Not long ago, I had reviewed Udon Goen @ Wisma Atria where I swooned over its value-for-money and ginormous Japanese Chicken Katsu Curry Rice that was tasty and so-very-satisfying.
This time round, I was invited to Washoku Goen @ VivoCity for a tasting session to try out its sumibiyaki (means charcoal grill in Japanese) which is not available at their Wisma Atria outlet.
Similar to Udon Goen @ Wisma, Washoku Goen is a Japanese food stall located at the Food Republic food court at VivoCity.
Curry rice fans, you can also find their signature fried chicken cutlets/curry rice here.
Here’s a look at their menu:
Besides their usual curry rice, udon and ramen, Washoku Goen also offers Donburi (rice served in bowls), Singa-Japan, Japanese BBQ (authentic Japanese flavour) and Singa Style BBQ (catering to the locals’ palates) menus. Variety wise, there’s definitely much more to choose from over here. Prices are also kept affordable.
If you order anything from their BBQ menu, it will be prepared on the spot by the grill master so you can also catch him ‘live’ in action as the meat gets grilled over the burning charcoal just like how we do the classic BBQ.
The meats are first marinated overnight with a secret blend and then basted generously with either eel sauce or homemade Japanese BBQ sauce when on the grill to achieve a flavourful and tender texture while juices are being locked in at the same time.
These were the dishes we had. From top (in clockwise order): Tonkotsu Special Ramen ($9.90), Chicken Katsu Donburi ($8.50) and Sumibi Big Rice ($23.80).
The Sumibi Big Rice was a gigantic plate of rice with beef steak, yakitori (grilled chicken), thinly sliced beef, sunny side up and some poached cabbage & cucumber slices. Portion size was good for sharing between 2 persons. All the meats on this plate were charcoal-grilled.
The aroma from the BBQ meats really made me drool. This beef steak was extremely tender and flavoursome – definitely one of the best steaks I had in any Japanese eatery.
Chicken dark meat was used for the yakitori so it was tender and moist with a lovely smoky flavour too.
My favourite had got to be the thinly sliced beef that was quite fatty but they somewhat melted in the mouth. I enjoyed that softness of the fats coupled with the slight chewiness of the meat – absolutely delish. And this had the most intense smoky flavour as compared to the other two meats – just like having a really good yakiniku beef.
What really won me over was that moreish smoky flavour of the meats that made me hanker for more and the perfect execution of the grilling process so the meats turned out moist, juicy and oh-so-tender.
The rest of the elements on the plate paled in comparison such as the overcooked yolk of the sunny side up and the fact that it was quite difficult to eat all that rice on its own because there wasn’t any sauce to go with it. The poached cabbage was bland as well. But as the BBQ meats were so tasty, these were just minor details to put up with.
The Tonkotsu Special Ramen came with 2 thick slices of pork belly, a whole egg and condiments of chopped raw garlic, seaweed and spring onions.
I enjoyed the firmness and chewiness of the noodles that remained throughout the (long) time I spent taking photos of my meal. For other ramen from elsewhere, I probably would have ended up with a bowl of soggy mess but it was definitely not the case here.
I enjoyed the tonkotsu broth that was rich in pork flavour without the ‘excess sweetness’ from the use of artificial seasonings or MSG so this broth was naturally flavoursome yet light without being too cloying.
The pork belly was so soft and easily broken apart with the chopsticks – I wished there were more slices of it!
The Chicken Katsu Donburi was the most popular item on their menu that came in a huge portion. The chicken cutlet was so big that we could hardly see the rice below.
The fried chicken cutlet was exactly like what I had for my curry rice at their Wisma Atria outlet. The only difference was that since this was a donburi dish, the egg mixture and sauce were poured over the chicken and rice so everything was soaking wet. Because of that, we couldn’t quite taste the crispiness of the chicken even though the meat inside was still moist and tender. But the good thing was, because there was sauce and moisture, it made the rice much more palatable and enjoyable to eat. For its price and portion size, this plate has to win hands down. Where else can we get to enjoy a similar donburi at such a steal, really?
Though the ramen and donburi aren’t exactly out of this world, I do think they are still above average compared to other Japanese food court stalls and are really reasonably priced for their generous servings. I highly recommend BBQ food lovers and the carnivorous to try out their BBQ menu. My mouth is already salivating as I think about the beef steak and thinly sliced beef, lol. Yum 🙂
1 Harbourfront Walk
#03-01 Food Republic (Stall 23)
Opening hours: 10.00am to 11.00pm daily
PS: Thank you Fazirah for the invite.