The Gyu Bar at Stevens Road is helmed by Executive Head Chef Yamasaki Kenichiro with 20 years of experience in French, Italian and Japanese cuisines. The restaurant specializes in wagyu yakiniku, serving premium Wa-OH beef imported chilled (not frozen) from Kumamoto prefecture on Kyushu island. Only 17% of beef produced in Kumamoto can be classified as Wa-OH beef. The Kuroge (or Japanese Black) breed is raised in a relaxed environment with excellent air quality, pristine waters and a customised diet of vegetables. This naturally translates into happy cows and in turn, lending the meat fantastic flavour and a gorgeous web of creamy intramuscular fat that we call “marbling”.
Just like their sister restaurant, Sushi Kimura, The Gyu Bar have now introduced an omakase menu; patrons can choose between 6-course lunch menu for $68++ or 10-course dinner for $138++. Guests are treated to a complimentary cup of sake when they first arrive and they get to choose their sake cup from the owner’s private collection of 136 sake cups. Very pretty.
The house signature, uni yukke cone, has beef tartare stuffed in a mini waffle cone and topped off with uni; this reminds me of a salty, full of umami mini Cornetto. The beef tartare has a good texture and very flavourful. The creamy sweetness of the uni blends beautifully with the savouriness of the beef tartare and the play of different textures (cold and silky) comes together perfectly with the crunchy and fragrant waffle cone.
The rib finger salad is served cold. Thinly sliced crunchy cucumbers and seared tender beef strips are tossed together in the chef’s special dressing (tasted of sesame) with a hint of spice. It is moreish.
Another starter, truffled chicken somen, is served hot. The somen (or thin wheat noodles) goes well with the firm but tender chicken thigh although I wish the truffle in the mushroom puree could have been more pronounced. But it is still delicious, nonetheless.
Both my dining companion and I couldn’t believe the size of the scallop croquette, which is the chef’s daily special for that day. There is just a thin layer of batter that envelopes the sweet, juicy and firm scallop. I mopped up every last bit of the buttery uni sauce with the scallop croquette. Fantastic.
For the yakiniku, we are spoilt with 5 different cuts of wagyu beef and 1 pork neck.
1. Top round: Marbling not as extensive as other cuts hence it has a slightly chewy texture when grilled but the intense, beefy flavours build up as you chew.
2. Chuck rib (above): Exceptional marbling. The fattiest cut as compared to other 4. It is very fatty, almost gelatinous, giving a melt-in-your-mouth texture.
3. Beef tongue (above): Sliced carpaccio-thin, the grilled tongue has a wonderful texture as it is chewy but not rubbery; it also has a rich and deep flavour. A little salty but the sesame sauce goes well with the beef tongue.
4. Rib eye (above): Excellent marbling which gives the cut a tender texture and full of beefy goodness.
5. Misuji (located just under the shoulder blade; only yields about 3 kg from each cow) is grilled to perfection as it is very tender and has a rich, complex flavour. The thin layer of fat gives an extra oomph to the meat.
The highlight of the meal is the yaki shabu, another house signature. The thinly sliced sirloin, full of flavour and melt-in-your mouth texture, complements extremely well with the creamy, thick egg yolk. I’m not too sure about the truffle which feels like an afterthought. It is so good that I have to take a moment to myself to revel in the deliciousness, slowly savouring it.
And to break the heaviness of the meal, we are given a bowl of beef stew soup although it is more similar to a consomme. Robust in flavours, it is clean and sweet..
Ending with a carb as is the traditional practice, the spicy beef ramen: The onsen egg, perfectly executed, coats the smooth chewy noodles evenly, giving the noodles a silky texture. The spice from the well-seasoned beef slices elevates the dish.
The matcha ice cream with Okinawa brown sugar is a delight. The ice cream itself has a bitter finish but you could clearly taste the Japanese green tea. This pairs well with the brown sugar (although I wish the portion of brown sugar could have been more as desserts are meant to be sweet!) and the in-house sesame biscuit adds a welcomed texture and fragrance.
If you are looking to impress your date but not wanting to try too hard, I think this is a great place to dine if both of you love beef. Premium quality meats with intimate and unpretentious vibes. Guaranteed a good time if the sake keeps flowing.
The Gyu Bar
30 Stevens Road, #01-08, Singapore 257840
T – Sun 12 – 3pm, 6pm – 11pm
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–焼肉王 Yakiniku-Oh Goen, Tanjong Pagar Plaza: This Fuss-Free Japanese Charcoal BBQ WINS Big Time
–Renga-Ya, CHIJMES: New Beef Don for Set Lunch (Limited to 15 Bowls Daily) and Ohmi Beef Yakiniku After CNY
–Niku Katsumata 肉勝又, Duxton Road: Healthy Kagoshima Wagyu Beef Yakiniku, Grilled on Crystal Plate
Written by Vanessa Khong. Vanessa is someone who enjoys checking out the local food scene. She believes the way to her heart is through her stomach.
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