Sumiya Charcoal Grill Izakaya, Singapore


Category: Japanese

I have a feeling that one day I’m really going to regret having posted this. Sumiya Charcoal Grill Izakaya has been around for a while but I don’t think many people have discovered it yet – which is why I have feelings of both fear and excitement (which, I know, sounds a little extreme for feelings towards a restaurant but legit nonetheless); fear for when it gets popular, I’m not going to be able to get a seat for a long time to come, and yet, excitement, at how much potential Sumiya has.

181 Orchard Road, #12-02 Orchard Central, Singapore 238896, opens daily 12-3pm and 6.30-10.30pm

Sumiya is located right at the top most floor of Orchard Central – the rooftop, to be exact. I’m not even sure many people are aware that there’s this top floor because the lifts only go up to level 11, where Tung Lok Seafood Restaurant is situated, and from there you’d have to turn left and walk all the way to the end. Go around the corner and you’ll find a set of escalators that are otherwise pretty obscure, and that will lead you right to Sumiya‘s doorstep.

Damage: $$-$$$

I think Sumiya Charcoal Grill Izakaya possibly has one of the most ridiculous (in a good way) lunch sets in Singapore. The lunch sets are served daily (including weekends), and range from $15.80 for a Chicken Teriyaki Don to $58 for a King Kaisen Don which has a ridiculous amount of sashimi. The sets we had were about the $20 price range, and were of fantastic value, and just thinking about it is making me salivate. The grilled items, which are served based on a skewer count, are very popular and will spike your bill a little but are still competitively priced when compared with other charcoal grill places such as the ones at Cuppage Plaza.

To go: YES!!! (And soon…)

The food is incredible – sashimi slices were thick and fabulously fresh (just read on for the detailed review below), the tempura was also delicious, and everything was just- fantastic. Service was impeccable as well – they were friendly, attentive, and polite. Plus, there’s the great birds-eye view of Orchard and Somerset if you take a stroll on the balcony. Note to self: Go back ASAP.


Sumiya Charcoal Grill Izakaya Singapore Food Review

Sumiya has the feel of a laidback slight old-world market-style charm with wooden tables on unfinished metal legs and high chairs, which were surprisingly comfortable. The charcoal grill was being worked to our right as we came in through the entrance, and the staff nodded politely in welcome.

The Fish of the day Charcoal Grill Set ($16.80) was made from mackerel, and was fresh, coming off in flakes. The outside was grilled to a golden brown with the lightest crisp, and was cleanly seasoned with sea salt which supported the natural flavours through.

Sumiya Charcoal Grill Izakaya Singapore Food Review Blog

Assorted Tempura at Sumiya Charcoal Grill Izakaya Singapore Food Review Blog

The Assorted Tempura set ($17.80) was a generous serving of five prawns and vegetable tempura in the loveliest batter. It was served piping hot and held it’s crisp to the end of the meal, and was well complemented by the light but flavourful dipping sauce and a generous serving of freshly grated radish. They definitely didn’t stinge on the ingredients – the vegetable tempura was made from asparagus.

My dish was the Mix Bara Kaisen Don ($18.80) and when I saw it, I went wow, and the waitress couldn’t help but break into a smile at my enthusiasm for the dish. I mean, seriously, look at it-

Sumiya Charcoal Grill Izakaya Singapore Food Review Blog Mix Bara Kaisen Don

BAM! Heaps and heaps of thick juicy sashimi which were so fresh, with generous bits of avocado (!) and a mountain of ikura and roe. It tasted absolutely divine! Each set came with a salad, an appetiser, chawanmushi, japanese pickles, soup, and a green tea mochi (which I totally fell in love with). OMG is all I can say, my tastebuds were absolutely singing afterwards – to the top of my list!

Marutomi Shokudo, Monbetsu, Hokkaido, Japan


Category: Japanese

Marutomi Shokudo came highly recommended by the hotel’s front desk and was within walking distance from where we’d stayed. When we arrived at 1.30pm, there were at least five people already seated in the waiting area and two people waiting outside the door. Now, whenever my family gathers together and fondly recalls our trip to Hokkaido, Marutomi Shokudo would always be mentioned as one of the top 3 places we’d dined at.

5-6-1 Minato-Cho, Monbetsu City, Hokkaido, Japan, +81-158-24-1188

Located along the coast facing the Sea of OkhotskMarutomi is situated at the corner of a set of buildings and faces the fishing port where boats come in each morning with a dazzling array of seafood.

Marutomi Shokudo Monbetsu City Hokkaido Japan Food Review Travel Blog

Damage: $$

Mind- blown. Around $20 for a bowl of rice covered in a generous assortment of extremely fresh and thick sashimi slices ranging from salmon to scallops, it’s definitely a tough one to beat.

To go: Yes, definitely!

Monbetsu city is rather small with not a lot to see, but if you do pass by from Abashiri, Kitami or Sounkyo, Marutomi is more than worth your while. The seafood was incredibly, incredibly fresh, and the servings were very generous, although you might wish to note that they speak no English. We arrived with only 45 minutes to go before they closed for the afternoon and when they finally had sufficient seating, we had a bit of trouble explaining that we were willing to clear out within 20 minutes before they ushered us inside. Seating was comfortable (some along the bar counter, and about three 4-6 seater tables to the right) but limited, so it would be wise to go earlier where possible.


Grilled cuttlefish Marutomi Hokkaido Best Sashimi Travel Blog Food

We were first served a springy, tender cuttlefish for dipping in a light mayonnaise. The grilled items were good, but the sashimi really stole the entire show – imagine a smooth, thick slice of fish, bending to your bite before breaking into a fresh melting tenderness. The ikura (roe) were bright orange spheres, bursting in the mouth to unleash an intense explosion of flavour. I thought I knew fresh seafood until I dined at Marutomi. We cleared out within 20 minutes as promised, and yet, this rushed meal was easily at the top of the charts. Truly, this is just one of the things you have to taste to believe.