Friday, July 13, 2007

Review: Botan

I seem to have gone into Japanese overload of late but well, it is my favourite thing to eat when I'm not eating at home. This is a post about a little place in China Square, where my friends gathered to welcome home one of our college friends. This happens to be one of his favourite places and having eaten there twice now, I can definitely say I understand why he feels it has a great blend of quality and value.

I'm really particular about Japanese restaurants and here's why. Singapore is just so blessed to have an involved Japanese community and so much choice in Japanese food that I just don't see why we should or have to be eating the crappy stuff. Japanese restaurants are ubiquitous here, which to me, means Singaporeans have no excuse for not being particular about the freshness, value and service in Japanese places and should be all the more on the look-out for places that emerge from this list as particularly special in all those regards.

Botan is in the courtyard area of China Square, just opposite the banker-dominated Kazbar and Oosters. The entrance isn't that large so you could conceivably walk right by it, although the Raffles Place crowd has definitely caught on, there is a healthy line out the door every lunch time.

The decor isn't spectacular, the floor is tiled and the tables heavy and wooden, the crockery generic. This isn't a place you come to for mood, or lighting but the food more than makes up for the dining experience.

The last time I came here, I had the Kaisen Don, which is an unusual combination of rice, salmon sashimi and ikura (salmon roe), with some greens and a liquid yam sauce with a bit of garlic and soya sauce mixed in. This is still my favourite thing to have here and for a $17 set (with miso soup and dessert) it's not a bad deal.

This time though, we had my friend to order for us and more people, so we shared a whole bunch of rolls. This is the inside-out tempura roll, california roll, the soft-shell crab roll and the tuna roll.

All of them were really good- fat, full and juicy on the inside, yet still dry on the outside.

We also had yakitori, which was surprisingly cheap, about $4 a plate. This isn't my favourite Japanese food, so I don't know if the flavour is worth it though I would assume it was at least not bad.

We had matcha ice creams with azuki beans to round off the meal. All in all, very satisfying, convenient and reasonable a meal. This will definitely be one of my staples in town to come back to!

36 Pekin St #01-01
Singapore 048766
Tel : 6536-4404

Food: 4/5
Service: 3.5/5
Ambience: 3/5
Location: 5/5

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