Monday, October 02, 2006

Raku Japanese Restaurant + Bar

Saba Shioyaki and Negitoro Maki

I've gotta admit that I was rather disappointed in this place (273 Holland Avenue #01-02, 6469-6646, with other locations at Greenwood Avenue and Citylink Mall, apparently). I'd seen it at Holland Village for years now and wanted to stop by, but I always seemed to be distracted by other places like Al Hamra or those two Mexican joints. Tonight, we finally came over, and unfortunately it was a bit of a letdown.

Unagi TemakiThe main gripe I had was the (lack of) freshness of the ingredients, especially at the rather exorbitant prices that they charged: they had an all-you-can-eat package for something like S$59, or US$34, and that price point was pretty easy to come close to even if you ordered a la carte like we did (and that was actually the cheaper of the two all-you-can-eat packages that excluded more expensive things like otoro). Maybe it was because today was an ill-advised Monday, but the fish simply wasn't the quality that I was expecting. Don't get me wrong; it was still very edible (and certainly much better than that egregious monstrosity and neighbor Sushi Tei); but it seemed to me as if the high prices were more to justify the dimly lit ambiance and fancy porcelainware rather than the food.

Yaki MentaikoThere were some items that did pique my curiosity when I read the menu though, such as the yaki mentaiko, as I wasn't sure how one could actually grill mentaiko on a flame. When it came out, it looked like it was compacted into sausage-like shapes or something before being thrown on the fire and then cut up into slices and separated by cucumber. Yes, it was odd, and it really didn't really do anything to change the taste too much (it reminded me of a similarly intriguing but ultimately pointless yaki edamame that I once had at that nasty Ichiban Boshi place). Actually, I wasn't a big fan of how they prepared some other items either, like the yaki onigiri, which seemed to be slathered with a strong sweet/spicy sauce reminscient of that stuff that is used on those barbequed corn things from street stalls in Taiwan.

Well, there was certainly nothing wrong with the service or anything, as they were very warm and engaging (in fact, they tossed us a number of freebies tonight in exchange for being a bit understaffed). And maybe if their prices were about half of what they currently charge, then I'd consider coming back. But if I really wanted to pay their current prices, then there are plenty of other places that I'd rather go to where I'm not paying for any ambience, but rather simply the quality of the ingredients.


Anonymous said...

hi, if you like good and cheap japanese food, maybe you could try the sashimi bento box set (item no. 18, $20.00, i think) at "Wasabi Tei", which is a hole-in-the-wall japanese restaurant on the 5th floor at Far East Plaza.

Anonymous said...

will you take me out to dinner, please?

you're blog looks so yummy all over..& i'm a good hungry person.

Anonymous said...

haha i go to wasabi tei rather frequently as well. the highlight isn't the food but the grouchy chef!

i highly recommend the chawanmushi :)

Anonymous said...

i thought you read kitchen confidential, :)

Anonymous said...

i totally agree....went to Raku recently and it was such a let down. Akashi at Tanglin Shopping centre was very good though--albeit very noisy.

Anonymous said...

Avoid that place- a totally overpriced tourist trap

Anonymous said...

"Wasabi Tei" must be the biggest scam of all time!!!!

I have tasted the most horrible japanese food served in a resturant.

Taste the worst sashimi, sushi & saba fish ever!!!!

And it cost me $47!!!

I feel cheated by all who review the good food.

To me it’s the worst japanese food i have ever tried & i will never go back even if it’s free!!!!