Monday, December 19, 2016

Japan Rail Cafe @ Tanjong Pagar Centre - Unique Place For Japanese food

I've always been interested in Japan, both as an investment choice and also their culture and food. Me and my girlfriend went down to this new cafe called Japan rail café. We have always been a fan of Japanese food from sushi to sashimi and ramen. There are so many Japanese food to choose from in Singapore but I would say Japan Rail Café is the most unique of them all.

Japan Rail café has an interesting concept. It is not your normal neighbourhood Japanese restaurant. Firstly, they don't have sushi. Secondly, they don't have ramen. You might be thinking what kind of Japanese Café is this without all the mainstream Japanese dishes?

Here is a sneak peak of their menu:

As you can see, the menu consist of mostly Japan western style of food such as burgers. They also have rice bowls which is eaten quite uniquely. I've never eaten a Jap rice bowl like this before. I will elaborate on this in awhile.

Before I go into the details of the food, let me give you some details of Japan Rail Cafe. This cafe is actually opened by East Japan Railway Company (JR East). The new travel themed café is located on the level 1 of Tanjong Pagar Centre, the tallest building connected to Tanjong Pagar MRT Station.

Aiming to promote travel to Japan, JAPAN RAIL CAFE will provide Japan lovers with a one stop Japan-like experience including the latest Japanese products such as trendy items and convenient rail ticketing service for Japan rail passes. It will also serve as a platform to communicate unique information to Singaporeans on the less known travel destinations in Japan.

The cafe is quite cosy and not too big. It is really ideal for couples on a date as well as family and friends hanging out. I manage to talk to the owner of this cafe and found out the concept behind it. The unique point of the cafe is the menu changes every month with different theme for each month. For the month of December, they featured the place in Japan called Tohoku. Never heard it before? That was the purpose for Japan Rail Cafe to introduce less known places in Japan to promote travelling to these places.

The menu is designed in newspaper format. In it are interesting facts of the featured place in Japan such as the popular foods, the scenery and sights which can be seen there. I looked through the newspaper menu and found quite a lot of scenic places in Tohoku to visit. You can find the place on Google and see how beautiful the place is. Tohoku is actually between Tokyo and Sapporo (Hokkaido).

Now, for the food, I ordered their recommended "The Ultimate ABC burger" while my girlfriend got the Twin Flavoured Crispy Chicken Don. A.B.C in the burger stands for Avocado, Bacon and cheddar cheese.

The Ultimate ABC burger

The Ultimate ABC burger

The burger's patty is actually 160g of juicy Wagyu beef. To me, the burger paid attention to details and was cooked near to perfection. Wagyu beef is known to be very soft and it is different from normal beef. I've tried other Wagyu beef before and sadly this was not the best Wagyu beef I've tried but overall, it tasted really good with the cheese, avocado and bacon.

The bread was very special and one of the best bread I've every eaten before. See how soft the bun is in the picture. I was wondering why the bread tasted so good and I realised they used Asanoya's original soft buns. This is a 80+ year old Japanese bakery which is known to make one of the finest bread in the world.

The portion was really big and I couldn't finish the wedges which were the sides for the dish. They probably had about 15 pieces of wedges on the plate which was too filling after eating the burger. The sides can be customised and you can choose from other sides such as fries, or soup. If wedges is too filling for you, maybe the soup will go along well with the huge burger.

Twin Flavoured Crispy Chicken Don

For my girlfriend. she had this Crispy chicken dish which was also very huge! She is a fan of fried chicken especially KFC popcorn chicken so this dish appealed to her. The whole chicken on the plate covered all the rice below. I manage to try some and the chicken was fried nicely and not dry at all. The rice was of very good quality Japanese rice too.

The dish is no ordinary fried chicken dish. If you see in my picture, there is a tea pot behind the bowl. This tea port is not for drinking tea but to go along with the rice bowl. In it is some rich soup which was quite tasty when poured into the rice. The right way to eat is to only pour the soup into the rice after eating halfway so we get to try the rice with and without soup.

Soup in the tea pot

My girlfriend was impressed with the elegance of the dish with the presentation and special way to eat it. They also had a small plate of sesame seeds, seaweed and fish roe to go with the rice. Delicious!!

Pouring the soup into the rice bowl

Mixing the small plate in
Our dishes for the night

For drinks, my girlfriend had the Kuromitsu Kinako Latte and I had the Uji-Maccha Latte. The Kuromitsu Kinako Latte as described in the menu is a transformation of Japanese sweets into latte using Kuromitsu (black honey) and Kinako (soybean powder). For the Uji-Maccha latte, it is basically maccha tea or green tea which we more commonly know it as. I tried the tea and it had a very rich flavour which I really like a lot.

Uji-Maccha Latte
Kuromitsu Kinako Latte

After having a nice meal, me and girlfriend headed to the front section of the cafe to see the retail stuff on sale and I also noticed they do sell various Japan travel tickets there such as the Japan rail pass (JR pass) and even Disneyland Tokyo tickets are sold there.

Japan Rail models

Japan Food and drinks for sale

Some unique bags for sale. Don't be deceived by the traditional looks of it. As what I heard, some Japanese woman have to wait a few months just to get the bag

Interesting cloths which can be framed up in a photo frame. You can buy different cloths to change the it in the frame

Japan railway line in the cafe

Here's where you can buy your Japan rail pass

Some clothes for sale. Look ordinary but costs hundreds of dollars per piece

Cloths in photo frame again

Some gifts for sale

Tourist brochures for Japan

Explaining which pass to get if you're travelling in Japan

Tokyo Disneyland tickets are sold here as well

Application forms for JR pass
Overall, it was a good experience with friendly staff and good environment in the cafe. I felt they paid close attention to details and make sure guests have an enjoyable time in the cafe with good food and ambience. Thanks to Japan Rail Café for inviting us to try out their food.

If you love Japan too, why not drop by this place to experience it yourself. The menu and theme changes every month so do check out their Facebook page here to see what new things they have in store.

Opening Hours:
Mon – Sat: 11am to 9pm
Sun & PH: 11am to 8pm

Japan Rail Pass Counter: 11am-8pm daily

Tanjong Pagar Centre, Level 1
5 Wallich Street, #01-20 Tanjong Pagar Centre,
Singapore 078883

Directions: Alight at Tanjong Pagar MRT Station (Green Line EW15) and enter Tanjong Pagar Centre B2 directly in front of the fare gate. Take the escalator up to level 1 and the cafe is located just outside the building on your left.

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