When I meet Japanese expats, I’d always ask for their favorite Japanese restaurants in Singapore. Suju Japanese Restaurant at Mandarin Gallery came highly recommended by a Japanese lady friend who operates Japanese restaurants in Singapore. This lady has extremely good taste, and has eaten widely; I trust her. She advised me to go for lunch, which is better valued than the expensive dinner.
Suju serves Teishoku, or home-style main dish with rice and soup, not unlike the Chinese home meals. Suju’s parent company in Nagano Japan manufactures miso, vinegar, and soy sauce, so Suju uses its company’s products and sources its ingredients in Nagano.
We went during the CNY period, and perhaps the cooks were more relaxed, and not so careful with the food. The Japanese dishes are only ok. It’s really the rice that is delicious.
Suju uses Koshihikari rice, said to be one of the best rice in Japan. It is cooked in small batches in a handmade copper pot which can conduct heat evenly. The pearly rice has a great texture, just sticky enough, and a nice natural sweetness.
The hayashi rice ($31, above) is really expensive, which comes with only rice and curry. Added an additional piece of tonkatsu ($9). The curry is no doubt delicious, with a good balance of sweetness and spiciness, but on the whole, this plate of Japanese ka li png is not worth the price tag.
The shinmai set ($27) has several side dishes, which makes it a better option than the curry rice. But it doesn’t take a good cook to whip up the 6 side dishes. The stewed pork is just left on the stove; mentaiko is raw; there are some pieces of marinated cucumber with a sauce; fish is merely pan-fried. On the whole, it is tasty, but there is not much effort.
Including a bottle of sake, we paid $180 for three persons. Pretty expensive for lunch. Based on this experience alone, I probably won’t return. But if friends want to try it, I’m willing to give it a second chance during a non-holiday period.
Suju Japanese Restaurant
333A Orchard Road, #04-05 Mandarin Gallery, Singapore 238897
T: +65 6737 7764
Overall rating: 3/5
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.