EDIT: Chotto Matte has closed down.
Along the Peranakan-styled shophouses of gorgeous mosaic tiles on Blair Road, Chotto Matte (meaning “wait a moment”) is a cozy Japanese restaurant, specializing in yakitori, sushi, and sashimi, playing club music. Chef Roy Chee, former Executive head chef of Standing Sushi Bar, helms the kitchen. There is a good selection of sakes, Japanese whiskeys and cocktails. The eponymous named cocktail (citrus-flavored sake, Yamazaki 12-year, and egg white) was very likeable; deceptively easy to drink but under its sweet, tangy notes, a dangerous buzz.
There were more hits than misses that night. The yakitori was bold and masculine, smokey and kickass salty. Tebasaki (chicken wings, $3) were split for easy eating: skin crispy, moist inside. And pork was done especially well here. The salt brought out the full glory of flavors of fat in the Kagoshima toro belly (pork belly $5).
Another delicious pork dish was the one-meal Kagoshima pork belly don (on garlic fried rice, $35). Like the yakitori, the Hokkaido rice was bold with a heavy aroma of garlic and wok hei. If there were deep-fried garlic bits to add a contrast to the pork and rice, the dish might taste even better than it already was.
The third awesome pork dish was buta kakuni (traditional braised pork belly, $29). Pan fried first, and then braised in mirin, ginger, leeks for up to 6 hours, the fat was tender and not greasy nor jerlat. Felt as if it was calorie-free. The meat was a little tough and the dish was a tad sweet for me, but William enjoyed the sweet gravy.
Shiro maguro carpaccio ($29, marinated American white tuna) and Dobinmushi ($16, seafood consomme)
Pork aside, the seafood is imported from Japan, Europe, and Americas. The sashimi (5 types $48, 7 for $68) was aged tastily, especially the tuna, which had hints of cherry. The scallop, however, was fishy.
Although a Japanese-imported filtration system magically changes Singapore’s hard water to something similar to spring water for cooking rice, the maki rolls, foie gras unagi ($28) and aburi salmon maki ($19, pictured above), were less impressive, and if you skip them, I won’t blame you.
It was a full house that night, and while we had to chotto matte for our dishes, the meal ended delightfully with kuro goma yam ($15), hot crispy battered yam atop homemade black sesame ice cream. Will return for garlic fried rice, yakitori, and dessert.
54 Blair Road #01-01 Singapore 089954
T: 6222 8846
Rating: 3.183/5 stars
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.
Thanks, Veron and Hsian Ming, for the invited tasting.