Monday, October 19, 2009

Ootoya again!

Previously, I was never really impressed by the cooked Japanese food offered in most restaurants here (give me sashimi anytime!) but Ootoya has changed my mind. The cooking is very simple - tastes almost home cooked, no fancy garnishes, pricey ingredients, and most importantly, very affordable and great tasting food. I think it's one of the things that I missed the most (other than sleep) while doing my crazily long hours posting last month...

Mimosa Salad ($6++) with caesar salad dressing
When I think of mimosa, the touch-me-not plant comes to mind. However, the mimosa salad leaves are (thankfully) different from the touch-me-nots. The leaves are crispy, chilled and have a light pleasant taste. I liked the generous portion of diced hard boiled egg, as well as the cheese shavings. The caesar salad dressing comes served in a separate dish - so you can add as much or as little as you want. For $6++, I would say it's much more worth it than the Coffeebean caesar salad (which is rather nice imoh) minus the croutons.
My favourite starter - the grated yam, raw tuna, natto and ladies finger appetiser ($6++, 160kcal). I like how the whole thing becomes a gooey mess after I stir it vigorously. The soft boiled egg on top is really nice too. There's about 3 thick slices of raw tuna cocooned under the egg and milky grated yam. Do take not that this dish is only for people who like slimey gooey stuff, as well as natto, which has an aquired taste (somehow natto smells like coffee to me...)

An insanely healthy dish - the Mixed-grain soy milk porridge with chicken ($12++, 335kcal)
The dish is very light - so light that if you're not full, you should definitely avoid this dish because I am 100% sure that you won't be full (unless you have a stomach the size of Fiona aka flyfairy). For the whole set, it's only 335 calories - and the additional ootoshi (appetiser) and pickles are around 100kcal, so that means the stuff in the bowl only has around 200+ kcal! For those people on a diet, or for people with tiny stomachs and are perpetually full, this is the dish for you! And since the HPB recommends more whole grains, the porridge not only comes with one kind of whole grain, but a whopping total of 9 different kinds of grains (I've never even heard of some of them before). The grains are: pressed barley, millet, leaf mustard, black bean, green bean, red bean, black rice, black sesame, and amaranth. Though it looks so healthy, it's not as bland as I would have expected it to be (but not as nice at my mackeral). The chicken pieces are really tender, and are lightly cooked. There's also lots of mushrooms in it, so it was pretty yummy.
The appetiser that day - some funny lotus root thing, with a french pea, and eggplants (which were cooked just right - not too soggy, and still retaining the nice Barney-dinosaur purple.)My other favourite dish - the Rice with charcoal grilled pork and sauce (Set $14++, 841 kcal. Alacarte $11++, 738kcal)
The pork was supberb - it looked rather dry and hard to me when it was served, but after biting into a piece, I completely changed my mind. The pork was slightly charred at the edges, and had a delicious barbecued smell. The meat was firm, not soggily or fatty and soft, but extremely juicy. It was also well marinaded and each bite was delicious.
For $11 alacarte, it's a steal since you get 4 thick pieces of pork, cooked to perfection. I'm getting very hungry writing about the pork >.<The first dish I tried at Ootoya - the charcoal grilled atka mackerel, go here to read more about it...The last time, I ordered the mackeral ala carte, so I didn't get to try the Grated yam topping on the rice. I really like the grated yam cos it's really gooey and makes my rice really moist - it goes really well with the salty mackerel too - don't have to keep dipping it into the grated daikon (radish). Banana Parfait with Coffee Ice Cream ($6++)
The last time I came, they ran out of coffee ice cream, and so I had milk ice cream instead. The coffee ice cream is really delicious when eaten together with the banana parfait (some pudding thing). There's lots and lots of whipped cream in this dessert, and little swirls of sour raspberry sauce which counters the sweetness of the ice cream and parfait. Topped with 4 little cubes of buttery cake and sliced banana - the parfait really really delicious. I can never come to Ootoya and just have main courses, since their desserts are so yummy! Complimentary dessert from the OCBC promo when Ootooya just opened. I can't remember what it tastes like now, but I was really happy cos I didn't have to spend my usual $6 on a parfait;)
I think I'm going to go broke eating Ootoya - the food's awesome and whenever I go to Orchard, I'll always be tempted to eat at Ootoya - the distance to Orchard Central never deters me. I like to visit Ootooya during odd hours, cos it means that there is no queue - for lunch, I'll usually go really late like at 230 to 3 plus, and for dinner, I'll try to rush in before 6pm, to avoid the mad and crazily long ques. Ootoya doesn't take any reservations, and they don't even take down your phone no. to call you when your table's ready. So you really have to physically stand there and queue. It makes sense, since their restaurant is really small.
Part of the reason why I try to go at an odd hour is because if you go during peak periods, you have a really high chance of sitting at their main 'communal' dining table, which is right next to the main entrance. Not only do you have to sit beside complete strangers, you will also have a huge crowd of hungry patrons gawking and glaring evilly at you as you (slowly) enjoy your meal. It's unappetizing to have people staring hungrily at you as you eat, but Ootoya's food more makes up for it (since I'm preoccupied with my food, I tend not to notice).
Hope hope hope hope hope they open another branch soon! The queue is so long but the food is so good - probably one of the few restaurants I'll queue for.
My recommendation list for Ootoya:
1. Atka Mackerel
2. Charcoal Grilled Pork Rice
3. Scallop Rice (by itself, and not with the soup)
4. Mimosa Salad or Grated Yam, Tuna, Natto and Egg (for those people who eat natt0)
5. All the parfaits for dessert
I haven't tried the deep fried foods (like their cutlets, croquettes etc) because the calorie count there looks really daunting (not that I actually care, but it goes up to the thousands!), but maybe I will soon (must bring Audrey Pok the queen of Fried Food along for her stamp of approval).
Btw, the iced green tea here is really good! Complimentary, and unlike the horrible watered down sorry-tasting versions that other Japanese restaurants serve.
181 Orchard Road
#08-12 Orchard Central
Tel: 6884 8901


ice said...

Ootoya is a lovely place with delicious food. I like the grated yam on rice. Shall try the soy milk porridge next time.

Sleepycat said...

I am salivating just looking at the photos and reading your writeup! Envious...have not been to Ootoya yet because of the long queues.