Every time our family goes for our favourite Japanese cuisine, we end up spending quite a bit. We’ve tried to go at lunch time, but there’s usually no lunch specials on weekends and public holidays. Sigh.. most of these specials are for the weekday working crowd.. so I was very pleasantly surprised when Ikyu invited us to try their lunch specials on a Saturday!
At Ikyu, they serve their super value-for-money lunch set on Tuesday-Sunday from 11.30 a.m. – 2.30 p.m. (and even on public holidays!!) We were excited as we made our way to the restaurant. (I must admit, some part of me felt I may need to top up with more food for the kids, as they are huge eaters and I wasn’t so confident that set lunches would fill their tummies!) So here’s what had that Saturday afternoon!
Ikyu is set in the chill out Tiong Bahru neighbourhood, and when we found the restaurant, we were a little in awe of what to expect! There was a huge Copper-plated door, totally unlike what you would expect from a Japanese eatery! And when we stepped in, we were greeted by a most helpful & friendly manager–Donny Neo.
The restaurant had a chic, edgy industrial feel, but it kept a cozy ambience with the warm lighting and very excellent service staff. Ikyu (which means “take a break” in Japanese) is helmed by Master Chef Takuma Seki from Niigata, Japan. He has worked in Japan, Paris, Washington DC, Beverly Hills, and Singapore, where he was Chef de Cuisine of celebrity restaurant, Hide Yamamoto, at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. Here are the chefs working!
First up was the Appetizer. According to Donny, this is subjected to what the chefs have in the pantry for the day, and a different appetizer is served each day. On that day, we had GOYA Salad, a Japanese Traditional Summer salad. It was very unique and the salad was yummy! (even the kids loved the bittergourd, without knowing what it was!)
Then came the mains. There are four choices in the Set Lunch menu, and there was something for everyone! Nicole had her beef, Nathan and his fish, Nadine with her sushi! Edmund decided to go for the sushi and I’ll go for the Bara Chirashi. Absolutely no regrets for us!
Interestingly, both the Grilled Fish ($28) and Beef ($35) were served with Garlic Fried Rice. According to the kids, it was the best best fried rice ever. I managed to get a small spoon to try, and there was good wok hei in the fried rice. (Both Nicole and Nathan ordered another bowl EACH out of pure greed!)
We learnt that Chef Seki only uses Niigata “Uonuma” Koshihikari, the highest grade of rice in Japan. He uses it in in his sushi, chirashi, rice balls and fried garlic rice! No wonder!!
And here’s my Bara Chirashi ($28)! Lovely fresh sashimi chopped in small cubes served with Japanese rice…It was very good cos there was so much sashimi and it was so so fresh!
Each main came with the Soup of the Day. Now this is what I felt was an understated component in the Set Lunch. That day, we had Prawn broth. It was the thickest, most flavourful prawn soup I’ve ever had. If you are a fan of the Chinese Prawn Noodle Soup, this broth is similar except it’s much richer and ‘purer’. It was prawns and prawns and more prawns inside. Very Very delicious! And Donny told us his favourite is Fish broth, which is boiled for hours from the bones of the fresh fish delivered from Japan. (I really want to try that!!)
As an aside, we found out that the seafood, fruits, vegetables and seasonal ingredients that the restaurant uses are flown directly from Japan’s Tsukiji Fish Market two times a week. Donny told us that Chef Seki maintains his uncompromising stance on the quality and freshness of every ingredient he uses in his cooking.
We were so satisfied with our meal and looking at the prices, this Set Lunch was certainly value for money and very yummy with quality ingredients used. We decided that we will be back in the evening for a couple date to try their Omakase Dinner!
Tuesdays – Sundays
Lunch: 11.30 am – 2.30 pm
Dinner: 6 pm – 10.30 pm
Closed on Mondays
Disclaimer: We were invited to try the Ikyu Set Lunch, no compensation was received. As usual, all opinions and comments are 100% my own.