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

Jin Kichi, Hampstead

today we made our maiden foodie club trek to Hampstead, solely based on a recommendation by nic’s (dubious) japanese hairdresser (i mean, just look at the state of his hair…). this restaurant is just a minute away from the hampstead tube station, and is known for its yakitori.

first impressions:

1. japanese newsletters/magazines for customers to take home with them –> LEGIT…

2. sushi bar was manned by japanese chef grilling yakitoris on the spot –> OOOH….

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3. spoonless tables –> truly japanese

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4. just ONE blond-haired waiter –> #asianpride

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5. japanese fishmonger delivering fresh produce for the day

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the menu was extensive but nic had preconceived notions of what foods represent the hallmark of true japanese cuisine: miso ramen, tempura, sashimi.

sadly there wasn’t ramen on the menu (but udon and soba were available) so we ended up ordering tempura, sashimi, unagi sushi and a yakitori set.

the yakitori set was first to arrive. while nic was dying to dig in, rach and jo were excited over the prospect of breaking down food for the FIRST time instead of the usual “soooooooo good”. the set included fresh green asparagus with pork, pork with shiso leaf, chicken with onion, minced chicken meatballs, shiitake mushrooms and king prawn.

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Asparagus with pork

rach: asparagus was very fresh and there was a good balance between the amount of pork and greens. you can consider ordering just the asparagus- (THEY WERE SO HUGE AND JUICY LOOKING, NIC WAS ALMOST FOAMING WHEN THE WAITRESS CARRYING IT WALKED PAST – at the food, not the waitress)

nic: pork wasn’t crispy enough, but the asparagus was sweet and cooked to perfection

jo: would have liked the pork to be more flavourful, but the blend between the two flavours was divine

Pork with shiso leaf

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rach: a bit dry, but the shiso leaf was grilled nicely

jo&nic: there are layers of meat and fat in the pork, so you should eat each piece ALTOGETHER so the juicy fatty goodness can seep into the meat.

Chicken with onion 

this is rach’s FAVOURITE skewer of the day.

rach: the chicken was SOOO juicy and the onions were really crunchy and packed with flavour. it was SOOO GOOD.

Shiitake Mushrooms

nic&jo: so juicy, pity we didn’t have it when it was hot

King prawns 

nic: could have even the whole thing, shell and all, if not for the over zealous waitress. (100 marks for efficiency in clearing the table.)

rach: very naturally sweet prawns

Chicken meatballs 

nic&jo: the fineness of the mince is the selling point

rach, dissenting: chicken was too finely minced, could do with more bite

(OOOH- first instance of clashing tastes and preferences????)

the sashimi lunch set came with 3 slices of salmon, 2 slices of tuna, 2 slices of seabass and 2 slices of turbot. the star of the platter was the salmon, which converted nic from a maguro lover to a fan of salmon. the initial bite was crisp and clean, yet it melted in our mouths upon chewing. it was so smooth without the stringiness of lower grade sashimi. nic also announced to the whole restaurant (his voice tends to be loud and booming) about just how good the maguro was. it was a public display of affection ^^ Image

the ingredients for the tempura were amazing. the tempura here was all about the sauce (and source, since it was sooo fresh). the sauce had an unidentifiable mystery ingredient that gave it some sort of kick/oomph. nic describes it as ‘an alcoholic surge’. the initial kick of the sauce soon blends into the flavour of the meat/veggie and merges into an organic whole. heaven is a place on earth. like the yakitori king prawn, the meat was firm, juicy and sweet and the batter light, fresh; it was a distinct……(for the lack of a better word) DISTINCTION. the ingredients were also coated with just the right amount of this amazing batter; never tasted anything batter.

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the miso soup was pleasant though it seemed that the savoury flavour came from a stock as opposed to the miso itself. not sure if thats a positive or negative thing but it was nice.

there were let downs – the rice and hence the unagi sushi. the rice was too moist and clumpy. possibly reheated from previous days? for the sushi we wanted more unagi and less rice. we would have preferred a crispier seaweed wrap.

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Wrapping up, before asking for the bill, we three have a tradition of playing ‘the price is right’ this allows us to share with you what we felt the meal was worth and enables you to compare it to what we actually paid.

Our guess was: £55

Total bill: £54 nett

Ambience: casual, for the family

Service: efficient, though sometimes overly so; felt rushed as we didn’t make reservation;

Who we would recommend it to: small groups of discerning consumers of japanese cuisine; not people looking for a leisurely lunch

Will we return?: Rach: Possibly; Jo: there are comparable alternatives in central london but will go back for the hampstead experience; nic: probably.

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Jin Kichi 

73 Heath St  London, Greater London NW3 6UG
020 7794 6158