Ebisboshi Shotengai, Iluma @ Bugis
Man, Singapore's really getting into this idea of importing a bunch of shops from Japan and shoving them into a food court, eh? Another one has popped up at the new Iluma mall (201 Victoria Street #04-08, 6238-1011), and this one was so dressed up that it could almost put Disneyland to shame. They banged on a taiko drum perched high above to signal their opening hour, and one of the shops there even did the whole French maid "cosplay" thing.
Out of the six or seven vendors here, it was clear that one of the flagship ones was Tsubohachi, a chain of izakaya that is related to Za Watami, if I read it correctly. I was disappointed to find a very limited menu inside, but at least the food was generally able to hold its ground. I also tried the ramen from Menya Manpei, whose noodles and broth were better than I expected, even if the chashu was too boring for my taste. There wasn't really any condiment selection either.
I might come back to give some of the other shops a try, but I don't think the shabu shabu place will be at the top of the list, as the meat seemed a bit too lean to get me excited. Their electronic pen-based ordering system got a bit annoying after a while too, especially when it kept reading off neighboring tables' orders. I found it better to skip the open area where one could order from multiple shops and just go into some of the dedicated ones to get a fuller menu anyway.