Nanbantei's specialty is with their yakitori or Japanese skewers. This is my 3rd visit there and they did not disappoint. Located at the top floor of Far East Plaza, most people do not know the existence of this fabulous restaurant.
This could be due to the fact that there's hardly any queue outside the restaurant. Most patrons would already have had a taste of the crowd and be convinced that a reservation is a must to avoid disappointment. Others would probably have been discouraged by the long waiting time, typically more than 30mins. But don't be, we once waited for 30mins and it was well worth the wait. Even the Japanese themselves patronize this place, there is surely no mistake about it.
There are 3 yakitori set to choose from:
A-course ($36) being the exotic choice with 12 sticks of exotic yakitori. If ox tongue, chicken liver and the likes are your kind of things, then go ahead and get the A-course to have an exotic gastronomical experience.
B-course ($36) is the chef's recommended choice, featuring 8 chef's recommended yakitori sticks, sashimi, rice, miso soup and a dessert. This is the one I always ordered as, so far, it didn't really disappoint.
C-course ($30) is the vegetarian choice, which is pretty self-explanatory.
Ok, on with the food we go:
Yasai Stick with special miso sauce ($2)
A starters that everyone will get once you get seated. It cost $2 by the way, I'm not sure if you can cancel this but I would say it's worth a try as its a great appetizer. It's definitely the miso paste, you've gotta try it.
Warmed Japanese Sake ($7.80) and Assorted Sashimi [Part of B-course set]
Warmed Sake, great on a cold day, is a bit on the strong side but still manageable.
Sashimi is fresh and nothing much to complain about.
Pork with Shiso Leaf & Asparagus wrapped in Pork [Part of B-course set]
The first thing that came to my mind, and most first timer alike, would have been that the food here is pretty salty. If you get to sit at the counter seats, you get to witness the generosity of the chefs with their sprinkler of salt as they grill the skewers. I would strongly recommend hot green tea to go with the food or that a post meal water parade as a standard procedure.
Mini Tomato Maki & Okra (Lady Finger) [Part of B-course set]
Mini tomato maki is a must try. It's an explosion of flavors inside your mouth; now repeat after me: it explodes. The juice simply bursts out as you bite it and its just feels great and makes you feels like tomatoes just became your heavenly food ever since. Ok exaggerated and oh don't forget to let it cool down just a tiny winy little bit before you attack it, for it burns...enuff said.
Okra was grilled with a right proportion of salt, but nothing special. Its fiber. And you need it. Trust me.
Tsukune (Chicken meatballs) & Chicken with Leek [Part of B-course set]
Tsukune is tender but not juicy, definitely better than the Tori tori ball, no? Leek never tasted so good before, the grilling removes the unpleasant taste that causes most people to have a certain grudge with. grudge with.
Tebasaki (chicken wings) & Garlic Chicken with Leek [Part of B-course set]
Chicken wings was pretty tasty but a tad too salty for our liking. I kinda forgot if that's garlic chicken or garlic pork, I think it's chicken. But nonetheless, eat the garlic leek and chicken together; they blends well.
Sake Harasu (Salmon Belly) ($6.90)
The salmon belly was fresh, to say the least, and it was really juicy and tender, much to our delight and excitement.
BBQ Japanese mushrooms with all its flavors retained. It's good and juicy. Another option is mushroom stuffed with chicken, also not too bad.
Uzura Tamago (quail's egg) ($4.50)
I was actually having high expectations for this one. But it didn't really work for me. It's worse than hard boiled egg and the sauce really didn't quite blend well.
Tomato Pork Maki with cheese ($5.20)
After having a great experience with the exploding mini tomatoes maki, we decided to try out another of a similar dish. This one uses a tomato, not the mini one duh, cut into wedges and wrapped in pork and cheese. Not too bad as well, kinda preferred the mini ones. But considering this is our last dish and the law of diminishing returns, the result can be biased.
Red bean mochi [Part of B-course set]
Lastly, the dessert is the red bean mochi. It's thick and sweet, and we were very full.
Total time taken was 2 hours and total damage was $125. It was quite worth it, do try it as it could change your opinion about certain vegetables that you once considered untouchable, well.. at least for that meal that is. Service wise, I was hoping the staffs to be a bit more forthcoming; green teas normally goes unfilled and empty plates sometimes are unattended to. But I'm not complaining much, they are a friendly lot and makes the whole dining experience a pretty cozy and enjoyable one.
Nanbantei Japanese Restaurant
Address: 14 Scotts Road #05-132 Far East Plaza Singapore
Tel: +65 6733 5666