Yokowa is a new Japanese fine dining restaurant in the Tanjong Pagar area that specialises in Kaiseki style food. Kaiseki is a very traditional Japanese multi-course meal that focuses on using fresh seasonal ingredients which are carefully prepared to enhance the natural flavours and are then beautifully presented.
Their menu consists of lunch bento sets ($18 – $28) and dinner set menus ($88 – $118) or you can order a la carte where you can choose from a variety of meat and seafood dishes, sashimi and other typical Japanese dishes such as tempura, udon and nabe (Japanese hotpot). They also have a small selection of desserts available as well as Japanese beer, sake and other drinks.
For their lunch bento sets, there are 3 different types. You can choose either the Matsu set ($28), Take set ($28) or if you want a lighter meal then you could choose the Ume set ($18). The Matsu and Take set both include 6 different side dishes, daily okowa (Japanese traditional steamed glutinous rice with various healthy ingredients) and miso soup and the Ume set has just 3 side dishes, daily okowa and miso soup. You can also order tempura and sashimi with your set at a price that is cheaper than what it is normally on the a la carte menu.
For lunch there last week I had the Take set and the friend that I went with ordered the Matsu set. The Matsu set and Take set have 3 of the same dishes: hijiki seaweed and burdock root salad, dashimaki tamago (egg roll cooked in stock) and simmered vegetables. The Take set also has deep fried salmon in breadcrumbs, grilled aubergine and stewed pork with carrots and potato. The Matsu set has agedashi tofu (deep fried tofu in sauce), karaage (deep fried chicken) and grilled cod. Yokowa has 4 different types of daily okowa and on the day that we went the daily okowa that came with the lunch bentos was the sansai daily okowa (Japanese traditional steamed glutinous rice with wild vegetables).
I enjoyed my Take set, everything was fresh and cooked simply to bring out the natural flavours of the ingredients. It was more than enough to keep my hunger at bay until dinner. The hijiki seaweed and burdock root salad was crunchy and tasty, the dashimaki tamago was incredibly moist and soft, the simmered vegetables were lightly cooked and were crunchy and sweet, the deep fried salmon in breadcrumbs was a little bit dry but nice with the tonkatsu sauce (Japanese barbecue sauce) that came with it, the grilled aubergine was slightly crunchy and came in a light dashi broth (Japanese fish stock) and the stewed pork was tender and again came in a light dashi broth cooked together with carrots and potatoes. All-in-all, although simple, it was a very healthy, homely and well-balanced meal. My friend also really enjoyed her Matsu set.
Service at Yokowa is the typical polite service that you would expect in any Japanese restaurant in Japan. The ambience in the restaurant is quite relaxing but very quiet with music being played intermittently when we were there. I’m pretty sure the other customers heard our entire conversation lol. The restaurant is divided over two floors with tables on the 2nd floor separated by noren (traditional Japanese fabric dividers) which gives a sense of privacy and there are counter seats on the ground floor.
If you’re looking for a traditional Japanese restaurant and kaiseki style food then I would recommend going to Yokowa and although at the higher end of the price margin in terms of restaurants in Singapore, it is still much more affordable than other similar restaurants here.
Address: 21 Duxton Road, Singapore 089487 (Nearest MRT: Tanjong Pagar / Outram Park / Chinatown)
Tel: 9770 2122
Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday: 11.30am – 3pm (last order: 2.30pm), 5pm – 12am (last order 10.30pm)
Hope you’ve enjoyed my Yokowa review, please feel free to leave a comment below with your own review of the restaurant or if you have any questions!