The Gyoza Bar at Boat Quay is one of the secret places for Japanese expats that you will never stumble upon. On the second floor of a shophouse, it’s secluded, intimate, and very small, a bar with 2 tables–Japanese-owned, and Japanese server–all very Japanese.
Let’s talk about the food first before talking about our very strange experience. The bar has a very, very limited menu, and is all about gyozas and champagne. And they are good. They don’t put ginger in the gyozas; they put celery and cheese, and cook the gyozas in different ways. Each comes with 5 pieces.
The poached gyoza (yude gyoza, $11) is the best for us because it is doused in soya sauce, bringing out the flavor of meat. The deep fried (age gyoza, $11), a close second, is sprinkled with curry powder, giving it a fragrance. The pan-seared (yaki gyoza, $9) isn’t bad too, delicate and crisp.
But the fried chicken (5 pcs, $16) isn’t as fragrant as the usual kaarage, although it is tender.
The ramen ($12 half/$18 full) is very simple–only noodles, green onions, and the broth–but freaking awesome. The broth tastes like molten egg sometimes, salted egg sometimes, century egg sometimes, ending with a refreshing yuzu.
Now the bizarre experience. When the Japanese manager saw that I was taking photos, she asked me to take photos of some wine for her to put on their facebook. It’s like you’re having a wedding and you see a random tourist with a camera and you say, “Hey! Can you be our wedding photographer please?”
So being the nice yolo guy, I said ok. I would email her the photos. Then she asked me for my personal facebook account. I’m a very private person and there is so much private info on facebook, so this was intrusive for me. I said, “I’ll email the photos to your restaurant email.” But they didn’t have a restaurant email. I asked her for her personal email, but she said no, she preferred facebook. No choice. So I gave her my facebook.
After taking a few photos, the food came. We started eating. She brought more bottles of wine for me to take photos. Wah, buay paiseh, this one but ok lor, what were two more photos?
When the meal ended, the Japanese manager and a waitress immediately swooped in on us. It was like a documentary I once saw: an eagle swooping down on a small lamb. They started talking to us. I think they were bored at their jobs because the restaurant was empty.
But somewhere along the conversation, I thought they were encroaching on our privacy. I wanted to talk to my friend whom I meet once a month; I didn’t want to talk to them. I am a reserved, introverted misanthrope; I hate small talk and I hate strangers. Instead of them entertaining us, we were entertaining them. It wasn’t bad service, just overly friendly servers who were bored.
I’ve eaten at more than a thousand restaurants and The Gyoza Bar holds a special place in my heart as my most bizzare experience. We paid $121 for two persons. I worked for the restaurant, taking photographs for their facebook, but they didn’t give me any discount. :(
After 15 minutes when they showed no sign of leaving us alone, I packed my camera into my bag and signaled my friend to get the check. We went to Yakun to continue our conversation.
As for the photos, I sent them to her via facebook, and then deleted her off my friends list. I thought I would feel guilty for deleting her, but at that moment, I only felt relief.
7A North Canal Road, Singapore 048820
T: +65 8440 7784
6pm – 11.30pm, closed Sun
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.