Written by Shereen Woo, Photography by Nelson Lee
Irodori is a simple and chic-looking Japanese restaurant that promises good food at decent prices. Expect quality food – to be sure, we are excluding the leagues of Shinji and Aoki – from their a la carte buffet menu of Japanese cuisine mainstays. Conveniently located at Havelock Road, it is only a short journey to travel from school if you have cravings to satisfy.
We started with the complimentary Ebi Mentai Mayo (grilled tiger prawn). A pity this dish cannot be ordered again because it was one of the more noteworthy dishes, grilled to goodness. For a few fleeting moments of eating this, I had the sudden thought that mayo should used everywhere.
The buffet menu has a wide variety of choices and some of the dishes you have to order include the Sashimi Moriawase. The beautifully plated sashimi includes a mixture of Shake (salmon), Maguro (tuna), Hamachi (yellow tail), Mekajiki (sword fish), Tako (octopus) and Tai (snapper). They give very generous cuts of the sashimi which is fresh and smooth. Waiting time for this dish will be longer on crowded days because everyone will be ordering sashimi (which is the main point of a Japanese buffet after all). Kudos to the tako. I had many slices that were glossily tender and filled with briny sweetness while a few did fall a bit below that.
We had the Green Tea Tofu which was an interesting appetizer. It was light and silky, topped with fish roe and a rain of fried tempura batter. It marked a refreshing start to the buffet.
There’s no way we would pass up the chance to have a simple Chawanmushi. Intensely savory, smooth, custardy, you could pick out the use of a really rich dashi or chicken stock. All the better when it was pouring outside at that time.
You should also try the Te-Maki (handroll). We had the soft shell crab te-maki and the combination of crispy seaweed and delectable filling was a nice balance that was not too heavy. The deep fried crab was not limp, unlike at other places, and was a slightly deeper shade of copper than the light gold.
One is simply spoilt for choice at Irodori with items ranging from Yaki Mono (grill dishes) to Menrui/Gohan Mono (soba/rice) and even Age Mono (deep fried dishes) such as age gyoza and age dashi tofu.
Service will be slower on crowded days and the chefs will be rushing to meet the overwhelming orders. One has got to be patient and conquer the buffet at a leisurely pace. Despite the inevitable wait, the astounding number of choices available at an affordable price makes Irodori a buffet worth your time and stomach.
382 Havelock Road
Riverview Hotel #03-01
Tel: (65) 67372002 (reservation preferred)
Lunch: 11:30 AM – 2:30 PM
Dinner: 6:00 PM – 10:30 PM
Lunch and Dinner: $35++ (adult)