Friday, September 25, 2009

Nanbantei

Really, I didn't expect to step into Nanbantei, especially not after dismissing Lyrical Lemongrass who was expressing her utmost joy upon discovering one of the best yakitori restaurants in Kuala Lumpur. I think my exact words were yerrr, what's so great about Japanese satay ar?? Perhaps it was due to my bad experiences with substandard yakitori that I started developing some sort of aversion towards this style of Japanese cooking. Who would've thought that after years of abstaining from yakitori, XLB excitedly suggested a visit to Nanbantei. I was of course, at my most skeptical at first. The turning point must have been the countless raving reviews (Tatler's and my trusted foodie friends' included) I read online and the fact that we've been facing a good food drought for the longest time. Considering my previous stand on yakitori, I'd expected myself to be condemned when I agreed to go. None of that, thankfully. And by the way, reservation is a MUST here, unless you have unlimited hours to burn before, say, catching a midnight show at Cineleisure.

To sum up, I was basically eating the grills AND my own words at the same time. Yes, the food here was quite something. The dishes being just slightly burnt, brought about a nice smoky flavour. I should also mention the excellent marinates and sauces catered to each dish. Take the grilled beef, for example. I just love the well-portioned fat/meat layers and when combined with a sauce that I thought consisted mostly of sweet miso, was gorgeous. The liver was nicely executed. A sweeter, almost teriyaki-like sauce was used to complement its bitter taste. It was optimally cooked too, hence the soft texture. And my first taste of grilled ginkgo with a sprinkling of salt was pretty fun.

We ordered both the Set A (12 sticks with rice, soup, pickles and dessert) and B (sashimi, 8 sticks with rice, soup, pickles and dessert). Speaking of the sashimi, freshness of the ubiquitous trio of hamachi, sake and maguro was commendable. Service was fast and efficient. I guess my only grouse was on the yasai stick, which gave the impression that it was free of charge. In fact, it cost us S$2 for a small cut of cabbage, carrot and zucchini each. Next time, I'll sure refuse this and instead, buy myself another stick of the beef skewer.

Lesson learnt - not all yakitoris are bad. Think Nanbantei.

I'm almost a convert.

Grilled vegetables.

More grilled stuff.

THE beef skewer (right).

THE liver.

Grilled ginkgo.

Nanbantei
14, Scotts Road
#05-132 Far East Plaza
Singapore 228213
Tel: (+65) 6733 5666

21 comments:

Tarts and Pies said...

I like the grilled iteams so much... Anyway, I'd eaten at Nanbantei's Hong Kong outlet before. The yaki stuffs were really good...

Simon Seow said...

Come to my blog vote for Lemongrass forthe Nuffnang Blog Awards on Best Food Blog at the side of my blog.

ice said...

Certainly one of the better yakitori joints in Singapore. Try Kazu next time!

Selba said...

Eh.. we also have a japanese restaurant here in Jakarta for yakitori and the name is Nanabantei, it has opened since almost 20 years :) I was going to eat there for lunch during fast month and found it's closed... too bad. I'll try to go back there, maybe next week...

Life for Beginners said...

"I'm almost a convert."

After that near-breathless review, and you're only ALMOST a convert? Wah, very difficult to get a certification of approval from you, bro. LOL

UnkaLeong said...

@Kenny yeahlor...such a picky eater hor our bro down south :P

Pics do the satay justice bro. I dig the yakitori there as well ;)

Xiu Long Bao said...

*Grin*

I love the way they serve the yakitori course-by-course.

Time for jap food again, after ur exam lar :)

sc said...

i think yakitoris are excellent stuff if cooked well..just like the ones you had in nanbantei. yums yums.

ToyGirl said...

never had good yakitori before? serves you right lah for working so far away...:p ozeki does really good yakitori. and we have our little hidden treasure in plaza damas that also does excellent yakitori. hmm...we should revive our sake party and serve yakitori hor?

mimid3vils said...

Never think to have yakitori when craving for Japanese food..

PS: I wonder I have to eat how many skewer to feed me up ler... ~.~

ai wei said...

ginkgo ----> grilled? @@
wondering how it taste?!
i tried steamed ginkgo and it's bitter

thenomadGourmand said...

ehhh... Msia got ah??

550ml jar of faith @minchow said...

Haha! Eating the grills AND yr own words indeed!! Yakitori is so much fun... in NZ we used to while away evenings in this lil' place called Ken's Yakitori, stick after stick, frosty mug after frosty mug... AHHHH!! I miss those days!

ladyironchef said...

"Japanese satay" ROFL! :)

Nic (KHKL) said...

tarts and pies, ohh, they have an outlet in hk? cool! i guess they are really famous. :)

simon, yay! congrats to AWOL! will definitely go vote for her! :) thanks.

ice, thanks for the recommendation! with definitely give kazu a try! :)

selba, wahhhhhhhhhhh, looks like nanbantei is really everywhere! hahaha. do give it a try after the fasting month and let us know if u like it, ya!

kenny, aiyoh, i'm not difficult la. just that i've been disappointed one too many times already..haha. almost is better than never, right? hehehee...

unkaleong, where got where got? haha. u've been to sg's nanbantei before? cool. wei, we can go there the next time u come down, ya! :)

xiu long bao, yeah, i forgot to mention that they serve course-by-course. that's really good service. yeah, i wanna do Japanese food again! it's been too long already.

Nic (KHKL) said...

sc, agree. i'm slowly converting..haha. the fact that they served rice as well was a bonus for me!

toygirl, ooooh, i've heard that ozeki and that place in plaza damas' good for yakitori! who's birthday coming up ar? heheheh...ya lor, we should do a yakitori party. just some satay stands will do the job d! :)

mimi, haha, i also thought about the same thing. but surprisingly, the skewers were enough to feed me! maybe cos they are all meat la.

ai wei, it's sweet, salty and slightly bitter. overall, delicious. i think the aroma too. :)

minchow, oooohhhhhh ya! i forgot about the beer. there's nothing better than to have yakitori with some super dry asahi or kirin. i lurve lurve lurve Japanese beer!

ladyironchef, hahaha, i also dunno how that idea came about. but it's true, right? hehe.

Nic (KHKL) said...

thenomadgourmand, i dun think they have in Msia yet. hey, check it out when u come down to Sg la! :) or try ozeki! :)

Justin Pereira said...

The pictures look fabulous! Do you know of anywhere else in Singapore with good yakitori?

Justin
www.j2k3blogs.com

ling239 said...

cant remember how long since i last had some sashimi... all because of the stupid food poisoning of having too much durian XD

Nic (KHKL) said...

justin, thanks for stopping by! i'm no expert in yakitori but do check out ice's recommendation: kazu! :)

Nic (KHKL) said...

ling239, food poisoning?? aiyoh!!! i hope you are ok now. have some porridge to clear the toxin first! take care ya! :)