I’ve rarely come across Japanese establishments at HDB neighbourhoods till my editor, Pavin and I happened to spot one during our recent adventure to Bedok. Located along Bedok South, Izumi Japanese Restaurant is an 8-year-old Japanese spot with just 5 tables which can accommodate 18 people.
As we entered the petite eatery, the first thing that caught my eye was the retro floor tiling. They were from the 80s, just like the tiles back at my house. I spotted an elderly aunty manning the dining area, and an uncle dressed in a Japanese chef outfit was preparing the food.
We thought he was Japanese until both of them started conversing in Teochew. I wanted to take pictures of him in action, but he stopped me immediately. Oh well, Uncle was shy.
Izumi Japanese Restaurant also doubles up as a mini Japanese supermarket. There were shelves selling sushi, sashimi-grade pieces of fish, Japanese beverages, as well as a smorgasbord of frozen snacks.
What I tried at Izumi Japanese Restaurant
From 11am to 4pm daily, Izumi Japanese Restaurant serves S$9.90 dine-in lunch sets with 10 varieties of mains for you to get giddy over. The set also comes with 2 sides… now that’s definitely a steal!
Itadakimasu, it was time to fill our rumbling tummies. My dining partners and I got the ball rolling with the Smoked Duck Udon, with our choice of California Maki and Potato Salad for the lunch set.
The bowl contained udon doused in a clear dashi broth, 4 slices of smoked duck, a halved onsen egg, kelp slices, and 2 slices of fish cake.
The ivory tubes of udon possessed the perfect consistency (chewy without being too hard) while the kelp slices provided gentle savoury notes of the ocean.
The dashi stock was seasoned so well. The notes coming from the bonito flakes and kombu were robust without being overly salty, allowing me to have more without scrambling for a glass of water.
The smoked duck pieces were thick and deliciously greasy. The runny yolk and luscious egg white from the onsen egg were a power couple, working hand-in-hand to fill my mouth with creamy deliciousness as it disintegrated inside.
The California Maki was your default combo: avocado, Japanese cucumber, tamago and crab stick wrapped in Japanese rice with seaweed and coated with tobiko.
The Potato Salad was amazeballs! It had pillowy-soft fork-mashed potatoes with thin strips of Japanese cucumber, carrot and onions dressed in buttery mayo.
Currently, there’s a mentaiko promotion going on. We ordered the Mentaiko Takoyaki (S$5) which had 5 golden brown balls dressed with a generous drizzle of mentaiko, and fine strips of bonito flakes.
It was the yummiest takoyaki that I’ve ever eaten. The texture was unlike the usual, instead they were crispy on the outside, and super fluffy on the inside with bits of chewy octopus within.
The umami-ness of the mentaiko and bonito flakes together with the crispy round balls worked so well together. My goodness, I could’ve eaten 5 more!
I decided to splurge a little by ordering the Deluxe Bara Chirashi (S$18.80) because (flips hair)… I deserve a little treat once in a while.
The towering bowl consisted of cubes of tuna, salmon, yellowtail and swordfish sashimi, tako, tamago, Japanese cucumber, pickles and pickled ginger. There was also a generous serving of tobiko, salmon roe and sesame seeds piled on top.
I carefully pried the ingredients apart with my chopsticks and spoon to reveal the hidden Japanese rice underneath, which had a sprinkling of furikake. Wow, there was so much going on!
Every individual variety of sashimi was great in its own unique way. The tako was tender while the buttery flavours coming from the tuna and salmon cubes melded really well with the salty bursts of salmon roe and tobiko.
My dining partner felt that the yellowtail was slightly on the fishy side, but I was absolutely fine with it.
You definitely can’t go wrong with pairing sashimi with the trustworthy wasabi-shoyu combo.
We ended things off with the Soft Shell Crab Curry Don (S$9.90). It came with a plate of Japanese curry served with rice, with a side dish of fried soft-shell crab.
I’m usually not a fan of Japanese curry as they tend to swing to the sweeter side of things. But this was surprisingly smoky and less sweet. The potato and carrot cubes were also soft and had absorbed all the flavours of the curry like a sponge. Yummy!
The soft-shell crabs were fried to a crisp, and paired really well with the mayo dip.
With no GST and service charge, Izumi Japanese Restaurant is definitely a hidden gem located within the Bedok South area. Every single dish that we ordered was well executed and delicious.
Argh! Why am I not living in Bedok? I’ll be a regular here otherwise.
Expected damage: S$9.90 – S$20 per pax