For the complete review with uploaded pictures and quoted prices, please view:http://www.thefoodnomads.com/2012/04/13/rakuzen-ntuc-income-building/
A restaurant serving Japanese fare set at wallet- friendly prices within the heartlands? Rakuzen’s second outlet that is situated right opposite Tampines Sports Stadium, has been gathering a sizeable following since her opening just last year. Committed to offering high quality creations with many of her ingredients imported directly from Japan, a couple of friends and I decided to a pay a visit to check out the hype about the restaurant.
Fire Mackerel; a signature item under Rakuzen’s Special broiled dishes, I must say that we were initially deceived by its unremarkable appearance, until the local Chef whipped out his blowtorch and starting searing the diagonal cuts that sizzled while releasing a pungent yet mouth-watering aroma that caused our hungry stomachs to growl. My absolute favourite of all the numbers I had tried- the first mouthful of the mackerel had definitely caught me by surprise. Retaining a slight hint of rawness and iciness, the delicately flavoured dish that has been accented by a significant taste of tangy rice wine vinegar, was extremely enjoyable and memorable. Not only did the Fire Mackerel serve to whet our appetite, it left us craving for more of it.
Moeyo Beef Roll; yet another of their stand- out house specialities, we watched on in anticipation as the chef walked into our private dining area again and started searing each piece of the well- sized treats with his blowtorch. We were rather intrigued by how the slices of raw beef transformed from a vibrant red to a slightly brownish hue. A considerably chewy slice of grilled beef settled atop in addition to the tiny wedge of creamy avocado and slightly crisp tempura batter held within the comforting grains of rice, the Moeyo Beef roll had certainly offered lovely textures with each bite.
Sashimi Zen; a few (if not, many) of us might often opine that when it comes to fresh Sashimi, what you pay is what you get. Thankfully, Rakuzen offered elegant slices of Sashimi that were of decent- quality; which are definitely worthy of the price tag.
Sakura Chirashidon Zen; served on a bed of warm, lightly vinegary al- dente Sushi rice, I was glad that my personal order (of the assorted Seafood Sashimi slices) delivered a good balance of taste and texture as well. Not the slightest bit of fishy, I was able to taste the natural sweetness of each and I must admit that they did quell my cravings for the time- being.
Chicken Teriyaki Zen; reasonably- sized chunks of Grilled Chicken that were well- marinated and juicily tender, the set meal was gratifying enough to bring about a nod from my friend.
Gyuniku Houba Yaki Zen; with plenty of bite, the chewiness of the Grilled Beef pieces was rather pleasant and comforting. The meat could have fared a tad better on the taste buds since it was not exactly thoroughly cloaked with flavour.
Unagi Zen; the Grilled Eel hit the right notes with its deeply savoury profile and the deliciously tender texture. Without being too soft, the Grilled Eel was just slightly crisp on the outside while being smooth on the inside. It is probably quite uncommon in many casual Japanese eateries but the servings were noticeably generous, very much to my friend’s joy.
The Yakiniku Zen was the most popular set meal on our table. Cooked just right and rich enough in flavour, the Grilled Beef Set was not mind- blowing, but it was satisfying enough when what some of them wanted was a good, simple Japanese standard meal done well.
We had to remind the service team of a few of our orders on several occasions while during the day of our visit, the restaurant were unable to accept cash payment. In addition, I thought that some of the waiters and waitresses could have been a little more friendly and approachable since a couple of them appeared to be a little stern.
The Special Broiled numbers are certainly must- tries should you patronize Rakuzen while the set meals are definitely reasonably priced. Comprising of a spacious main dining venue and a few small private rooms, Rakuzen might be a worthy option to hold sizeable gatherings, corporate or family dinners. All in all, I would give thumbs up to the wallet- friendly prices and the decent quality of creations offered by Rakuzen.