Add: 1 Nanson Road (Gallery Hotel along Robertson Quay)
Great For: Shochu (ok.duh), Sake, yakitoris, ambience
Nestled within a cosy 2 story building at the periphery of The Gallery Hotel, Satsuma Shochu Dining Bar is perfect for small gatherings & romantic dinner dates alike. It is not a huge restaurant to begin with, so bookings are definitely a must if you want to secure a spot indoors (which i highly recommend!). I love this place because of its ambience and the intimate dining experience it never fails to deliver.
Courtesy of: hungrygowhere.com
My first time at Satsuma was all thanks to an impromptu dinner choice by a dear ex-colleague of mine who prides herself in all things Japanese. Upon arriving at the restaurant, the visual appeal of its facade immediately struck me. The clever lighting coupled with the roundish exterior of the 2 story building and the Satsuma blossom motifs on the exterior wall made the entire dining bar look alot like a glowing lantern in the dark. Also, the spiral staircase leading up to the 2nd level added even more character to the structure itself.. ( i have a thing for spiral staircases)
Of course, that being said, the architectural appeal of Satsuma is not the only reason why diners flock to this restaurant. In my opinion, although the restaurant’s main focus (judging from its name) is the endless array of Shochu and Sakes it offers, the star(s) of the show would definitely be the equally never-ending selection of Yakitoris.
Oyster+ Cheese and Teriyaki Chicken
The memorable Yakitoris that i have tried (but trust me, every darn skewer on the menu will be awesome) would have to be the Oyster+Cheese, Pork Belly+Golden Mushrooms and Salmon skewers. They were all grilled to perfection by keeping the juices and flavour intact without it being charred. Although the wait for it to be served was a tad bit long (but then again, I am impatient when it comes to food=p), the great skewered meat morsels totally made up for that!
Pork belly + golden mushrooms and Salmon Yakitori
Besides their famous Yakitoris, Satsuma serves many other quirky Japanese fare that you won’t get at your typical Japanese chain restaurant. My recommendation for the Cold Dish/Appetizer would be the Salmon and Avocado Tartare (Sake to Abokado Tataki) – a finely chopped dish of raw Salmon Sashimi and fresh avocado blended with Satsuma’s secret concoction of spice and seasonings. Each teaspoon full of tartare melts in your mouth – quite literally!
Sake to Abokado Tataki
As for the Fried Food section, my one and only selection of Pork Cutlet with Bean Paste and Cheese ( Miso Katsu Chizzu) proved to be a winning bet. The cheese layss embedded within the pork cutlet and oozes out from the sides of each clean slice. The cooks’ technique in deep frying was so awesome that it left the outer breaded crust crispy and detached from the inner hot juicy meat layer. Definitely one of the best Katsus I have tried in Singapore.
Miso Katsu Chizzu
The more adventurous foodies can venture into the Rice/Noodle section and get themselves a bowl of Fermented Soy Bean Porridge (Nattol Zousul). Definitely not for the faint-hearted! But supposedly healthy nonetheless. However, be warned, it could potentially mar your appetite for the rest of the night!
Last but not least, even the desert section has something quite out of the ordinary to offer. Diners at MOF (outlets at Suntec..Marina Sq..) would have definitely come across the sweet potato deserts(…”Imo”..). Well, Satsuma has an amazing variation of those Sweet Potato deserts-Caramelized Deep Fried Sweet Potato Fries (Ama Imo Karameru Age). Some might find it a little too sweet (my mum did) and others might give up chewing on little strips of concrete (my dad did). However, once you get pass the crunchiness of the hardened caramel and bite into the piping hot Japanese Sweet Potatoes (naturally more fragrant than their counterparts from around the globe), and let the mixture of Imo and partially melted caramel permeate your senses, you would be convinced that the prospect of chipping your teeth during that initial first bite was well worth it.
So much has been said about the food, but what about the Shochu/Sakes? The most I can say is that Sake on the rocks didn’t really go down well for me. Me and my other 2 dining partners left about half the glass untouched on my first visit. Warm sake (cheapest on the list) during the 2nd attempt with my parents was definitely a much better choice.
I personally think there are very few restaurants in Singapore which are capable of creating a charming dining experience with great ambience and even better food that wouldn’t burn a hole in your pocket. So do try it!