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Just as how fashion trends seem to recycle and reinvent itself, the sluggish, old residential area of Tiong Bahru has renewed itself into possibly the hippest area—some say it’s the next Holland Village—what with the slew of new, edgy eateries and indie shops.



IKYU (pronounced ‘E-Q’), the most recent gastronomic addition along Yong Siak Street, juxtaposes against its surroundings with a sleek, modern shopfront for that endearing old-new vibe. Stepping into the restaurant, the bold, painted-over metal finishes continue through the industrial chic interiors—a simple yet contemporary philosophy that flows over into their menu as well.



The a la carte menu is neatly split into seven sections, with an additional Omakase option ($128)—a must for all respectable Japanese restaurants. There is an unfortunate lack of dinner sets at IKYU, but if diners arrive early, they can still enjoy the Happy Hour promotions (5.30pm-7.30pm).





The Grilled Edamame ($8.50) is the epitome of Executive Chef Takuma Seki’s (formerly Chef de Cuisine of Hide Yamamoto) modern, authentic Japanese approach at this new establishment. Intriguingly smokey, with a touch of salt coupled with a truffle twist, it also serves as a waistline-friendly alternative to the usual side of truffle fries.



Other starters include the subtle Wafu-marinated salmon Carpaccio ($16.50) and the decadent French foie gras flavoured in Miso ($18.50)—the buttery-smooth pieces just seem to melt in the mouth for an intensely rich delight, complemented by the mellow Miso seasoning.





Made from only the freshest, imported ingredients, something Chef Seki is very much particular about—IKYU imports their seafood three times a week, instead of the usual twice for most other restaurants—the affordable lunch sets will have regulars coming back for more.

The Daily special set ($25) presents an adroitly executed trio: wonderfully grilled, tender pork; crunchy, deep-fried octopus that pairs well with a dash of lemon; and two toasty spheres of roe-filled, charred goodness (mentaiko rice balls).



The Nabeyaki udon set ($25) teams an exquisite maki roll of the chef’s choice along with a steaming hot pot dish of springy udon noodles, vegetables, part crisp, part moist tempura ebi and a slightly poached egg—a that does well to give the dish an extra depth when broken and mixed.



Even if you aren’t a fan of that piquant flavour, grab yourself a portion of wasabi (Japanese horseradish). Freshly grated, the fine, pale green condiment releases a light aroma, and is actually more flavourful, with less of that spicy kick, than the usual paste forms outside. Who knows, you may just be a convert.



Part of the set, the chef spoils us with a generous platter of handsomely thick and rich Machya gelato ($6.50 a la carte), plump blueberries and a deliciously juicy slice of melon—imported, seasonal fruits from Japan ($15).



A Japanese meal is never complete without sake, and while it was barely Happy Hour, I was jocularly coerced into having a refreshingly light, chilled cup of Cherry Blossom sake. Paired with some Deep fried Sakura baby prawns ($8.50)—executed to a light crunch yet still full of flavour—that is excellent for picking at, I almost lost the motivation to peel myself off from their seats.



Without any set offerings for dinner, expect to fork out more for a scrumptious, fulfilling meal come evening. Reservations are recommended, though be warned that food may take a tad longer, especially with a bustling dinner crowd, though it earns points for its aesthetic interior and chill ambiance. While IKYU is clearly not perfect, it’s got many elements working in its favour.

Contact: IKYU
5 Yong Siak Street
Singapore 168643

Tel: +65 62239003 | Website

Operating hours:
Closed on Monday
Tues to Sun 11.30am-3pm, 5.30pm-11pm

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