Update: I am updating this post after my recent second visit to Watami @ Junction 8 and added a few new items from the menu! This place simply gets better on each visit.
Watami Japanese Restaurant located at Central (Clark Quay) was Watami International’s second restaurant in Singapore when it first opened back in September 2009. Since then, Watami Singapore has expanded and with it’s fifth outlet already opened on our sunny little island, let’s find out how good this Japanese Casual Restaurant is.
Watami @ Junction 8
Watami’s chain of restaurants belong to Watami Group, one of Japan’s top F&B brands which was founded by a certain successful businessman called Watanabe Miki. His success story is definitely worth the read for those who are interested. Personally I am really impressed that he took the plunge to go into business at a very young age of 24, which was more than 25 years ago.
Picture Credits to Bloomberg
His story aside and back to the food, I have always been wanting to try give this casual restaurant a try and I’m quite glad that I finally got the chance to do so after I got back from my recent trip to Spain & Portugal.
I have heard numerous recommendations from friends about Watami’s reasonably-priced set menu and my visit to Watami at Central was to specifically try it.
Choose from their Special Set (for 2, $59++) which comes with fixed items or top up abit more for their Deluxe Set (for 2, $69++) and get the option to choose from various dishes for the Main Dish, Hot Pot, Additional Staple and Side Dishes. Go for the Deluxe Set, I say.
Here’s what was ordered for the evening.
Half Watami Salad
Essentially the halved of the Watami Salad ($9.80), the Half Watami Salad comes with generous serving of greens, some prawns and a small topping of tuna mayo. The serving is ideal as starters which should be enough to start the food cravings going.
The “Full” Watami Salad
Comes in a plate of 5 different types of fresh sashimi, including scallops, salmon, swordfish, squid and fresh cold prawn sashimi. The Sashimi Mori is definitely one of my favourite in the set menu. If you don’t like any of the 5 items, you may change to those which you prefer. Just check with the waiting staff upon ordering.
Anago Tempura Maki
Fancy for some eel-based maki? This sea eel tempura roll should be able to satisfy. The eel tempura is crunchy on the outside and complements real well with the rice.
What you have here is 3 crispy fried ebi tempuras accompanied with various types of fried vegetables such as carrots and capsicums. The batter used is quite good and the dipping sauce goes very well with everything on the plate. More importantly, it’s not too oily.
Ishiyaki Tsutamina Don
Among the 6 different types of Dons available in the set menu, I went for the Ishiyaki Tsutamina Don (Tokyo Specialty Pork Rice with Egg Yolk). This stone pot rice dish is served sizzling hot inside a square wooden tray and although it might look obviously smaller than your regular stone pots, the serving size is really sufficient. The bright, round egg yolk topped on the rice makes the dish even more tempting to just start stirring away and indulge.
Beef Sukiyaki Nabe
I would consider this as the main highlight of the set menu. The Sukiyaki is considered as a winter dish in Japan and typically comes with beef thinly sliced and cooked with many types of vegetables and ingredients, such as carrot, tofu, mushrooms and other greens.
The soup base served here is very good in my opinion. Sweet, flavourful and very appetizing. I highly recommend that you choose the Udon to go along with the Sukiyaki hotpot rather than the rice. Don’t worry as the Udon comes with the set menu.
Konbu Dashi Sumo Nabe (Large)
Otherwise known as the Sumo Wrestler’s Hot Pot, this large pot consists mainly of pork slices with clams, vegetables and tobe. The soup base is much lighter compared to the Beef Sukiyaki Nabe.
I quite like the Kimchi Nabe actually. There’s tons of pork slices, all nicely sliced and into the spicy kimchi soup made primary of pork broth. It’s not as spicy as you might think it is and this hotpot goes really well with a plain bowl of rice.
Tonpeiyaki (Japanese Omelette with Pork)
Cheesy, eggy and delicious. The Tonpeiyaki is served sizzling hot on a hot plate. Topped with generous amount of cheese and mayonnaise sauce, this is pretty much one of the best side dishes in the set menu. The rest of the side dishes seemed too much or too little to share but if you have a bigger appetite, go for the Wafu Pizza or Chicken Katsu Tamago Toji. I am sure you will have a very fulfilling meal with those orders.
Wafu Hitokuchi Steak
I totally dig this small serving of bite-sized steak. Topped with large and spring onions, I almost couldn’t stop helping myself to these cubes of tender, firm beef. The onions really does do magic with the beef cubes. Absolutely juicy and easy to bite, one shouldn’t give this a miss. Ever.
Really thin crust topped with a simple layer of sauce and chicken slices, the Wafu Pizza is quite easy on the stomach. You should be able to finish one or two slices without feeling too heavy.
Also known as Grilled Mackerel, the chef managed to showcase his excellent skills in grilling. Almost crispy on the outside, I love the entire indulging experience of this huge plate of grilled mackerel. Fish lovers should be able to down the entire thing in no time!
Tokyo Shoyu Ramen ($12.80)
I ordered this Tokyo Shoyu Ramen from the a la carte menu and to be honest, I was surprised to find how good this bowl of ramen is. Well, it’s not the best ramen I’ve tried but it’s definitely decent. The chicken with soy soup base is in the very least, rather peppery but still retain the overall shoyu flavour. The ingredients are not aplenty though, with just a single piece of chashu with half an egg (sorry, not the runny eggs though), seaweed and some greens. The ramen noodles are tangy and goes really well with the soup.
Chocolate Fondant Cake ($3.40)
Since there is a promotion going on with desserts going at half-price, I picked out the Chocolate Fondant Cake paired with a scoop of Vanilla Ice-Cream to complete the meal. I was glad to make that choice because the Chocolate Fondant Cake is quite good. Fluffy on the outside and creamy on the inside, the chocolate cream within is aplenty and the Vanilla Ice Cream really complements the hot cake rather well. A must-try I say.
Hot Choco Brownie ($3.40)
More chocolates for the evening. The Hot Choco Brownie is for those who loves the dark, sinful dessert. Accompanied with two scoops of sorbets, the brownies are topped with snow sugar and comes with a serving of chocolate syrup. Sinful? Yes. Tasty? Absolutely.
Watami Japanese Restaurant has been around in the Singapore food scene for some years now and having tried the food here it’s no wonder why more outlets are opening year after year. Overall the food is decently good and I would consider the price to be rather reasonable, especially for the set menus. If you are on the look out for reasonably priced Japanese food to enjoy with your family and friends, consider Watami for your next venue and I’m sure you wouldn’t be disappointed.
Ratings: 4.5 foodiedoos out of 5.0
Watami Japanese Casual Restaurant
6 Eu Tong Sen Street
Tel: 6323 3398
Daily Operating hours: 11.30am to 10pm