Fat Cow, Singapore

located pretty randomly on the ground floor of camden medical centre, fat cow is the perfect place to go to satisfy a donburi craving! i had always thought it was rather pricey but after spotting their set lunch menu on display outside the restaurant while i was at camden for an eye appointment one day, i decided that i had to give the decently-priced set lunches a try.

went on a saturday afternoon (yes, they offer the set lunch on saturdays too – YAY!) with the mother and the sister to check out if it was worth the hype. the conclusion: the signature fat cow donburi definitely was, but the other things we tried weren’t mind-blowing though still above average i would say.

we were seated at the counter which i really liked because unlike some counters that tend to be cramped and result in you elbowing your neighbours when you eat, this counter was big and spacious, with a great view of the chefs doin’ their thing to boot!20130907_133020

here’s the set lunch menu:20130907_133150

the sister and i had a fat cow donburi each, while the mother decided to go for the fat foa-gura don. besides that, we ordered a medley of mushrooms in a garlic, butter & yuzu sauce (if i remember correctly) from the a-la-carte menu to share.

despite them being pretty crowded, service was prompt and the meal started with us being served a salad, chawanmushi and miso soup:
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the salad was nothing out of the ordinary; the greens were fresh but i would have preferred the salad to be more chilled. as for the miso soup, it was tasty but very normal, without any additional ingredients besides the usual tofu and seaweed that would have made it that bit more exciting. the chawanmushi was pretty good though! there was this strange gooey layer of sauce on the top but it was fine once we dug into it and it got mixed with the rest of the chawanmushi. it was very smooth and contained some whole ingredients like prawn and scallop etc so that was nice, but i think it could have been a tad lighter and less dense!

as mentioned earlier, we also ordered a mushroom medley from the a-la-carte menu. i LOVE mushrooms so this was my cup of tea! the mix of mushrooms was nice and they were very well-fried, retaining a nice bite but without a hint of any raw crunchiness. the sauce was very yummy – i think it was garlic, butter and yuzu (if i’m not wrong; sorry my memory fails me!). it was added in just the right amount to the mushrooms, resulting in them being coated in it but not swimming or being drenched. the serving was also just nice to be shared among the 3 of us as a nice accompaniment to our sets.20130907_134401

the fat foa-gura don that the mother dearest ordered:20130907_134904
glazed foie gras and wagyu beef over rice

the mother decided to be (kinda) adventurous and go for the foie gras donburi instead of the classic fat cow donburi. we were disappointed though! they were really generous with the foie gras which was cooked to perfection (melt-in-your-mouth goodness) and absolutely delicious, but what marred the perfection of the dish was the sauce! we all felt that the sauce was much too sweet and was added a little too generously, so much so that i felt the dish became quite blandly sweet (if you know what i mean)! it was a real pity because the beef and foie gras were actually really delicious. don’t get me wrong though – this donburi wasn’t terrible at all, in fact i would still say it was above average, but just not what i’d go for or what i’m looking for in a donburi. it also seemed like we were just eating plain rice with the beef and foie gras on top; i felt there wasn’t anything that brought everything together (like the egg yolk in the fat cow donburi). i think its safe to say that we’re all going to opt for the trusty fat cow donburi when we return.

and now, saving the best for last, presenting to you… *drumroll please* the famous fat cow donburi!!!

various fat cow donburi-eating stages:
stage one – shamelessly snap a pic (or as many as it takes to get a good shot) of it in all its glory. won’t be too hard to get a good pic cuz its one of those foods that’s so good it’s photogenic from all angles wahahaha.20130907_135259charcoal-grilled wagyu beef with onsen egg and shiro negi

stage two – break your egg yolk (if you are a fellow runny yolk lover, i understand your pain; this is the hardest part HAHA), mix it all in and EAT!!!20130907_135344

stage three – when you reach your last spoonful, stop to snap another pic and try not to feel too sad that such an amazing bowl of food is now close to empty.20130907_140840

stage four – observe a moment of silence for the loss of the food in the bowl but trust that it has gone to a better place.20130907_140852

the fatcow donburi was amazingly yummy (as you can probably infer from my bowl that was wiped completely clean); i’d go back and order this in a heartbeat! we ordered the beef done medium rare and it came in the perfect shade of pink. mixed together with the onsen egg that was spot-on with its runny yolk factor, this bowl of rice was worth every bit of carbs (for the weight watchers among you) and definitely worth getting fat on 😉 my only complaint is that the beef we had that day wasn’t as juicy and tender as i had hoped. i’ve had other wagyu beef that’s tasted better – more marbled, tender and naturally sweet (i felt the beef in the beef with truffle donburi i had at tamashii robataya was better than fat cow’s though fat cow’s is certainly better value for money. read about tamashii’s donburi here!). despite this, the donburi still proved itself to be one of the best i’ve had; i think it was the general mix of everything in the bowl that made it taste so so good.

ended the meal with ice cream that was also included in the set lunch:
20130907_141642the ice cream we had that day was honeycomb ice cream, and it was a very nice end to the meal. it surprised us all by being not too sweet at all, and was smooth and creamy with crunchy honeycomb bits within. i could have done with a bigger scoop though 😉 hahaha!

all in all, we had a great lunch experience at fat cow. be sure to make a reservation if you’re going though! we didn’t expect them to be so popular especially because of its sightly odd location but were surprised that we were only offered the late seating (1.30pm) when we called to make a reservation and even had to wait for a while before being seated when we arrived at 130pm. this is definitely somewhere that i’m adding to my ever-growing list of must-eat places when i’m back home for the holidays 🙂

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Fat Cow

1 Orchard Boulevard, Camden Medical Centre #01-01
Singapore 248649

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Tamashii Robataya, Singapore

my dad whatsapped me very excitedly during his lunch hour last friday, telling me that he just had the most amazing truffle chawanmushi and (in my apparently standard words to describe anything i love) it was “sooooo gooood”. when he returned home that night, he was still enthusing about it over dinner and so it was decided that our family would go check the place out the very next day (yes, this means that my father went to the same restaurant to eat the exact same thing on 2 consecutive days; he likes it that much.).

so it was on a saturday afternoon that my family visited this relatively recently-opened japanese restaurant (it is about 3 months old) which is a stone’s throw away from my dad’s office, along north canal road. since its in the cbd, its really quiet on weekends and is actually a nice escape from the crowds at orchard road! we were 1 of just 2 groups of diners that day, but my dad says that its packed on weekdays so best to make a reservation if you’re planning on going down on a weekday.

Tamashii Robataya is on the 2nd floor of a rather nondescript building that houses a few other funky-looking joints, and is a traditional robatayaki (often shortened to robata) restaurant. for the uninitiated, robata is another kind of japanese dining (like shabu shabu, teppanyaki etc) where customers sit at a counter with a range of fresh produce displayed (eg mushrooms, corn, seafood, meats) and they pick what they want the chefs to skewer and grill over charcoal. when the food is ready, the freshly-grilled food is then served to you over the counter on a wooden oar, apparently to pay homage to the fishermen of Japan who served their fresh catch on wooden oars in the past.

20130727_132046 the counter at Tamashii Robataya

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAsome of the food that can be selected for grilling

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freshly-grilled food served to you on wooden oars

my dad really enjoyed the set lunch that he had the day before, and so we decided to go with the set lunch menu which is also available on saturdays. (next time we are definitely going back to try the omakase/a-la-carte menu though!) they have a decent range of affordable set lunches available, and all are very value-for-money given that they come with a salad, 3 slices of salmon sashimi, rice, miso soup, dessert & coffee/tea. here is the set lunch menu:20130727_132342

all set lunches start with a typical japanese salad as appetiser – the greens were fresh and served with a delicious dressing that was light and refreshing. i would have preferred the salad to be a little more well-chilled though.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
salad that comes with the set lunch

we were all really impressed with the salmon sashimi. expecting the typical run-of-the-mill salmon sashimi that you can get anywhere (and hence not expecting very much), the sashimi far exceeded my expectations and we were all very pleased. the pieces were sliced quite thick (i prefer sashimi that way as it gives the fish some bite) and they were fatty, which i feel is what set it apart from the regular salmon sashimi that you can get in any chain restaurant or even supermarket. i might be wrong but they seemed to have a light yuzu-type seasoning on the top which was a very nice touch, and made it a very enjoyable start to the meal. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
salmon sashimi

for the mains, we went with 3 orders of gyuniki teriyaki (beef) and 1 order of gindara teriyaki (cod). the beef was a clear winner – it was a generous serving that was grilled to perfection. the meat was extremely tender and juicy, and the sauce was simply put, finger lickin’ good 😉 i soon realised that my initial disappointment at the very simple (and some might even say unimpressive) presentation was completely unfounded once i sunk my teeth into the first piece of meat.

(sorry my pictures of the beef are really rather unflaterring 😦 but trust me, it was absolutely delicious!)
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gyuniku teriyaki that was cooked to perfection
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA gyuniki teriyaki with rice

the cod paled in comparison. my sister was sorely disappointed once it was served. the serving was much smaller than the beef and although it was extremely smooth and fresh and the sauce was as yummy as the beef’s, it was lacking the juiciness and natural sweetness that the beef had. i think its very safe to say that my sister will be ordering the beef the next time she returns for the set lunch.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAgindara teriyaki

the japanese rice that accompanied the grills was well-cooked, no sign of any clumpy or hard bits at all. as for the miso soup, we all really enjoyed it. it was full of ingredients unlike the msg-laden bowls of soup with a few pathetic pieces of seaweed (and tofu, if you’re lucky) that you often get with set meals. this miso soup had generous amounts of mushrooms and what i think was beancurd skin/tau pok, and it was a warm, tasty and satisfying accompaniment to the rice and grills.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
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miso soup

besides the set lunch, we ordered a truffle chawanmushi each. how could we leave without having the one dish that my dad had enthused non-stop about the night before? each serving costs $8++ with any set lunch order. it was definitely money well spent in my opinion. the chawanmushi was one of the smoothest chawanmushis i have ever tasted!!! it was light, very very extremely smooth, and topped with not just truffle oil, but bits of truffle! the smell is amazing once you lift the cover of the chawanmushi pot 🙂 definitely one of the best chawanmushis i have ever had.20130727_134032
truffle chawanmushi

the set lunch also comes with dessert to end off the meal. i love how they have a range of desserts for you to choose from unlike some sets that come with a standard dessert of fruit/fixed flavour of ice cream. here at tamashii, you can choose from green tea, black sesame, yuzu or grape ice cream, matcha cheesecake, mochi and japanese jelly. gotta love that wide selection!!! i had my eye on matcha cheesecake from the start of lunch but unfortunately, they didn’t have it the day we were there. major sad face 😦 . so I went with black sesame ice cream instead, while my parents and sister went for the yuzu.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
black sesame & yuzu ice cream

we were really impressed when we learnt that all the ice cream is made in-house. the yuzu was a very refreshing sorbet-like palate cleanser, and had actual bits of orange peel inside which made it rather special. as for the black sesame ice cream, i forgot all about my disappointment with the lack of matcha cheesecake. it was delicious – smooth, creamy and extremely fragrant. i remember feeling very sad when i had the last bite of it; the one thing that could have made dessert better was… another scoop of ice cream? 😛

all in all, we were all extremely satisfied with our meal at Tamashii Robataya. in fact, my dad just went back a third time yesterday (he very happily informed me that the lady at the restaurant now recognises him); i think he needed to satisfy his constant craving for the truffle chawanmushi. the set lunches are indeed very good value for money. we’re thinking of trying their omakase menu one of these days! will definitely update this space when we do so 🙂

[UPDATE: omakase has been tried! read about it here]

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Tamashii Robataya

12 North Canal Road #02-01
Singapore 048825