Minori @ UE Square

After much "planning", I finally manage to meet my university mates for a buffet session. This time at Minori. Apparently, Minori Dining and Sake Bar is opened by former owners of Hanabi. Thus the similarity of in their menu.

Minori mean harvest in Japanese.

Chefs preparing themselves for dinner rush.

The place is rather open and can be rather noisy when later into the service hours. Great for group gathering, but not so for couples. The place is dimly lit and rather cozy. Be sure to book in advance or arrive earlier, as the place can be really pack especially peak hours.

Dining Cutlery

I love the dining cutlery. Very exquisite ceramics and really brings the authentic Japanese feeling out. I'm rather tired of seeing the same black bowls with red insides or bento boxes most commonly found.

Hiyayakko (Chilled Bean Curd)

This is an appetizer already on the table. Its just a simple dish of chilled tofu sitting on a base of soy sauce. Really soft and smooth. The bits of spring onion brings out the subtle flavors of the bean curd. Great light dish to start the buffet with.

Morokyuri Miso (Cucumber with Soya Bean Paste)

Morokyuri Miso is simply chilled Japanese Cucumbers with a small lump of miso paste. You either love or hate this dish. The miso has a sharp, strong fermented taste. Combine with chilled, super crunchy Japanese zucchini is the perfect match. Think pickled vegetables but which salted fermented version.

Kaisen Sarada (Seafood Salad)

This seafood salad is a composite of salmon, yellow tail and shrimp sashimi top on a fresh bed of fresh greens. Great way to make sashimi fans to incorporate daily intake of greens into their diet.

Momo Sarada (Peach Fresh Salad)

The peach salad consist of peach on top of greens mixed with teriyakki sauce and drizzle with sesame seed oil. Surprisingly. The sweetness of the peach and the slight salty sweet of the teriyakki sauce goes in harmony. The hint of sesame oil isn't overpowering either, just enough to give it an oriental kick.

Chawanmushi (in front) / Kabocha Chawanmushi (at back)
(Steamed Egg Custard / Pumpkin Steamed Egg Custard)

King of Chawanmushi. Savory, smooth and creamy at the same time. The difference between the normal and pumpkin version is just the addition of a pumpkin puree on the surface. Bring sweet and savory to the party. Both chawanmushi are filled with ginko nuts, big portions of crab sticks and heaps of mushrooms, in fact more ingredients then steamed egg. Making a feast of flavors.

Shake Sashimi (Salmon)

Maguro & Hamachi Sashimi (Tuna & Yellow Tail)

Mix Platter of Salmon, Tuna and Yellow Tail

The sashimi has some plus and minus. The salmon batch that day wasn't at its best. Fishy and limb flesh was rather disappoint. The tuna and yellow tail in the other hand were fresh. Firmed and sweet.

California, Ebi and Spider Maki
(Crabstick, avocado and cucumber; Soft Shell Crab; Tempura Prawn)

Though an improvement compared to Hanabi's version of their makies. I felt that the makies were rather messy and not firm, still breaking when lifted from the plate. As if they break upon gravitational pull. Obvious that maki isn't their strengths. Nevertheless the taste is still passable.

Spider Temaki (Deep Fried Soft Shell Crab)

My friend was rather disappointed on ordering this. Its as if the soft shell crab reanimated and crawled its way out. That said. The pairing of thousand island sauce better than the common mayo.

Tare Tsukune (Chicken Meat Ball)
Shake Teriyaki (Salmon with Sweet Soy Sauce)
Saba Shioyaki (Mackerel with Salt/Grated Radish)

Now this is where Minori really shines. Minori offers a large variety of grilled items and most are great hits items that cannot be missed. Take their chicken balls for example. These guys are huge and just plucking one from the skewer and stuffing yourself is a plain joy to eat. The salmon teriyaki is succulent and juicy with slight grilled marks bring smokiness of the grill to the party. However, the salmon suffered under the lack of a crisp skin which would make this a great dish. Similarly the grilled mackerel also suffers the same fate of the salmon. I prefer the Hanabi retention. This is cause properly due to the suddenly spike of diners during the peak dinner hours.

Buta To Garlic (Pork Belly with Garlic Seasoning)
Tori Kawa Shio (Chicken Skin)
Tori Kimo Shio (Chicken Liver)
Uzura Shio (Quail Eggs)
Ika Shio (Red Squid)
Sunagimo Shio (Chicken Gizzard)

Another item that is worth to be mention. The Buta To Garlic really stole my heart. The meat is marinated thoroughly with garlic and grilled to just tenderness. Hot item. Even all my friends gave thumbs up for this. The quail eggs is really nice, but if the present of teriyaki sauce would enhance this dish a lot more. Ika Shio is rather subjective based on the consumer. The squid was well grilled, but present of slimy guts and hard "bone" is a really put off for me. As I don't really take to inlets, I shall not comment on them. However, I felt that the chicken skin wasn't grilled crispy enough.

Unagi Kabayaki (Grilled Eel with Special Sweet Sauce)

I adore unagi. The poor eel (still alive) is split into half while butterflying it with a single stroke through the middle, much like a samurai slash. The eel is then painstakingly grilled and coated with layers of teriyaki sauce. This dish in my opinion is one of the dishes that truly distinguish Japanese barbecues. Minori offers unlimited serving of this. Unlike other places which you have to fill your stomach with unwanted rice from maki or temaki, in order to savor that tiny strip of unagi. Their unagi is also neither burned (teriyaki sauce is sweet, thus easily burned) or slapped with too much sauce.

Tenpura Moriwase
(Assorted Tempura Prawns, Fish, Vegetables)

I prefer Minori's tempura compared to Hanabi's version. Firstly it is lighter and secondly the batter is more uniform and surrounds the fried items beautifully. Their sauce is stronger too. Thus appealing more to my taste buds.

Ebi Tenpura (Prwan Tempura)

We couldn't refuse another order. I enjoy how Japanese chefs present their dishes with elegance. Prawns are carefully stack in a heap, reminds me of the Eiffel tower.

Tako Yaki (Soft Octopus Ball)

Commonly a street food in japanese. This simple dish is in such appeal to people that curiously Tako Yaki manages to crawl its well into restaurant menus. I love their mouth sized portions. Just big enough to munch. One of the better Tako Yaki I've tried with huge tako chunks. I would greatly welcome more bento flakes. Do be careful not to scald yourself. Its very hot inside.

Ika Karaage (Baby Cuttlefish)

I prefer this compare to their grilled counterparts. The small skewers make it really nice as a snack and bar finger food. Goes really well with beer.

Ebi Ko-n (Prawn with Corn Flakes)

Was expecting a whole prawn encrusted with corn flakes, but Ebi Ko-n falls through with more bread crumbs instead of corn flakes on the prawn dish. Average.

Shishamo Furai (Pregnant Capelin in Bread Crumbs)
Fat. Heaps of roe. Grease bomb. Enough said. Love it or hate it.

Tonkatsu (Pork Loin Chop in Bread Crumbs)

The portion in Minori is bigger compared to Hanabi and they generously slice it in thicker strips. Also the meat is more juicy and tender. Though not the bad I've tasted.

Tori Katsu (Chicken Chop in Bread Crumbs)

I dont know what to make of this. The chicken katsu was a plain and unappealing. Doesn't even look like a chicken chop. No comments on taste as its was all snap up before I could grab a piece. The ugly nature of it, prevented me from ordering a second round.

Tori Karaage (Marinated Chicken Pieces)

Another recommended item on the menu. The bited sized pieces of chicken is one of the better items on the menu. There is even a slice of lemon to add a bit acidic to reduce the oil. Seasoning is just nice and neither is it too oily.

Jagaimo Korokke (Potato Croquette)

Upon biting into its crisp exterior the creamy interior welcomes you. There is even bits of corn. Beware though. It can be really hot.

Tori Teppan (Chicken with Teriyaki Sauce)

I must emphasize that you have to order this dish at Minori, else your visit to Minori would be for nothing. Initially I thought this was pork, but was corrected by my friend. The chicken is cubed and stirred fried with teriyaki sauce. The caramelizing of the teriyaki sauce and tender chicken explodes in your mouth. There is even crisp slices of garlic sprinkled on top. Yum.

Gyuniku Shogayaki (Beef with Special Sauce)

The beef stir fry is also well receipt by us. Meat is tender and very thinly sliced, sucking up all the sauce. However, I hope that they would slice the strips longer instead. The short strips are a chore to pick up.

Shake Wafu Teppan (Salmon with Special Sauce)

I must admit. I'm sure you are as equally shock at what this dish is. As I was extremely skeptic when this was brought in front of me. First impression is that someone had a drink to many an vomited. After enduring a while, a few of us brave souls decide to take the plunge. Though visually unappealing, the Shake Wafu Teppan was rather nice. I still can't get the imagine out of my mind. You may want to blindfold yourself while eating this.

Katsu Kare (Pork Curry Rice)

Rather average. Tonkatsu with curry and rice. My friend commented that there wasn't enough curry.

Ninniku Yaki Meshi (Garlic Fried Rice)

Their garlic fried rice was rather disappointing. The lack of garlic fragrant and burnt rice makes this very disappointing.

Hiyashi Ramen (Chilled Noodles)
No comments. Didn't sample this.

Ton Shiru (Bean Paste Soup with Pork Belly)

My god. The miso soup is so very good. Its a great way to end the meal. Some warm and homely thick stock soup. The soup is very welcoming and warms the body. It was so good that I ordered Asari Shiru (Bean Paste Soup with Clams) also equally good, but lightly in nature. Only complain was that they could be a bit more generous on the pork belly and clams.

Edamame (Japanese Peas)

We carry on talking after the heavy meal. I wasn't that fill. Thus order a cup of edamame. They are a great health snack and rich in abscisic acid, protein, calcium, vitamin A and B.

Overall. Minori is a great experience. Slightly better than Hanabi. In comparison with the two, fairs better in grilled items. The service may suffer slightly during the peak hours, but are still exceptable.

81 Clemenceau Avenue
#03-15/16 UE Sqaure (Shopping Mall)
Singapore 239917
Tel: 6737 3353
Website: http://www.minori.com.sg/index.html