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4 Reviews
207 River Valley Road
#01-57, UE Square
Postal code: Show postal code
Telephone: (65) 6735-2212
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    » 4 Reviews for “EN Japanese Dining Bar ” - Restaurants

  1. foodphd
     26 Feb 2011 at 10:18 pm

    Happy Hour Daily Special 6-8pm - 50% off sushi and sashimi!

    With such a great deal offered at En Japanese Dining Bar, off to River Valley we went on a Friday night. We reached the place at around 7.40pm and realized to our excitement that the 50% offer was valid as long as the sushi/sashimi orders were placed before 8pm! Just a note, there are certain dining places which promote similar offers, but the catch is that you have to finish your meal, settle the bill and leave the place before the end of the stipulated period. Otherwise the offer would be invalidated and you would be charged the full price. So thankfully En Japanese Dining Bar adopts a different policy; as long as you place your sushi/sashimi orders before 8pm, it doesn't matter if you leave after 8pm.

    We ordered the Sashimi Nana Ten Mori, Nigiri Hachi Kan, Godzilla Roll and Kushimori.

    Sashimi Nana Ten Mori - a platter of 7 kinds of sashimi. The Sake Sashimi (salmon) looked rather *****, the colour was a bit too dark and dull, unlike the salmon sashimi we tried at Kinki and Sakuraya. Texture wise, nothing too out of the ordinary. It seemed to be lacking in taste; there wasn't the strong typical salmon taste. The Tako (octopus) was as usual, chewy with a slight tinge of saltiness. The Mekajiki (swordfish) was pretty good, it had a strong flavour, adequate chewiness yet not too rubbery. The Kanpachi (yellow tail) on the other hand, had a faint fishy after taste, which was left lingering in our mouths. The Hon Maguro (tuna) was something that surprised us. We don't usually like Maguro as it tended to have a strong fishy taste and the texture wasn't too our liking. But surprisingly, the Maguro at En was a bit different. There wasn't any fishy taste and the texture was similar to the Mekajiki, with adequate chewiness. Shimesaba (mackerel) tasted all right, nothing too surprising or out of this world. But the Hotate was really good. We've always had this soft spot for scallops. We like seared scallops a lot, where the inside core was slightly uncooked, while the outer flesh was charred. In this case, it was just Hotate sashimi, which was very fresh, and simply melts in the mouth. Splendid.

    For the Nigiri Hachi Kan (8 kinds sushi platter), the variety was similar to the sashimi platter, only that there was also the Tobiko, Ebi and Ika sushi. A bite into the Tobiko (flying fish roe) revealed a burst of saltiness and seafood taste. The Ika (squid) was rather strange. Typically, Ika has a chewy, rubbery and smooth texture. But this time round, the Ika had a starchy and sticky texture. Seemingly, it felt like it wasn't very fresh. The most disappointing part of En's sushi was the rice. Well, for sashimi, the first and most important criteria is that the raw fish must be fresh. But for sushi, other than the sliced raw fish, the rice is a crucial part! Otherwise, why bother having sushi when we can just have sashimi? But it seems that En Japanese Dining Bar has neglected this important part. The vinegared rice was a huge disappointment. Firstly, the rice wasn't sticky enough. When we picked the sushi up with our chopsticks, the rice simply felt apart. It wasn't sticky enough. There was barely any taste of rice vinegar. In fact, it seemed to be nothing different from normal rice, other than the fact that the grains were shorter. The sushi rice simply killed the entire platter. The standard was similar to the sushi counters at supermarkets. Simply disappointing. Not to mention, little effort was put into the plating and presentation of the platter. It was rather slipshod, not very appealing and pleasing to the eyes.

    The only cooked food we had for the night was Kushimori - a platter of 5 sticks of skewers. The bacon wrapping the Enoki (golden needle mushrooms) wasn't very salty. Hence, it tasted more like pork meat, rather than bacon. But the huge lump of enoki was very juicy and flavourful. For the cherry tomatoes wrapped with bacon and topped with cheese, we felt that the cheese didn't really accentuate the taste of the skewer. The bacon was already salty enough, adding the cheese didn't seem to make the dish any better. But the tomatoes did add a refreshing taste as when we bit into it, the burst of a fruity flavour encompassed our taste buds. It kind of reduced the richness from the bacon. The Tsukune (chicken meat balls) was juicy, not too dry, but a little on the oily side though. The best skewer has to be the Hotate Bacon. Well, we really do like scallops a lot. The thing about scallops is that not much marinating needs to be done. The juiciness and freshness of the scallops is the essence. When you grill scallops together with bacon, the saltiness of the bacon infuses into the scallops, giving it a slightly savoury taste, but yet not overpowering its original juiciness and seafood flavour. Overall, the skewers platter at En is worth a try.

    The last dish of the night was the Godzilla Roll - Unagi, Avocado, Cucumber, sprinkled with Tobiko. I think we regretted ordering this. Like we've said, the sushi rice was very bad. Godzilla roll was made up of sushi rice. Hence, it was bad enough. Unagi was nothing special. It didn't blow us away. To say this is a chef's recommendation did make us scratch our heads and wonder why.

    The worst thing of the meal was that the food took AGES to be served. We placed our orders for the sashimi, sushi and godzilla roll at 7.50pm. Well, the restaurant was pretty crowded that night, perhaps cause of the happy hour special. But still, our orders were largely raw dishes, which required no cooking, hence we thought we would get served pretty quickly. To our huge displeasure, our first dish, the sashimi platter, was only served after 1 hour 10 minutes. We had our first bite of food only at 9.00pm, a whole 70 minutes after our orders were placed. The sushi platter came only after 15 minutes, at 9.15pm, a whole 85 minutes after we placed the orders. Being rather hungry, we added an order for the skewers at 9.20pm. We were watching other tables, and saw that they had arrived later than us, but with their food (mostly cooked food) being served earlier.

    Well, ever since our sushi platter came at 9.15pm, we asked 2 different waiting staff to check on our Godzilla Roll. And none of them got back to us. That is until we asked the same waiter a 2nd time, and he assured us that our Godzilla roll was on priority now. By 9.30pm, we were getting frustrated at the fact that our elusive Godzilla Roll hadn't arrived. It has been more than 90 minutes since we made that order!!! I had enough of waiting. I walked right up to the cashier and told her that we have been waiting for a Godzilla Roll ever since we placed our orders at 7.50pm. The waitress who took our orders agreed that our orders were taking very long to be served. Do all the customers have to wait so long for their raw dishes? We weren't very pleased, the staff kept apologizing, but offered no reason or explanation. All they said was that they would hurry the kitchen. But apparently, hurrying didn't not work. And just as I was about to return to my seat, a plate of skewers appeared at the cashier and the waitress who took our orders immediately said that we had placed an order for the skewers platter. I acknowledged that and all of a sudden, this plate of skewers was ours.

    The elusive Godzilla roll finally came, only after we finished our plate of skewers. And that was already close to 9.45pm. In short, it takes close to 2 hours for a Godzilla roll to be prepared and served. And you would expect great things from Godzilla? No! It was the worst dish of the night. It was not even worth a 5 minutes wait. Period.

    The waitress who served us offered us a discount. But well, don't expect much. The discount was only 10% off the price of the skewers platter, which turned out to be a mere $1.50.

    We understand that the crowd was pretty big that night. But no, there wasn't any queue. And there were still a few empty tables. We do know that good food needs waiting time. But the quality of food at En is definitely not justifiable for the long waiting time. The food was average, it wasn't all that fantastic. So it definitely wasn't worth the wait. In fact, if it weren't for the 50% happy hour, the price wasn't worth the wait either. But is it really justifiable to have such a long waiting time because we were having discounted food?

    One more thing was that we specifically asked for non-smoking outdoor seats. And somehow, halfway during the meal, 2 ladies stood barely a metre beside me, smoking. I wonder, were we really given non-smoking outdoor seats?

    Value for money, but the waiting time was way too long.

    Visit for pictures!

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    Rating given:3 stars
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    1. Lucardia
       01 May 2008 at 12:29 am
         EN Japanese Dining Bar - Restaurants   EN Japanese Dining Bar - Restaurants   EN Japanese Dining Bar - Restaurants   EN Japanese Dining Bar - Restaurants   EN Japanese Dining Bar - Restaurants

      Japanese food. I love Japanese food but not just any run of the mill japanese food. I only like good Japanese food. It was this thought that i joined our dear friend, HFB's invitation to try out a place which he has raved about since his visit. 3 times in 2 months? Definitely a must try for foodies when a tongue as tough to please as his, wags praises about a restaurant.

      First up, it took us a long time to locate the restaurant because it was supposed to be found in UE square. The truth of the matter is, it can be found along the sides of UE square. In fact, its directly opposite Mohammad Sultan road and next to another restaurant called Bonta. En jap also boasts 2 different settings for seating. There's the semi alfresco seats on the outside and the oily and stuffy seats on the inside. Good thing for us, HFB managed to secure the alfresco seats which was still a double edged sword at best. Why is that so? Because the weather is so darn warm, its impossible not to sweat regardless of where you sit in this restaurant. However, a good point is that the waiters noticed that and actually turned the fans in our direction. Thats a good start in terms of service.

      2 x Salmon Belly Sashimi ($13 x 2) - Recommended by HFB as the must eat and must have dish of the day, we had 2 servings of this elusive salmon sashimi. Well, i'm no expert but i have to say its rather interesting. Unlike normal salmon sashimi, it has a layer of fats which gives it a certain new degree of texture. The salmon is fresh and sweet but not cold enough even with all that ice beneath it. Its nice but sinful due to the fats.

      maiyu Salad ($15) - Yummy. Appetising and definitely a must try. The Imaiyu salad comes with generous salmon sashimi pieces scattered throughout the immaculately chosen greens. Its also topped with delicious sour dressing which serves its purpose well in whetting our appetites. Definitely worth the time and effort to enjoy.

      Beef Carpaccio ($16) - The star of the day in my book. This beef carpaccio beats every other beef carpaccio i've eaten thus far. Tender and thinly sliced beef smothered in something akin to cheese and a sweet and sour soya sauce dressing that has to be tasted to be believed. You can taste the fragrant cheesy taste in every bite and the beef is literally juicy and melts in your mouth. Must try this!

      Kushi Mori ($17) - HFB introduced that En Jap is actually famous for their skewered meat but unfortunately on this case, i have to say i disagree. I had minimal tastings of the above but from what i did have, basically the bacon and asparagus and the chicken, it tasted fairly normal to me. Nothing particularly interesting about the item at all.

      Unagi Fried Rice ($13) - Now this is a close second when it was served. Unagi fried rice. The fragrance of the rice is unbearable to the point that smelling it invariably makes you want to savor the dish immediately, but it was the generous serving of unagi mingled with the rice that makes it so much more special. When had together, its simply sweet, fragrant and undeniably good, not to mention the portion was generous as well. A must have on any visit!

      Satsuma Age ($7) - We were nearing the end when we ordered this and honestly, it looked so much more promising on the menu. When it was served, we were slightly taken aback that we had ordered fish cake. And worst of all, its 2 miserly pieces at a whooping $7. Now this takes the cake as a royal waste of money. How it tastes like? Just like any 50 cent fish cake you can find outside, and i'm not even trying to be nasty.

      Salmon Belly ($13) Mekajiki ($12) Tako ($11.50) = $36.50 - Another sashimi platter which we ordered. Needless to say, the salmon belly is as fresh as ever and the same goes for the squid and the swordfish pieces. I didn't get to try much of the rest but i'd say that for the price, they really could have given more sashimi. The portions as above were miserly at best and a rip off at worst.

      Wafu Steak ($17) - Recommended by HFB as one of the better items on the menu as well, this was our last order of the day. Juicy thick cubes of beef prepared simply can still turn out to be an art form. Fresh juices accompany each bite of this little gem and is a joy to have. The only gripe here is that its too oily and there's too little beef to go around. Other then that, i'd love to have it again.

      A semi satisfying and interesting meal turned out to be $173.16 for 5 people. Effectively, i'm a happy man because of the company and some of the hits we've found.

      Thank you HFB for introducing the place. Its pretty good. Not excellent, but pretty good still. The good items like the carpaccio, unagi fried rice and the Imaiyu Salad are items not to be missed while the rest are either too miserly portioned to recommend or simply don't measure up. I've heard comments that the standard is inconsistent as well but overall, i'm still happy with my visit here. Definitely return for the value items and the carpaccio.

      Tags: 3  add tags
      Rating given:4 stars
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      Comments on this review:
      1. claud
        claud said:
        *Slurps!* I want more! Anyone wanna treat? :P
        01 May 2008 at 2:41 am
      2. ReiKo
        ReiKo said:
        Agree.. The Food is nice.. :)
        01 May 2008 at 9:42 am
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    2. claud
       15 Apr 2008 at 2:08 am
         EN Japanese Dining Bar - Restaurants   EN Japanese Dining Bar - Restaurants   EN Japanese Dining Bar - Restaurants

      High quality mouth watering authentic Japanese Cuisine.

      I've to agree with HisFoodBlog that EN Japanese Dining Bar is one of the best I'd been to by far. Serving the freshest sashimi and to-drool-for authentic cuisine.

      This was the first time I tried the Beef Carpaccio. At first sight, I didn't dare touch it. But since its ordered, I just went ahead and dared myself. After the first slice of beef, I wanted more! It was thinly sliced and blended well with the seasoning on the beef. Although a tad too saltish, but still great one to devour on.

      As the dishes ordered were more or less those recommended above by HisFoodBlog, I shall just share one more, which is another surprisingly yummilicious one.

      The Unagi Fried Rice is most probably the only thing I will order if I should be going back there again. (Cos the price tag there is just not friendly enough for my thin wallet.) The fried rice is very fragrant and the rice grain is the real good stuff. Unlike the usual fried rice, I had at other Jap place, this is solid and slightly chewy too. The Unagi although cut to rather tiny pieces, I could still feel it when I chew on the mouthful of rice and unagi.

      Great place to go for good quality Jap food.

      (*Please take note that EN Jap dining bar is located along M.Sultan road, before reaching the left turn at Obar. Thanks to the incomplete directions given, when I was there, I couldn't find it within UE Square building. :S)

      Tags: 3  add tags
      Rating given:5 stars
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      Comments on this review:
      1. Polarbear
        Polarbear said:
        Wahaha! Ur review will make HFB very happy!
        15 Apr 2008 at 8:55 am
      2. His Food Blog
        His Food Blog said:
        Nobody ever said it was WITHIN UE Square... hehe and yesh HFB is a happy man!!
        15 Apr 2008 at 9:37 am
      3. Lucardia
        Lucardia said:
        Hahaha! My review will come soon. Nice place i agree but mine will not be five star. hehe
        15 Apr 2008 at 10:53 am
      4. 2 more comments »
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