Among the slew of cafes, supper spots and restaurants scattered all over bustling Upper Thomson Road, Japanese fare is perhaps one of the few rarities to find there unless you consider Tomoe Japanese Cuisine or even Sushi Tei in Thomson Plaza which is both a tad pricier in comparison.
New to the bustling food enclave, taking over what used to be Nunsongyee Korean Dessert Cafe, Maneko Japanese Restaurant is a cosy, 30-seater eatery that serves quick, fuss-free Japanese delights ranging from sashimi, sushi, donburi, soba, udon and a huge selection of sides.
They have a decent selection of sushi and sashimi options to choose from as well as a huge range of rice bowls—great for quick workday lunches.
All their items are priced as is with no GST & service charge and patrons can also opt to order their mains with a drink and a small side dish as a set for a top-up of S$6.
Feeling an itch for some fresh raw fish, we opted for their Assorted Sushi (S$15.90) that saw pairs of thickly sliced salmon, maguro (tuna) and yellowtail, nestled atop sushi rice.
While the texture and appearance of the fishes themselves did not boast the same immaculate quality one would associate with expertly crafted sushi, the individual varieties were fresh and flavourful nonetheless and did well to keep our sushi cravings in check.
For bold flavours and meaty goodness, we recommend getting the Truffle Yakiniku Don (S$14.90). Seared thoroughly to produce a beautiful caramelised crust whilst remaining pink in the middle, the beef was tender and tasty from start to finish.
The onsen egg provided a heightened richness and the truffle oil, while light, gave a dish a subtle aromatic lift. But in spite of it being a fairly fatty-flavoured bowl, the addition of the ripe cherry tomatoes and diced scallions helped to cut through all of that.
One of Maneko’s signatures and hands down one of the best mentaiko dishes we have ever tried is their Mentaiko Udon (S$11.90). For what it’s worth, we were completely blown away by how simple yet addictive this dish was.
Tossed in a light, creamy sauce with salted cod roe and served chilled, the dish hit all the right notes of savoury, umami and refreshing. The udon possessed a nice chewy texture and formed the perfect vessel for all that sauce to latch on. The onsen egg gave the dish a creamier consistency and the scallions cut through everything perfectly.
All in all, a brilliant dish and one we will surely return for!
Maneko Japanese Restaurant
227 Upper Thomson Road
Tel: +65 6909 5401
Daily: 11am – 9.30pm
Nearest Station: Marymount