Japanese sandos seem to be in vogue these days, with cafes and restaurants alike offering their take on the popular convenience store snack. One such place, Hello Arigato, recently opened its doors along Upper Thomson Road.
Opened by the team behind hipster stalwart The Refinery, Hello Arigato is already seeing snaking queues for its thick sandos and Japanese-inspired treats.
The alfresco area, which consists of benches and stools doubling as makeshift “tables”, is best for enjoying Upper Thomson Road’s bustling weekend atmosphere. You can also people-watch from the storefront in a way that’s almost reminiscent of Vietnam’s cafe scene! I recommend a cool beverage like the Iced Dirty Matcha with Coffee ($8) to help fight the relentless outdoor heat.
For light bites, you can’t go wrong with the Hello Kombu Tater Tots ($13). Lightly fried to a crisp, these bite-sized tater tots are ideal to snack on, though they do break a little easily. The real star of the show, though, is the nori mayo that gives the tater tots the rich, creamy, umami finish it needs.
For mains, you can choose from a variety of sandos, donburi, and pasta. Do be prepared to wait if you’re gunning for one of Hello Arigato’s sandos, though, as every order is prepared fresh with a minimum wait time of 15 minutes. Personal experience? I waited for up to an hour for mine and was positively hangry by the time those thick slabs reached our table.
The Gyu Sando ($26) is the most popular choice among diners, with almost every table having at least one serving of it. It’s also the priciest on Hello Arigato’s menu. The medium-rare 160g Angus Beef Striploin, which is tucked between two crispy slices of Japanese milk bread, oozes with that beef-forward flavour with every bite. That slab of steak, complimented by the sweeter notes of the homemade teriyaki sauce, is worth the 15-minute stipulated wait, though it could use a touch of seasoning to really bring out that medium rare goodness.
There’s a fair bit of potential for Hello Arigato, if the team can overcome the operational hiccups that come with running a small space that has become pretty popular in a short span of time. And with the newly-opened Upper Thomson a hop and skip away, there’s no excuse to not head over and explore this charming neighbourhood.
Address: 227 Upper Thomson Road, Singapore 574359
Nearest MRT: Upper Thomson TE8
Tuesday to Friday: 10am – 4pm (last order at 3pm), 6pm – 9pm (last order at 8.30pm)
Saturday and Sunday: 10am – 4pm (last order at 3pm)
Contact: +65 8772 3778
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