Ootoya is where you can find traditional Japanese food and it is the restaurant of choice for Japanese expats living here that want a taste of their mother’s home-cooked food. With branches around the world, there are currently three in Singapore, all serving wholesome and nutritionally balanced meals.
I was invited the other day to Ootoya’s branch in Orchard Central to try some of their recommended dishes, courtesy of JPassport. I had their Katsutoji (Crispy Breaded Yongenton Silky Pork Loin Cutlet in Steamy Hot Pot) Set, Pork Belly Shiokoji (Grilled Yongenton Silky Pork Belly Marinated with Shio Koji), Seiro Soba and Maccha Parfait to finish.
The food came out very quickly, first with the Seiro Soba. The soba noodles in Ootoya are handmade daily using buckwheat flour imported from Hokkaido and this particular soba dish was served cold with a dipping sauce in which spring onions and wasabi can be added to it according to taste. The soba was deliciously chewy and the portion was big enough to be a meal in itself.
Next came the Pork Belly Shiokoji which uses Yongenton Silky Pork (a type of American pork that is popular in Japan) that is marinated in shio koji which is a salt and mouldy rice (yes mould!) seasoning that Ootoya makes using a traditional recipe from over 300 years ago. The pork belly in this dish was grilled to perfection and was extremely tender and lightly seasoned with the shio koji just enough to bring out the flavour of the pork. It came with a small salad and some Japanese potato salad.
The Katsutoji set which came with steamed rice, miso soup and pickles was my favourite dish out of everything I tried. Katsutoji is deep fried breaded pork with egg in a sweet soy sauce and dashi broth. If you’ve ever had Katsudon, Katsutoji is basically the same except the broth with the pork and egg come in a separate bowl from the rice. The Katsutoji was served in a hot stone bowl in which the bubbling hot broth was cooking the egg when it was served. The breaded pork loin in which Yongenton Silky Pork is also used was still crunchy although half submerged in the broth and the meat was tender and juicy. I really enjoyed the broth too as it was sweet enough for my liking and went perfectly with the egg and pork.
Finally the Maccha Parfait dessert was a great ending to a nostalgic meal of my time living in Tokyo. It had pieces of sponge cake, red beans, matcha ice cream, matcha jelly, matcha pudding and warabi mochi dipped in matcha powder in it – that’s a whole lot of matcha! The matcha ice cream had a lovely strong bitter matcha flavour as did the pudding and jelly and the not too sweet red beans complemented it all well.
Ootoya have a huge menu consisting of meat, fish and vegetable dishes, noodles, donburi, sashimi and desserts which I would like to go back to try more of. Indeed it is a popular restaurant with Japanese expats as there were many dining in Ootoya whilst I was there. The branch in Orchard Central has counter seats near the kitchen which is great for solo dining as well as a cosy section of booth tables at the back of the restaurant. Reservations are probably necessary if you’re going during lunchtime or for dinner as the place fills up fast! Currently until the 31st January 2019, if you’re a member of JPassport you can get a free Pumpkin Parfait which is Ootoya’s current seasonal dessert when you dine at any branch in Singapore. Just show them the coupon on this page!
Ootoya (Orchard Central branch)
Address: 181 Orchard Road, #08-012 Orchard Central, Singapore 238896
Tel: 6884 8901
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm
Hope you’ve enjoyed my review of Ootoya, please feel free to leave a comment below with your own review of the restaurant or if you have any questions!