Thursday, December 21, 2006

Nanjya Monjya @ Waterfront Plaza

DH and were supposed to dine with another couple tonight, but they had to cancel. It turned out to be a good thing because DH and I then decided to be adventurous and try a new restaurant instead of going to an old favourite. I narrowed our choices to (1) Wild Rocket @ Mount Emily or (2) Nanjya Monjya @ Waterfront Plaza. Wild Rocket was full on a weekday evening, so off we trotted to Nanjya Monjya. Which also turned out to be a good thing.

So, although things did not turn out as planned, it was serendipituous that everything worked out for the better instead.

Nanjya Monjya (392 Havelock Road #01-03 Waterfront Plaza, Tel 6738 7177) is a Japanese izakaya which specialises in DIY-style teppanyaki and okonomiyaki (japanese pancake). When we arrived, the place was filled with japanese businessmen. Which was a testament to the authenticity of the cuisine.

We ordered sake, which arrived in adorable little bamboo cups and a tall bamboo bottle.

octopus in mild wasabi dressing
spicy codfish roe

Our starters of octopus with wasabi dressing (tako wasabi, SGD 8) and spicy codfish roe (mentaiko, SGD12) were fantastic. DH and I both prefer octopus to squid, as octopus is crunchier, while squid can get a little slimy.

We also ordered the grilled yellowtail (hamachi) cheek (small, SGD20). It was quite nice, and had a decent amount of meat. But it didn't have much gelatinous bits, which is what eating fishhead is all about. On hindsight, maybe we should have ordered a bigger one (medium for SGD 25 and large for SGD35), but I was afraid that it would just be meatier, rather than more gelatinous.
Jyo Karubi with bbq sauce

ox tongue
Our DIY meats arrived next. Jyo karubi, a marbled cut of beef, with bbq sauce (SGD25) and Gyu tan, ox tongue (SGD16).

The ox tongue was sliced thinner, and was chewier to eat. The jyo karubi, was so marbled, it was lovely to eat. It was tender, fragrant, oooh, yummy!

See how lovely the jyo karubi looked, as it sizzled on the hotplate! Wonderful marbling, wouldn't you agree? DH and I enjoyed this one so much, we ordered another portion - Negishio jyo karubi this time - which means that it is only sprinkled with salt, no bbq sauce.

The lady cooked our belly pork and noodle okonomiyaki (SGD17) at our table for us, and it was lovely, crispy on the outside and yielding to the bite on the inside. The mixture contained lettuce, grated yam, konnyaku flour, I think. It's considered street food in Japan, like our oyster omelette, but it was so delicious. There is another version, called the monjya yaki, which was wetter, and which was eaten with tiny little spatulas off the hotplate. I'd like to try that next time.

We also ordered a baked tofu with mentaiko cheese (SGD14). Very japanese-french, if you get what I mean. DH and I think this dish had its roots in Hokkaido, known for its dairy produce, and where there seems to be quite a fair bit of european influence in some of its towns (when we visited Otaru, Hokkaido, there were these cute little french style cafes, and shops specialising in wooden cuckoo clocks!) It was a delicious choice, because in some restaurants, the mentaiko cheese is made of more flour and cheese than mentaiko, and any hint of mentaiko comes only from the colour. But in this case, the mentaiko taste was clearly present, although not pungently so, and you could actually bite into the little bits of mentaiko! Texture-wise, it's a bit like the little flying fish roe (tobiko, little orange balls), so you could feel the pop-pop bits as the roe bursts in your mouth. Lovely.

It was a fantastic dining experience, and we really enjoyed it. What a pity we only discovered it now, as they have been operating for 3 years already! Worth many return visits.


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