The CBD is full of fine eats to casual grubs and bars, especially along the Boat Quay area where one can easily find more than a handful of cuisines to last for a week.
My solution to a mid-week purgatory is an indulgent of some sort but without breaking the bank. The seafood Chinese restaurants are mainly forgettable with their tourist-targetted pricing; and when finger food and beer are not exactly your kind of the meal for the night, walk a little further to the end, nearer to South Bridge Road and you will find a Japanese Yakiniku restaurant for really trustworthy Japanese Wagyu beef.
Aburiya has two outlets; one at Boat Quay and the other at Robertson Quay. Tuck into one of the shophouses along Boat Quay, the interior of Aburiya would surprise with its compartmentalised dining area to allow for more privacy. Curtains made up of strings of ropes draped down the opening to each table such that you will have to bow your head to enter and at the same time, you won’t feel being watched by the staffs around.
A large part of Aburiya’s menu is dedicated to the various cuts of the Japanese Wagyu for grilling, some side dishes and a sake list that shines as brightly too.
We started off with the Hyoketsu-Shu $12, The Frozen Sake, made from Ichidai Akinokuni Kurazake from Hiroshima. Slightly defrost, each dainty cup was filled with ice chips floating in the sake.
Appetizer was the Kimchi Mori $10, consisting of an assortment of house-pickled Radish, Okra, Cabbage and Cucumber, with a taste of spiciness, sweet and saltiness from the various components.
Yasai Mori $13 came in a platter of grilled vegetables such as the eggplant, Eringi mushrooms, pumpkin and cherry tomatoes. At the corner were curry and matcha powder for dabbing which brought an additional flavour to the vegetables too.
Don’t leave without having a few sticks of the skewers, also a forerunner in Aburiya’s earlier days.
The Kushi Mori $15, made up of Tontoro (pork cheek) Kushi, Wagyu Akami (lean beef – thigh) Kushi, Tori (chicken) Lemongrass Kushi, Lamb Kushi and Wagyu Karubi (short rib) Kushi [in order of left to right] was nothing short of expectation.
On the bolder side with strong flavours, these kushi mori would pair well with some booze to ease on the seasonings. The chicken kushi was the most well-balanced in taste and texture, followed by my favourite two, the lamb and short rib kushi, brushed in a sweet and savoury glaze leaving the charred edges surrendered for a firm bite. The wagyu thigh, on the hand, had tough membranes that needed more jaw works.
The Wagyu Carpaccio $19 was brought back to the menu again after winning as one of Singapore River One’s signature dishes last year.
Wildly theatrical, the smoke-filled bell jar was lifted at the table to reveal thinly sliced wagyu showered with ikura, tobkio, fried flower petals, chopped shiso leaf and truffle-infused olive oil. The multitude of colours primed my appetite for more. Within seconds, we had the plate scrapped clean.
Lard was rubbed against the grillers as we moved to the most exciting part of the dinner.
Beginning with the Atsugiri Tongue $20, this 200g premium cut Wagyu beef tongue was cooked till 70% doneness on the grill before being sent into our bellies.
What makes a beef tongue stands out is the distinctive texture, bouncy and chewy, something like kelp but meatier.
I would highly recommend the Tokusen Wagyu Mori $50, definitely worth the buck and calories.
The signature platter presents four of the freshest Wagyu cut with minimum serving of 150g each.
What we had on the day was the:
Tokusen Wagyu Hire Steak: Featuring a tender cut between the sirloin and ribs, the hunks of hire steak first turned brown at the surface during the grill while the centre slowed to a glowing incarnadine – the perfect timing to savour it with its tenderness kept at bay.
Tokusen Wagyu Sirloin: These finely-marbled slabs puckered and hissed over the grill, plump as if going to burst. With the melt-in-the-mouth butteriness and juicy consistency, my vote easily went to this.
Tokusen Wagyu Rosu: Also known as Zabuton, this comes from the prime cut of Chuck roll, not as equally tender as its counterparts but still good.
Tokusen Wagyu Karubi: It was a tough choice between the Sirloin and Karubi due to my bias for the latter. The short ribs were blessed with umami-ness but the lasting impression went to the sirloin which won by a slight margin for its buttery magic coat over my tongue.
So good, I can’t find fault in this magnificent beef platter.
After a hearty meat feast, we were thankful to have the Reimen $11.90 to freshen up our palate.
The Korean-style noodles were served cold in a clear, light and tangy broth, topped with kimchi, char siew, shredded cucumber and a soft boiled egg.
Even the ice cream was heaven beyond words. No kidding, the sesame ice cream perked me up with the fragrant whizz of roasted sesame and lingering bits within each mouthful. The best I ever had.
Matcha ice cream, with an avalanche of sweet azuki beans, was decent as well.
Menu as follows:
Aburiya at Boat Quay
78 and 79 Boat Quay, Singapore 049867
Tel: +65 6532 0365