Amongst the proliferation of tourist trap seafood restaurants and bars lining the Boat Quay riverside, you’ll find sitting side by side, the double concept Aburiya Japanese Wagyu Yakiniku and The Container Wagyu Tapas & Bar from Robertson Quay yakiniku specialists, Aburiya.
What better way to kick off the meal then, than with wagyu-centric tapas and whisky by the water at The Container’s al fresco area?
True to their nose to tail philosophy, no part of the cow goes to waste. The Wagyu Whisky($14/45ml) is fat washed with cuts from Aburiya that would have been discarded, imparting a bold, buttery flavour and viscuous, almost oily mouthfeel. With each batch, the fat comes from a different part of the cow, guaranteeing a slightly different flavour profile everytime. I’m told they make cocktails with the wagyu infused whisky as well but we didn’t have the opportunity to sample them this time round. All the more reason to make a return visit I say.
First to arrive were the beautifully presented Strawberry Oysters($5/pc). While I prefer my oysters raw, the caviar crowned pan-seared mollusc still possessed a plump, somewhat muted briny juiciness that went well with an intriguing strawberry foam which was sweet, fruity and a little spicy. At $5 a piece though, I’d be hesitant to order it again.
Obscured under a cloud of applewood smoke contained within a bell jar, the Smoking Wagyu Carpaccio($19) is dramatically unveiled once the waiter lifts the lid and the mist quickly dissipates, revealing strikingly raw marbled A4 wagyu slices on a jet black plate. The meat is paper thin and fatty yet delicate, with a hint of smokiness and the unmistakeable perfume of truffle oil.
Braised for hours then seared before serving for that smoky char, the Braised Pork Soft Ribs($12 for small/$19 for large) is pure unadulterated porcine pleasure with melt in your mouth meat and bones so soft you can simply eat the whole thing.
The Wagyu Bao($6/pc) packed bags of flavour between each bun –
the slow braised shredded wagyu shank imbued with sweet sauce is moreish, chewy and topped with a slathering of spiced mayo, crisp lotus chips and a healthy sprinkling of tongue tingling togarashi.
Having whet our appetites on some very excellent and creative tapas, we proceeded indoors into Aburiya for the main affair. A slightly more formal setting with wood panelling, discreet sliding doors opening into private rooms, a large open concept kitchen, and the heavenly scent of top grade white charcoal-grilled beef wafting through the venue, Aburiya was certainly setting our expectations high on first appearances alone.
Yukke is one of my favourite things to have at any authentic Japanese restaurant if I happen to spot it in the menu, so ordering the Wagyu Negishio Yukke($18) was a must for me.
Any mild disappointment that I felt upon seeing that it did not come with a raw egg quickly vanished once i dug into the finely chopped and well marinated beef topped with spring onion. This went really well with their Donabe Gohan – freshly cooked rice in earthen claypot.
Aburiya prides itself in delivering an immaculate yakiniku experience. Fostering personal relationships with farmers across Japan whom they regularly visit, their pure Japanese wagyu is of the highest standards. The whole cow is purchased and imported to Singapore by the restaurant itself.
The Tokusen Wagyu Rosu($26) is a testament to their dedication to quality. Admire if you will the exquisite Sashi marbled across like frost on the prime cuts of chuck roll. A few seconds on each side is all it needs on the bincho-tan grill to lightly sear the meat and impart a delicate smoky flavour. Soft, buttery and melt in your mouth aptly describes each slice of beefy heaven.
For value for money variety, consider the Moriawase Aburiya Kiriotoshi Tokumori $40(250g). Comprising the cut-off ends of Wagyu and Tokachi beef, you’ll get to enjoy lean yet flavourful ruby hued beef as well as more marbled cuts.
Aburiya and The Container
78-79 Boat Quay
Fri-Sat & Eve of PH: 6-11:30pm
Thu-Sat & Eve of PH: 6pm-12am
*** This was a hosted tasting. ***