When you think about Central mall at Clarke Quay, perhaps you might recall quirky shops with artsy products and the soho. You might also recall how quiet the mall usually is – foot traffic within the mall is slow. Many shops usually do not get the chance to entertain many customers. But with Mitsuba, it has a happy problem of entertaining full houses almost every meal time.

What exactly is this hype all about?

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Mitsuba Japanese Restaurant is well-known for their thick cut sashimi as well as their a la carte buffet. Offering over 120 items on their menu, the variety of tastes offered is astounding. From sushi to tempura to udon, there is a pick for everyone to discover and try. They hope to be the venue for premium Japanese foods at affordable prices. Through empowering diners with many choices, this becomes a dining experience to remember.

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The restaurant has a relaxed and casual ambience. No matter if you are seated by the riverside window or the keyaki booths, the atmosphere is welcoming and comfortable. Service staff are quick and efficient too; no hesitation to get your order sheets or refill your glasses of water. We felt very pleasantly welcomed, and were able to ease into our seats to enjoy our food.

In Singapore, most a la carte buffet places serve sub par food items – cold and stale – at exorbitant food prices. They prioritise efficiency and dismiss quality. We were relieved that Mitsuba is not one of those places, and surprisingly, every order is made fresh in the kitchen upon order.

With over a hundred dishes to choose from, here are some items that really caught our eye and satisfied our taste buds.

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Known for their thick cut sashimi, we just had to try it. Besides the most popular salmon sashimi, there are also tuna, octopus and swordfish among others. Chewy and flavourful, the textures are smooth and the slices are easy to bite apart. The serving is generous and you do not get the fishy taste in your mouth. The freshness pampers you, and we think all sashimi lovers should try this.

One suggestion is really to have them with soya sauce, wasabi and the typical Japanese pickled condiments. They enhance the taste of the sashimi even further.

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Another must-try is definitely the hotate mentaiyaki that is served complimentary. Fresh scallops served hot with a layer of mentaiyaki on top of them. Mildly sweet with a soft texture, it is bouncy and goes well with the savoury roe. Need we say more?

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Pidan tofu is one dish that is more unique to Mitsuba. It is cold tofu served with century egg and roe. Even though it might sound like a surprising combination, they actually complement each other. The century egg is gives the tofu more varied flavour, and is not too overwhelming. The creamy and smooth texture melts while the roe has flavourful bursts. Definitely an interesting dish to try.

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Their sushi choices are pretty fantastic too. Our favourites are the sake mayo ball and the ebi tempura. The sake mayo ball is basically sushi rice wrapped with salmon sashimi topped with mayonnaise and roe. The creamy texture and sweetness goes well with the sticky rice. On the other hand, the ebi tempura is the best of both worlds – getting crispy fried tempura to go with the softness of rice, sesame seeds and seaweed.

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There are also several options for food items that are not specifically Japanese in nature. Try these chicken wings – grilled or fried – to go with your drinks. They make great bar snacks and are good finer foods to wind down after a proper meal. Having these hot wings with sake is a tasty option.

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From the grilled menu to simmered food to raw seafood, the spread of food is generally tasty. We tried plenty of dishes and never regretted having a bite of everything presented before us. One outstanding element is the delicious way sesame is incorporated to some dishes to enhance flavour, and smell. It definitely brings Asian delight to a whole new level.

The whole experience is wholesome, and well, we are convinced that this is the one stop solution to all Japanese cravings.

Mitsuba Japanese Restaurant is open all days and is situated on the third floor of Central mall. Do note that a reservation would probably be a good idea since it has gained in popularity over its two years, and full houses are normal occurrences. For more information, check our their opening hours and menus here.

This is an invited tasting. We thank Mitsuba Japanese Restaurant for their kind hospitality.

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Photography Credits: Darren ‘Merovign’ Tan

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