Sumire Yakitori House, Bugis Junction: New Offerings at Established Japanese Restaurant

Originated from Tokyo, with more than 70 outlets worldwide, Sumire Yakitori House at Bugis Junction has been in Singapore since 2013. Give me a good yakitori or izakaya anytime. Meats grilled over charcoal to imbue them with that earthy, smoky flavor before being dipped in the dark, sweet and luscious yakitori sauce or an assortment of fried chicken wings, yakisobas, sushi, croquettes are the Japanese ways to this fat greedy heart of mine. Please clog it up anytime with this greasy, unctuous deliciousness kudasai.

But this sentiment did not come this time round with the new menu at Sumire Yakitori House. After the meal, I was stuffed with disappointment. I needed another yakitori meal to wash away the sadness.

Starters are the best dishes among the new menu. Cheese Curry Bakudan (or bomb) ($9.80++) should, one would expect, explode into a glorious cheesy mess. This one sludges out – not a very happy ending. To be fair, the inside is moist, and the crust is sufficiently crispy. Together with the Chicken Nanban ($8.90++) (juicy inside with a well-paired tangy tartar sauce to cut through the richness) and the Crispy Kawa (there is still some sticky moistness in the skin so not super crispy but who doesn’t like chicken skin?), these are some of the better dishes of that luncheon.

The Salmon Okonomiyaki ($9.80++) is a stodgy slab of cooked flour. There is little crunch from the cabbage and even fewer salmon flakes to be found.

Sumire Trio Sushi: tsukune with teri mayo; foie gras with teriyaki; chicken with truffle oil

The sushi uninspire. The foie gras sushi is leathery, the wagyu sushi so thin and wispy, I might as well just have had the rice, the tsukune sushi utterly pointless (just give me the tsukune, why make it into a sushi?), and the other fish sushis dressed in generic profiles – a dime a dozen. Why bother serving them if they are not better or even on par with say, Sushi Tei?

Aburi Trio Sushi: Mekajiki with garlic mayo; salmon mentai mayo; unagi

The supposed crème de la crème is the Yakitori Cheese Fondue ($16.80++) – their newly starred menu offering. But the cheese is mozzarella. Why not a stringy raclette? Or at least a mixture of cheeses to obtain some semblance of interestingness. The cheese is flat, almost bland, just like the unseasoned yakitoris that come with it. Again, to be fair, at least the meats aren’t dry or overdone here but still practically tasteless.

The last two soupy courses to round off also make little sense. Chicken Mille Feuille Nabe ($10.90++) is basically chicken and cabbage thrown into a simple dashi broth; the other, Salmon Mille Feuille Nabe ($14.80++), salmon and cabbage into cream. They taste exactly as simplistic as my description. The fancy schmancy Mille Feuille is just a gimmicky nomenclature to falsely excite you about this dish. The layers in the hotpot do absolutely zero things for the dish. The best I can say is that they taste healthsome – lots of vegetables, little salt, bland flavours – but is that why we come to an izakaya or yakitori joint?

There isn’t much left to say except I wouldn’t come here for their new menu.

Sumire Yakitori House
Bugis Junction #01-88/89, 80 Middle Road Singapore 188966
Tel: +65 6338 9963
M-Th 11.30am–3pm, 5pm–10.30pm; F & Sat 11.30a–11pm; Sun & PH 11.30am–10.30pm

Food: 4.5/10
Decor: 6/10
Value/price: 6.5/10

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SENS Sushi & Grill, Holland Village: When I Maki in the Summer
Hokkaido-Ya, Vivocity: A New “Smart” Japanese Casual Eatery by Sushi Tei Serving One-Bowl Meals

Written by Paul Ng. Deathrow meal: steamed uonuma koshihikari rice, sunny side up eggs drizzled with slow-rendered pork lard, kicap cair dark soya sauce with a side of gribenes. And a bowl of uni. Aspiring taitai. Also co-owner of Provisions Food – local maker of baked goods, snacks, condiments and sauces inspired by the flavours of Asia.

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