Before it was a Korean restaurant haunt, it was haven for Japanese izakaya and fancy kappo restaurants. These days the Japanese restaurants are mainly on the Neil Road and Tras Street areas.
Say Konichiwa to the Ryu Taro – ‘The Son of The Dragon’ – which features a secret yakitori restaurant tucked upstairs. With a dark, swanky lounge decked out in carpeted floors and posh sofas, you’ll think that it is just another speakeasy lounge and bar.
Head upstairs, and it unveils a hidden yakitori restaurant where grilled goodness is fired up by chefs over binchotan charcoal.
We started with some bar bites. What was really interesting was the たたみいわし Tatami Iwashi, which is sardine fry pressed into a mat, dried and the grilled. Just like eating the 10¢ cuttlefish we used buy when we were a kid at the street corner mama store. The mayonnaise was not Kewpie, so I skipped it.
The two favourites of ours were the enoki wrapped with bacon and leek wrapped with bacon as there is the nice saltiness from the pork complementing with the mushrooms and leek. The chicken wings and tsukune (chicken meatballs) were also delicious. We had others but they were not memorable.
The grilled squid was competently done, but it went cold very quickly even though the AC in the place was actually quite weak. The room became stuffy very quickly because of the design of these old pre-war shophouses. There’s only windows in front (all sealed up) and no other ventilation, which was a rather odd place to put an open kitchen.
I could not taste the difference between the two. I find the normal beef to be tastier.
When we were young, corn was served this way. Now you can only get them in an izakaya.
Ambience on the second floor was really nice, authentic cost Japanese feel to it. The server and manager/owner were very attentive as well, topping up our hot ocha regularly. Food was ok and reasonably priced. A good spot for that after-office drinks and snacks.
Ryu Taro Yakitori & Izakaya Bar
51A Neil Rd, Singapore 088829
Tel : +65 6767 9966
Visited Mar 2023
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