Many have patronised Shokotsu Ten, with its bevy of Japanese F&B concepts since its opening at NEX, but how many have heard of RE&S, the regional food company behind it?
For its 30th anniversary, RE&S has launched a Mentaiko Madness menu at 4 of its restaurants: Ichiban Sushi, Men-ichi Japanese Restaurant, Kabe no Ana, and Tokyo Eater Pop-Up Store. Lovers of this spicy cod roe, can savour a whopping 21 umami packed dishes ranging from ramen to mochi pizza.
So, how much mentaiko can YOU handle?
Ichiban Sushi (now till 4 June 2018)
Probably the most classic of all mentaiko infused dishes, Ichiban Sushi’s Kaisen Mentai Roll ($13.80++) is a flavourful combination of crabstick, avocado and tobiko wrapped with salmon sashimi, and drizzled with flame-torched mentai mayo. A great side dish for sharing with fellow mentaiko buddies. Oishi!
For those with larger appetites, indulge in the Ishiyaki Mentai Chazuke Wazen Set ($21.90++). Comforting tastes await in the main dish, which is served in a hot stone bowl and best savoured with the hearty broth. Seaweed battered dory fish with Japanese tartar sauce and chawanmushi completes the meal.
Exclusive to this set, is Ichiban Sushi’s specially created Mentaiko Ice Cream. Love it or hate it, you definitely can’t deny the uniqueness of this dessert, which yielded flavours reminiscent of laksa.
Men-ichi Japanese Ramen (now till 4 June 2018)
Men-ichi keeps it simple with the Hakata Mentaiko Tonkotsu Ramen ($14.90). The generous addition of not one, but two chunks of mentaiko adds to the creamy richness of the pork bone and chicken broth! With its generous serving of noodles, cha shu, half-boiled egg, black fungus, red ginger strips, spring onions and seaweed, one can only imagine the sheer delight of slurping it all up on a rainy day.
Kabe no Ana (now till 2 July 2018)
What better addition to RE&S’ Mentaiko Madness, than the birthplace of mentaiko spaghetti itself, Kabe no Ana? Four new mentaiko creations will be gracing the tables of this popular Japanese -Italian fusion eatery.
The Mentaiko Gnocchi Set ($22.90++) is one of the more subtle offerings, as the mentaiko is infused into the spinach cream sauce. Paired with salmon pieces and garnished with chopped perilla leaves and ikura, the gnocchi, though pillowy soft, bordered on rich and certainly benefits from a squeeze of lemon juice to cut through all that richness.
The star of the day for us is the Mochi Mentaiko Pizza ($16.90). I’m not a huge fan of mochi, but man did this dish convert me! Unlike most mochi which tends to be too starchy, Kabe no Ana managed to hit the sweet spot of combining the thin crust with a delightfully chewy topping of mochi. It does not overwhelm the other elements of squid, prawns, and seaweed either, and the mentaiko mayo base added a satisfying, savoury touch.
Like Ichiban Sushi, Kabe no Ana’s mentaiko sets include two appetisers, Iberico Pork with Tomato Salsa and Rocket Arugula with Balsamic Glaze and Smoked Duck and Grapefruit Salad in Shoyu Dressing, as well as a drink of Ume Sparkling Soda, so prepare your appetites!
Tokyo Eater (now till 30 September 2018)
Located within Shokotsu Ten at nex, this pop-up store concept is leading the Mentaiko Madness charge with an entire menu dedicated to it!
The savoury punch of the Mentaiko Mazesoba ($12.80) ie enhanced by two generously sized chunks of mentaiko. While the salt lover in me delighting in slurping up every last drop of spicy cod roe that made its way into the noodles, cha shu, and bamboo shoots, some might find this is a tad salty. Balance it out with an onsen egg ($1.00).
My personal favourite is the Mentaiko Chazuke ($12.80 for chicken, $14.80 for salmon). Boasting perfectly cooked chicken or salmon topped with – you guessed it – mentaiko, and served over scrambled eggs and fluffy white rice, this dish spells both comfort and value for money. Had a hard time deciding whether to break up the mentaiko chunk or swallow it whole!
Still feeling peckish? Choose from a variety of side dishes at Tokyo Eater, including Mentaiko Chiuwa Isobe Age ($2.30), Mentai Mayo Cheese Imo Mochi ($2.30), and Mentai Mayo Cheese Croquette ($2.50). Pro tip: go for the mochi. Always. Go. For. The. Mochi.
Thanks for giving us a sneak peek at Mentaiko Madness, Sixth Sense PR!
Extra charges: GST and service charge for Ichiban Sushi, Men-ichi Japanese Restaurant, and Kabe no Ana