Japanese has an affinity with old cultures like Italian and French, so you see Japanese chefs opening Italian restaurants, and French-inspired Japanese cafes. But it is uncanny that you almost never see Japanese-Spanish alliance, considering how similar izakaya and tapas are, both serving small plates with copious alcohol.
Deep-fried squid with salted egg tartar sauce ($10.80)
Enter Boruto. The concept is the brainchild of Chef-owner Patrick Tan of Tamashii Robataya, who enlisted the help of head chef Angus Chow. Chow has experience at defunct Spanish tapas bar Foodbar Dada, and was the former head chef of FOC, my favorite tapas joint.
Both Tan and Chow have joined forces to create a playful tapas-inspired menu using Japanese-imported ingredients. For instance, ichigo gazpacho ($10.80) uses Japanese-imported ingredients of roasted strawberry soup soup with smoked blood orange sherbet; it is a refreshing, sourish appetizer to the meal, with hints of savoriness.
Mr Fitness’s favorite dish is also the bestseller of the restaurant: Saga gyu tataki ($28.80) is wagyu from Saga quickly seared with saffron and mixed with in-house-made soy sauce.
I’ve two favorites, neither could be considered Japanese-Spanish. Teba gyoza ($15.80) is deep-fried, deboned chicken wings stuffed with minced pork and silverfish and wild mountain vegetables, which taste like seaweed and jiu cai. The wings would improve with a chilli sauce.
The other favorite kamo foie burger ($20.80) is a burger using deep-fried mantou with confit pulled duck, duck foie gras and apple kimchi. It is ok on its own, but the spicy bean sauce, similar to the Korean ssamjang, gives it a kick and brightens up the whole burger.
However, not all food we tried is nice. Avoid the kurobuta sio bak ($20.80), which isn’t crispy or tender or tasty. Furthermore, the desserts aren’t the strongest suit; they are simple and nice, but nothing to shout about. Go for the warabi mochi ($6.80).
Toro roll with green asparagus in homemade yuzu miso sauce ($18.80)
While the food is innovative and thoughtful, the food acts as complement to the wide range of sakes. “Boruto” means “vault” because the space used to be a bank, and on the second level of the beautiful, classy, modern restaurant with grey walls and cement floors, there is an old bank vault to keep the sake they import on their own. (The second floor is also a bar, that is good for events.) This means there is a variety of sakes unavailable anywhere else in Singapore, and that there are new brands of sakes with every new import. For example, I had a seasonal fruity sake made in springtime that is optimal to drink in Sept and Oct. The homemade umeshu is also nice.
Besides the plethora of rare sakes, Boruto also allows purchase by the glass ($10 onwards) and carafe ($30 onwards) for over 20 brands of sakes, allowing patrons to taste an assortment.
Grilled octopus ($30.80)
On the whole, the Japanese-Spanish alliance is interesting, fun, and full of potential. The affordable sake in a classy bar makes the place doubly enticing. I foresee this to be a place I’d return.
80 South Bridge Road #01-01, Golden Castle Building, Singapore 058710
T: +65 6532 0418
Service: NA (tasting)
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.
This is an invited tasting.