Travels with a Gourmet

a food lover's travels, memorable meals, culinary trials and gastronomic experiences

Counter seating with fresh produce on display

Finding a good restaurant in bustling Singapore isn’t difficult as there are many to go to.  We were eager to try one of the newly-opened ones at the Marina Bay Sands but opted for something completely different at the last minute as our son decided to come along and make our diner a deux to a diner a trois.

Akanoya Robatayaki at the Orchard Parade hotel is a counter-seating restaurant where all sorts of fish, meat, seafood and vegetables are cooked on a robata (a Japanese-style charcoal grill) right in front of the diners.  There are three large counter/display areas and we were seated at the corner of one making conversation much easier.
Robatayaki are an interactive dining experience.  There is no menu.  You choose your food from the produce on display and then the servers then call out your order very loudly while the chefs standing behind the counter, acknowledge each order as it’s shouted out – a very noisy but fun atmosphere. 
Some of the many little dishes we had

As soon as the orders are called out, the chef gets busy by picking out from the market-style display the ingredients he will need to cook.  We had asked for many different items, all grilled and mostly skewered, and decided to share them between us.  While we waited for the food to be grilled, we were served a small starter of lotus root and a slab of cold tofu.  Both were delicious and a good omen for what was to come.

Then the food starting coming.  There was tontoro kushi (slightly crispy yet juicy chunks of black pork),  tebasaki (chicken wings) and yaki tori (boneless chicken thighs), tori tsukune (ground chicken meatballs served with a raw egg yolk and soy sauce for dipping) and the shockingly expensive marbled melt-in-the-mouth wagyu beef.  For vegetables, we had  beinasu dengaku (miso-slathered aubergine), , satsumaimo (tiny sweet potatoes), peko rosu (tiny red-skinned onions).  For seafood there were a few kuruma ebi (Imperial prawns) and a hokkigai (extra large Japanese clam).  The food came in random order and were placed on top of a long-handled wooden paddle before being served directly from the grill to us.  Great fun, convenient and also piping-hot.  Several iced green teas later and we were done.  After a small plate of slice fruit, we reluctantly gave up our prime seats and left the restaurant.  Our wallets were much lighter, our bellies full and most importantly, umami was experienced.
___________________________
Akanoya Robatayaki
Ground floor, Orchard Parade Hotel
1 Tanglin road
Singapore
Telephone: +65 6732 1866
*Open daily for dinner from 6:30 till 1 a.m. (last orders at 12:30).
*Reservations highly recommended
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