In the mood for some tipple after your visit to Chinatown? Kakurega The Lair is a new casual Japanese sake bar that opened its doors in December 2020.
The 50-seater bar spans three levels in the heart of Chinatown, along Smith Street. Tables are spaced relatively far apart from one another, guaranteeing you a cozy, intimate experience consisting of the twin pleasures of sake and yakitori. The dim lighting and wood-themed furniture adds to its inviting atmosphere.
Sake lovers will gravitate towards a seat on the second level, which displays an expansive collection of sake bottles. There are also four private rooms that can accommodate four to eight diners.
With sake taking the center stage at Kakurega The Lair, you can expect plenty of authentic Japanese bar bites ranging from zensai (starters), yushi yaki (skewer), sumi yaki (charcoal grilled ), age mono (deep-fried) and itame (sautéed) dishes.
Begin your evening tipple with a trio of Eihire/ Sun-Dried Stingray Fin ($7.80), Kawaebi Karaage/ Deep-Fried Kawa Shrimp ($7.80), Kawahagi/ Dried Leather Jacket ($6.80). These appetite-whetting bar bites boast robust flavours that pair very well with alcohol. The Kawaebi Karaage / Deep-Fried Kawa Shrimp is especially addictive, with an intense umami flavour and crunchiness. The mouthfeel of the Eihire/ Sun-Dried Stingray Fin and Kawahagi/ Dried Leather Jacket reminds me of bak kwa.
The classic Niwatori Karaage/ Deep-Fried Chicken with Sesame Dressing ($6.80) with juicy, tender chicken is not to be missed at Kakurega The Lair. A pinch of lemon juice, and a dollop of Japanese Kewpie mayo elevates this simple, but mouthwatering dish!
The Shime Saba Aburi/ Flame-Seared Cured Mackerel ($10.80) was my pick of the night. Perfectly seared, with torched skin encased around tender and delicate fish meat that melts in your mouth.
From Kakurega’s selection of charcoal flamed grilled items, comes the titillating Hotate Mentai/ Scallop with Mentai Sauce ($6.80). The sweetness of the plump, juicy scallop, paired with the intense layer of mentai sauce, makes for a mouthwatering combination that will have you craving more.
The Gyu Tataki/ 230g Meltique Beef with Garlic Chips ($18.80) is one dish that is set to turn heads with its inviting aroma that wafts towards you right before it hits your table. The thin slices of beef pair rather well with the garlic chips, which are not too overpowering.
No night out at an izakaya is complete without a fair share of skewers.
For starters, the Apsara Bacon/ Asparagus Wrapped in Bacon ($3.80) is highly recommended, with its palatable pairing of smoky bacon with juicy asparagus. Not to be forgotten is the Buta Enoki/ Enoki Mushroom Wrapped in Pork ($3.80), another common fixture on any izakaya’s menu.
The Tori Momo/ Chicken Thigh ($3.80) is another izakaya staple that is guaranteed to disappear from your table as quickly as it is served. I love how succulent the meat is, with the smokiness elevating it!
Another delightful skewer is the Chashu Ringo Sauce/ Pork Belly with Apple Sauce ($6.80). The apple sauce adds a touch of sweetness to the pork belly, which melts ever so perfectly on your taste buds.
Last but not least, indulge in some Mozzarella Chizu Maki/ Creamy Mozzarella Wrapped in Beef Short Plate ($6.80), which yields gooey mozzarella for that sought-after #cheesepull. This is by far one of the heavier (and so delicious!) skewers on the menu.
With its intimate setting and expansive bar menu, Kakurega The Lair is a haven for those seeking a spot of after-work respite. Those spoilt for choice can opt for Kakurega Course Sets ($68 – $98++), which pairs the best of their popular grilled items and skewers.
Address: 12 Smith Street, Singapore 058926
Nearest MRT: Chinatown NE4/ DT19
Monday to Saturday: 5pm – 10.30pm
Closed on Sunday
Contact: +65 6223 0102