible when you get the dips/sauces involved.

Izakaya Torikin X Cafe Hachi, matcha dip

Speaking of sauces and dips, I thought they did those well here. We were provided a matcha/goma dip (goma hidden under the matcha), some spicy yuzu thingy and pureed garlic.

What elevated the flavours for the shabu shabu was the matcha/goma dip. The aromatic (to a certain extent) bitter from the matcha melded with the aromatic sweetness of the goma into a nutty green tea and sesame concoction which totally works with the sliced kurobuta. To step the experience up, there was garlic puree which was lightly salted. That together with the green tea dip on the meat and vegetables......outstanding would be my modest description of it.

Izakaya Torikin X Cafe Hachi, matcha basque cheesecake

The menu called this matcha Basque cheesecake.'s a matcha cheese cake. Not bad. Not too sweet and there wasn't a compromise from the green tea flavour.

Izakaya Torikin X Cafe Hachi, affogato
Izakaya Torikin X Cafe Hachi, affogato

This was their "affogato". I would have called it a parfait on a plate - what with the mochi, azuki beans, chestnut and green tea cornflakes and all. Nice. I'd gladly come back for the matcha desserts.

Izakaya Torikin X Cafe Hachi, north canal road

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