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Sashimi Extravaganza 1 - Tuna (back), squid (front right), salmon (front left)

I discovered this nifty little restaurant a couple of months ago while surfing the net for quality Japanese Buffet restaurants in Singapore. I have never heard of Himawari Japanese Restaurants amidst the popular and established ones like Sakae Sushi, Ichiban Sushi, Hanabi, etc. etc. In fact, I am decided to put my heart into action and finally present to everyone the best Japanese buffet restaurant I have been to so far. (It's my 4th time there, including today)

Himwari serves up A-La-Carte Japanese Buffet at affordable prices for a quality and satisfying meal throughout the entire week. I have only been to the Neil Road branch (there is another at SAFRA Mount Faber) but it seems to me like a home away from home.

The ambience is very cosy and relaxing with Japanese music being played in the background over the in-house audio system. But enough of the ambience! I am sure the food is what we are all here about still=)

You'd really want to read the whole article, click the link below to read the whole post about this excellent quality restaurant

The Sashimi

The sashimi served at Himawari boasts excellent quality and freshness. Though the pieces are sliced a tad too thick for that perfect mark, each piece actually gives that melt-in-the-mouth feeling. My biggest applause goes to the Ika Sashimi (squid) which is served up nice and translucent. [see Sashimi Extravaganza 1 for the Ika Sashimi]

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Sashimi Extravaganza 2 - Salmon (front left), octopus (front right), Sword fish (center), tuna (back right), salmon (back left)

I have discovered that the more translucent that Ika Sashimi is, the fresher the dish. Judging from what I have eaten at the well-established Japanese buffet restaurants elsewhere, this is the freshest I have tasted so far. Each bite proved to be crunchy and sweet, with a smooth aftertaste.

The salmon (sake), tuna (maguro) and octopus (tako) sashimi are also of commendable praise. Quality is sincerely not compromised in the restaurant and I believe you have to try it to believe it =)

Rating : 4.5/5

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Shabu Shabu - Beef Slices

Shabu-Shabu

Also included in the A-La-Carte buffet menu is the Shabu-shabu (Japanese hotpot). My general preference of the meat for the hotpot is the thinly sliced beef slices. Once again, freshness of the beef is guaranteed. You can actually see the lovely red colour of the meat!

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Shabu Shabu - Before cooking

The hotpot comes with a wide variety of vegetables plus the slightly sweet and salty stock. Combined with the beef slices, they make up one excellent soup that is healthier and yet appetizing.

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Shabu-Shabu - Ready to eat! Oh My Gosh, look at that beef!

It doesn't take long for the vegetables to get cooked and for the beef it takes even lesser time than that. I believe I placed the meat in for approximately 2 minutes and its ready to eat.

The beef was another melt-in-the-mouth winner and it complimented the base very well.

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As a dip, the Shabu-Shabu comes with chilli and soy sauce. I'm wondering where the 3rd sauce went. Can't remember it but it tasted something like yellow bean paste.

Rating : 4/5

 

 

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Wakame (Seaweed)

Appetizers

There are 3 different kinds of appetizers at Himwari. Namely, wakame (seaweed), hotate (scallop), and kimuchi (kimchi: Japanese name for the Korean preserved vegetables)

My recommendation would be to try the Wakame and the Hotate. The seaweed provided to be nice and crunchy and not too salty like those available outside.

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The Hotate (Scallop)

The scallop too is equally as delicious, with the slices going very well as a snack between the main courses of the meal. *I reckon that my mum had actually ordered the hotate 4 times in one of my visits!* 

Rating : 4.5/5

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Agedashi Tofu - One of the oldest and most well known dishes in Japan

The Agedashi Tofu

I particular enjoy the Agedashi tofu available at Himawari. The silken firm tofu is cut into blocks and thereafter deep-fried with a light batter coating. There is another version of the Agedashi tofu and that version is coated entirely with a thicker batter and deep-fried to a golden brown colour.

However, this agedashi tofu (as you see above) is light and crispy on the outside with the broth surrounding it not too salty. Just right =)

Rating : 4.5/5

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Left - Ebi (Prawn) Tempura, Right - Yasai (Vegetable) Tempura

Tempura

Available at Himwari as per standard of Japanese restaurants is the Tempura. Himawari's take of the Japanese style of deep frying resonates very well with whatever filling they use.

I must applaud the person behind the Tempura batter at Himawari as when served up, the coating is light, fluffy and crispy - with no overpowering taste or texture. You actually get to enjoy the stuff inside with the tempura acting as an excellent companion to it.

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Kisu (White Fish) Tempura

The Kisu Tempura is a rare dish I have yet to encounter in other Japanese restaurants. The white fish is lightly flavoured with no unique taste such as the salmon or tuna. However, when this fish is paired with Himawari's tempura batter, it leaves you with the desire to take the second bite.

If I am not wrong, my family also buys this fish at the market (but it is seldom available). A rare dish that you must order!

Rating : 4/5

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Gindara (Cod Fish) Teriyaki

Gindara Teriyaki

Another dish seldom seen elsewhere on buffet menus is the Teriyaki Cod Fish. Cod has and always will be expensive. Prized for their smoothness and cotton like texture, cod is perhaps one of the most premium fish available in the market.

Now you must be thinking how will a buffet earn when they offer cod! *They surely must have some reason...but let's not dwell on that* Rather, enjoy the serving of cod like you have never before.

The fish is wonderfully glazed with Teriyaki sauce, though it can be a bit too salty if you are not used to it. Prefer a lighter variant? Ask for less sauce!

Rating : 4/5

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Deep Fried Soft Shell Crab

Deep Fried Soft Shell Crab

Oh my gosh, doesn't the list end with all these premium stuff? No!

The soft shell crab is excellent. That is my comment! Crispy and yet not coated with some heavy batter, you get to enjoy the crab in its entirety. Dip it with the light sauce that comes with it, and you are almost sent to Nirvana!

Rating : 4/5

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Creamy Corn Croquette

Creamy Corn Croquette

My last dish for today's visit was the Creamy Corn Croquette. I don't know how any deep fried dish can get any better than this. It is simply creamy, with that hint of corn sweetness, deep fried to perfection. If not it classified as a deep fried dish, I would label it as a dessert!

Rating : 4.5/5

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Mr. Yoichi Nakaoka - director of Himawari (right) with one of his young chefs at Neil Road's branch

In overall, a visit to Himawari with a small party will be an extremely pleasant affair. You get to enjoy the cosiness together with excellent service and quality food. It's no wonder that the restaurant was awarded the Wine and Dine 2007 Award last year. The food featured on this blog is just some of the premium stuff I recommend you to go for. There are many many more which even I have yet to discover. So don't forget to check the rest of the menu out=)

Now and then, Mr. Yoichi will come out and even ask his customers on feedback for the food. An act rarely done in Singaporean restaurants.

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The dining area at Himawari's Neil Road Branch

Intending to visit Himawari? You won't be dissapointed =)

I'll be back! (for my 5th, 6th, 7th,.......visit)

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Overall Rating : 4.5/5

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SAFRA Mount Faber

2 Telok Blangah Way #01-10 Safra Mount Faber Singapore 098803

(Junction of Henderson Road and Telok Blangah Way)

Business Hour: (Monday - Friday) 1130 - 1500, 1730 - 2200, (Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays) 1130 - 2200

Telephone: 62787778  Fax: 62760680

Neil Road Branch

114 Neil Road Singapore 088852

Business Hour: (Monday - Friday) 1130 - 1500, 1800 - 2230, (Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays) 1130 - 2230

Telephone: 64380925  Fax: 64380926

How to get there to the Neil Road Branch by train?

Take the MRT train to Outram Park station, walk towards the Police Cantonment Complex and head towards Chinatown Plaza. The restaurant is just opposite Chinatown plaza.

 

 

        

5 comments:

At July 13, 2008 at 7:42 AM Leroy said...

I've noticed that you have never ever rated any food a 5/5 before...lol...maybe Himawari should be the exception. Either way, I think I've been to this small little abode 3 time already. The first trip was under Justin's recommendation. And (if I remember correctly) it was after that trip to sentosa with Anthony, Michel, Justin, Me and Siang Ee. XD

Either way, one word of caution. Though the restaurant might be only know to its loyal customers, I truly recommend one to book in advance! .

I had that one undesirable experience where the restaurant was fully booked, and my family and I had to go scouting for food else where.

Hence to avoid disappointment, do place a reservation in advance.

Other then that, Itadakimas!!

 
At July 13, 2008 at 7:46 AM silverzerox | justin said...

Haha maybe you were just unlucky or I was just lucky. Anyway, point taken. Book your seats in advanced. This is a top grade restaurant but it takes a great deal more to hit 5/5 =)

 
At September 15, 2008 at 1:54 AM Fion said...

Hi, does the buffet include all the food that you have intro and the shabu-shabu as well?

 
At September 15, 2008 at 3:28 AM silverzerox | justin said...

Hi, Yes all the food I have reviewed in this post is inclusive in the buffet. There are a few a la carte items but the rest of the menu is just free flow. =)

 
At September 15, 2008 at 4:50 AM Fion said...

Oh! That's good. Looking at the price, it's pretty worth paying for that... Anyway Thanks! I will try this weekend.

 

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