Honey we have to sell the kids! Dining out in Singapore

It had been a long and hot day in Singapore. We had been out walking China Town and all parts in between. We were too tired to go far afield to eat that night and I suggested a Japanese restaurant that I had seen just a block away. From the outside it seemed very simple but it had no English signage or menus out the front. That seemed like a plan so off we went. When we arrived we realised that you had to knock to be allowed in.

From the outside it looked so quiet. We were let into Dante's Inferno. Smoke, noise and shouting. It was dinner with a show. Oops.


After fussing around because we hadn't booked we were shown to two seats in the far corner of the restaurant. The place was laid out with three cooking stations and a three-sided bench facing the chefs. Each station seated 20 people. It was a great position as we were beside the chefs and could see what they were doing as well as watching the activities in the entire place.


We were first given the drinks menu and asked about a really dry Sake. The waiter suggested a "medium" bottle of a particular brand. $S180. Hmmm... warning bells should have started. We chose a small bottle for only $45. It was the cheapest they had.


Then a small but very delicious appetiser arrived. We are used to complimentary appetisers. When we received our bill we discovered it was not complimentary, it was obligatory.

Now it was time to order. But we had no menu. There is no menu. The deal is that in front of  the chefs are boxes of vegetables and meat and seafood. You point at what you want and the chef leans over and takes it, cooks it and serves it to you on a long paddle that reaches across the raw food area. All very entertaining.


We asked the waiter for his suggestions. He suggested fish and beef with perhaps a vegetable. I suggested mushrooms and Omar suggested asparagus. You'll note the waiters suggestion is in singular and ours is in plural. After you give the order the waiter shouts it to the entire restaurant and the all the staff shout it back to him. As it's all in Japanese we didn't know what they were saying. After getting the bill my translation is "Fish....we buy the BMW, Beef.....we holiday in Paris, Mushroom...we send the kids to private school and Asparagus....we pay off the mortgage.


Well the first to arrive was the mushroom. I do mean literally the mushroom.

We both had one truly tasty and beautifully cooked mushroom each.

The sauces made you want more. Oh...there is only one.


Then came the asparagus. It was so subtle and fresh that it was best eaten slowly. That also dragged out how long it took to eat one spear of asparagus.

Meanwhile everyone was having a noisy and happy time. I haven't mentioned the name of the restaurant yet as we still didn't know what it was.


The stick of beef with three small cubes was the next to be presented. Once again the preparation, presentation and taste could not be faulted. I said that we had to eat here again before we left Singapore.


We watched the smallish Red Snapper being cooked. It sat at a perfect distance above the smoky fire and was continually basted and turned. Such wonderful attention to culinary detail. It was melt-in-the-mouth delicious.



Also at our table were two groups of two couples. We watched in amazement as they all went through at least ten different courses with numerous bottles of Sake and then a continuous stream of beer


At one stage in the evening everyone is asked to clap along with the staff. It is meant to represent everyone thanking everyone for dining there and to the staff for their wonderful concoctions.

I think it was the staff thanking us for putting their children through private schooling.


As the meal was coming to an end we now had to think of the bill. We thought it maybe a tad expensive but we were totally out of the ballpark when it arrived.



We did a quick calculation of the other groups at the table and added up around $3000 to $4000 for each group.

Now for the restaurant, it is the Akanoya Robatayaki at 1,Tanglin Road. We won't be eating there again before we leave. But that said, we had a great time and the food is really prepared better than any I have eaten in Japan. If you are willing to live on cup-o-noodles for the rest of your time in Singapore I would recommend it for the experience if not the damage to your wallet


Find me on