Ngee Ann City has always been the most Japanese-centric mall in Orchard, and with that comes the usual perks, a big department store and plenty of eats. I am willing to bet most Japanese restaurants would like to open a branch there and compete for the never-ending crowd of Japanese food lovers. Well, The Sushi Bar, which has a branch at the Far East Plaza (which isn’t that far away from Ngee Ann City), opened a branch on the rather confusing fifth floor.
The inside of The Sushi Bar, kind of reminds me of a very big Bar, or Izakaya in Tokyo, without the smoke, from the Charcoal grill and cigarettes. I really like how their alcohol bottles, mostly Sake and Whisky, covers almost every inch of the wall. Also, the menu may be very big, but they have pretty much everything you can possibly want in a Japanese Restaurant.
Before we continue, I would like to highlight a few things. I honestly don’t think it is very smart for a Restaurant to charge $2 for Hot Ocha (Green Tea), that is just Hot water in a cup with a Teabag. I mean, even if you want to use tea packets, at least make the tea in a batch at the back and then pour it out to customers. I actually noticed their Tea at another table when I sat down, so I mitigated myself from that, and had a glass of Ice Water.
Also, they serve two types of Wasabi. First is the processed one, given with Sushis and Dons, and the other is the freshly grated, better quality one, given with Sashimis. Yeah, I don’t really know how to respond to that, so I am just going to assume they do that for budget-related reasons.
Now, onto the food! This is the Tuna Avocado Roll ($14.90). They were definitely generous with the Rice, but the cut and roll on the Tuna was inconsistent. Thus, some pieces had more Tuna, others had less. The Avocado was also rather soft, giving it a creamy feel in your mouth.
Sashimi! Oh, how I love Sashimi! Clockwise from top left, is the Otoro, Tuna Belly ($38.90), Hamachi Belly ($11.90), Hirame, Flounder ($15.90) and Mekajiki, Swordfish ($7.90) Sashimi. My favourite one would be the Otoro, which melted in my mouth. But, it had a texture and colour of Chutoro, the less fatty Tuna Belly, which is slightly firmer. I guess the jury is open on that. Both the Flounder and the Swordfish was much firmer with a sweeter taste. The Swordfish has always been one of my Favourite sashimi, but it wasn’t exactly top grade Swordfish. But, the Flounder was quite chewy and it almost had the texture of Ika, or Squid.
This is the Aburi Kaisen Chirashi Don ($26.90). No, this photo is not deceiving your eyes, the slices of Sashimi are very big! But, in terms of the blowtorching, I would say it is a little inconsistent, with the Tuna getting a very deep scorch (I don’t know if this is on purpose) and the Salmon getting a near-perfect, light scorch. The Tuna didn’t really appeal to me, as they used the Akami, the meaty part with very little fat, thus it was a little dry and flaky. The Swordfish has a naturally firm texture, so after being blowtorched, it was also a little dry, but still sweet and a little chewy. Finally, I really enjoyed the Scallops, sweet and juicy… Why did they only give 2 pieces of the delicious Scallop?
This is the Unagi Fried Rice ($19.90). The Rice was too sweet and the Unagi pieces were way too small and, it was overpowered by the sweetness of the Rice. Also, I really don’t like these long pieces of egg, seriously? It doesn’t exactly contribute to the taste or texture to the dish, it is just a weird garnish to me. A simple fried egg with a runny yolk would be way more appealing to me.
This is the Hamachi Kama ($25.90). I was really surprised by the size of the portion, with most restaurants serving just the collar, The Sushi Bar serves the head too. Very meaty and tasty, but some parts, especially the thinner one at the top, were overcooked and dry. Well, I guess this is almost inevitable with a hot, flaming grill. Also, the back of the head, behind the eye was slightly bloody and undercooked. Well, no one eats that part anyway.
Finally, this is the Ayu Kaki ($16.90), otherwise known as a sweetfish. It is definitely similar to other small fishes like Sardine and Mackerel, but with a sweeter flesh. But, it was slightly overcooked and dry. Also, it was very bony and I refuse to eat the little bones, so deboning it on my plate was a big hassle.
In conclusion, The Sushi Bar may just as well be like any other Japanese restaurant, honestly nothing really wowed me, except the size of the Sashimi slices, but on the subject of that, I would have preferred thinner and more pieces of Sashimi. Also, it is a rather expensive Restaurant, but it clearly hasn’t put people off, judging by the queue outside during peak hours and weekends. Well, Orchard has other good Japanese Restaurants I haven’t tried yet, and I would rather keep on sampling others. I might not return…
The Sushi Bar
391 Orchard Road
#05-34/35 Ngee Ann City