Sometimes, I like to think of joints as bad words (I refrained from using a more explicit expression).
A commercial strategy.
And yet, you like to engage in that little dirty conversation once in awhile.
Black tie, white lie....
I did that on New Year's day.
With Joyce, my Singaporean friend who flew back from Sydney for the New Year holiday.
It seems like everytime we meet, we will end up having dinner here at Sushi Tei (Ngee Ann City). There's nothing je ne sais quoi about this joint (to me) and yet, that's the first place we'll think of.
Crowded as ever, service was attentive, complete with the high-pitched irrashaimases. The restaurant itself was relatively small, with some shoulder-height cubicles surrounding the kaiten-sushi bar, which was smacked right in the middle.
Winter has brought in some rather interesting promotional dishes/ingredients from Hokkaido. We sampled two of them. Here's the first dish.
The Maguro Zukushi (S$22) consisted of 3 slices of maguro (bluefin tuna's top loin), otoro (bluefin tuna's belly) and mekajiki (swordfish) each. The dark red maguro was fresh and tender while the richer tasting otoro exhibited a softer texture, thanks to the fat spreaded throughout the belly. The mekajiki did not disappoint as it was equally fresh and firm. It was as good as "bad words" can get.
The second promotional dish we had was the Soft Shell Crab Roll With Fish Floss (S$6). The combination of rice and crispy, fried food can never go wrong, in terms of flavour and texture. Coat it with the sweet/savoury fish floss and you'll get an appetising maki (rice roll). Cucumber provided extra crunch while the diced avocado gave the roll a creamy texture.
We can never forget our staple, Cha Soba (S$6.50). The smooth green tea flavoured buckwheat noodle was served al dente and optimally cold. The soya sauce dipping was on the bland side, however. I wished they'd provided toasted sesame seeds in the dipping for that added aroma.
As for sushi, we had Jo Unagi (S$5) or premium eel. The cut was generous while the meat was soft. One bite revealed a rich-tasting eel complemented by the appetising caramel-coloured sweet teriyaki-like marinate. What I liked about this dish was the lack of the much dreaded "fishiness" taste of the unagi.
We ended the meal with the Black Sesame Ice-Cream (S$2.80 - one scoop). Though the black sesame taste was prevalent, I thought it was tad sweet. I prefer the minimally sweet version with a hint of savouriness thrown in. Texture-wise, it was rather coarse.
Overall, the quality of the food was commendable. The staffs here were so eager to refill my cup of complimentary green tea to a point where I felt apologetic for consuming so much of it.
With a review like this, it makes my categorizations much more difficult. Will I redefine my take on joints? Am I being too stereotypical all this while? For now, it'll take me more dirty talks to decide if I'm with the light or prefer the dark.
Lovely seeing you again, Joyce!
391, Orchard Road
#02-13 Ngee Ann City
Tel: (+65) 6737 7997