Shin Kushiya prides itself on serving Japanese style grilled skewers, or “kushiyaki” (kushi meaning ‘skewer’ and yaki meaning ‘grill’). You may be familiar with yakitori (grilled chicken skewers), a common izakaya bar snack. This restaurant offers much more than just that. From uzura tamago skewers (quail eggs with soy glaze) to their special foie gras skewers (goose liver with caramelised green apple) to gindara teriyaki skewers (Atlantic black cod fillet with teriyaki sauce), there is something for even the most adventurous of eaters.
I should probably mention that we visited this restaurant about a year ago when holidaying in Singapore. Sadly, after some research, I’ve discovered that this particular branch at Jem Shopping Mall is no longer in operation. However, since we liked what we ate and there are still existing Shin Kushiya outlets operating around the country, I am definitely happy to blog about our experience to let you know what the franchise has to offer, just in case you decide to venture out to try their food at their VivoCity outlet or Far East Square outlet (psst, there’s also one in Medan, Indonesia).
Kikumasamune Sake (S$11 per 125ml | S$20 per 250ml)
All of their skewers are grilled over Japan-imported binchō-tan (white charcoal), which is known to burn at a high temperature of up to 1,200°C. This imparts a crisp exterior to ingredients whilst sealing in their natural flavours and juices. Their Mixed Kushiyaki Set (S$18.80) offers a selection of buta bara (pork belly), tomato maki (cherry tomatoes wrapped in pork slices), black pepper yakitori (chicken), nikuzume shiitake (mushrooms stuffed with minced chicken) and ebi (tiger prawn) skewers. All their grilled sets come with an appetiser, rice, pickles, miso soup, salad and fruit. For under $20, I’d say it’s pretty darn worth it.
We also tried their Kimuchi Nabe Udon Set (S$20.80), Japanese claypot noodles in a spicy kimchi stock, served with two appetisers and fruit. You can get the noodles without the sides for S$17.60 (a good idea because the noodles alone could feed a small family). One thing I like about Shin Kushiya is that they offer so many other things, not just skewers. They have a range of soba dishes, Japanese pasta dishes, rice bowls, sushi sets, sashimi platters and various charcoal-grilled delicacies like their Sake Kabuto Shioyaki/Teriyaki (salmon head with sea salt/teriyaki, S$13.60). Their food presentation is superb.
They also have a huge dessert range. We had trouble deciding between the Yuzu Sherbet with Homemade Tofu Cheesecake (S$9.20), Umeshu Tiramisu (S$7.80) and Warabi Mochi (S$7.80). In the end, we went with the mochi, which entailed chewy squares of warabi (starch from the Japanese bracken fern) dusted with matcha powder, topped with black honey syrup and served with green tea ice cream. It was a good choice, but I think I’ll order their low-calorie tofu cheesecake next time.
In conclusion, Shin Kushiya makes a decent Japanese restaurant that offers an array of grilled skewers to snack on. Their skewers are everything you’d expect from a chain restaurant found in the middle of a suburban mall. The food will not blow your mind, but what they offer is good enough to pass for a quick weekend lunch date. A good experience for those wanting to try different types of skewers at one place. However, in my opinion, kushiyaki is best reserved as a bar food at an izakaya. Of course, they do make good snacks if you’re taking a quick break from your shopping. They also offer value-for-money lunch sets, various non-kushiyaki items like donburi rice bowls, noodle bowls and sushi platters, and a large range of sweet desserts to choose from.
#02-120, 1 Harbourfront Walk
Phone: 6275 8766
Opening hours: 11.30 am – 10 pm (Mon – Sun)
Far East Square
#01-01, 33 Pekin Street
Phone: 6438 8991
Opening hours: 11:30am – 3pm, 6pm – 11pm (Mon – Fri)